ANXIETY AND THE ARTS

For a lot of us creative heads we are made to feel inadequate from the get go. We are the dreamers, the ones who refuse to ‘be realistic’ and who fail to grow up and embrace the ‘adult world’.

We see the world differently. We absorb, we question, we find it very difficult to conform and often we are highly sensitive. It is exactly these characteristic which allow us to delve to new depths of self expression which are often very personal, sharing a part of ourselves through our art forms.

It is through creative expression that a lot of us find ways to cope with traumatic and painful experiences, or we use it to vent our frustrations and confusion at the world we find ourselves in. Our chosen art form gives us a voice and a way to try and make sense of our lives and experiences. It is a coping mechanism, a release, a way to share our story, a healing process, a joy, a passion, a way to invite others into our world, a gift, a contribution and most importantly our chosen purpose.

So why then is creativity as a whole so hugely undervalued in our society?

Why are creative people so often expected to work for free?

Why are creative subjects often thought of as much less important than those which fall into more academic categories?

Why are creative peoples dreams and aspirations not taken as seriously as those wishing to be an accountant or a lawyer?

Why are creative people constantly made to feel inadequate and as if they should feel guilty for choosing to pursue their chosen art form?

Is it really any wonder that so many of us suffer from anxiety surrounding our chosen paths? The incessant self doubt, the constant expectation to work for free, the feelings of inadequacy, the instability, often having to work jobs which are in no way conducive to our creative goals but are required so we can just about make this months rent.

 

Whilst I appreciate this is coming off as a bit of a rant, the point of this post is actually the complete opposite. It is to draw attention to the fact that we are all struggling in some way or another and there is absolutely no shame in that. We are all bound together through our joint love of what we do and that is an incredible thing. The ability to see ourselves and our struggles in others helps us to view them as potential friends, mentors and collaborators. It encourages us to reach out and find ways to connect and help one another because in spite of popular belief we are stronger together than apart.

When we are made to feel inadequate, we often become very insecure and are driven by an overwhelming desire to try to prove ourselves. Shouts to the ego that lies within us all! We feel compelled to show that we can in fact do what we set out to do, and are not just dreamers who should have gotten a ‘real’ job and conformed as society expected us to. Whilst there is nothing wrong with drive, it can have a very negative effect when the prime motivation behind it is fear and lack of self worth. Suddenly everyone is a threat to your potential success, jealousy is rife and the will to reject or shut down any form of ‘competition’ is overwhelming. Cue the paranoia, the lack of trust, the isolation, the anxiety and the all consuming feeling of loneliness.

This post is a reminder that you are part of a huge family of people who are all on some level able to relate to your struggles. You are not alone and there is absolutely no shame in talking to people and seeking help when life gets tough and it does for all of us. 

Just because you are following your passion and doing something you love, it does not mean that it is going to be all rainbows and unicorns. Whilst I sincerely hope your journey is filled with rainbows a plenty and scattered with lots of unicorns, it is also inevitably going to be filled with many dark caves, some ugly trolls and plenty of mountains which need climbing. When you do what you love you care so much more and because of this when things don’t go well it can be utterly soul destroying. When you don’t get the gig, your music project won’t open, your camera just died on you, it gets you like nothing else. You feel distraught, incapable, like a failure (which you are NOT by the way) and this is only because you care so damn much and have invested so much of yourself into your project. This is where having a support network around you is invaluable. People who know exactly how you feel and understand where you are coming from.

We all have the capability to be the support network for those around us, and to help each other and share in both our successes and difficulties. Communication and understanding is the most important tool we have for overcoming anxiety and breaking down irrational viewpoints that others on the same path as us are in some way our competition or enemy. They have the potential to be our inspiration, our friends and part of our creative crew so lets welcome them aboard. The more we band together the happier all of our journeys will be. What is the point of embarking on a journey to do what you love and walking a road littered with bitterness, resentment, isolation and jealousy which can ironically end up in you hating the very thing you loved when you began your adventure.

Community, encouragement, engagement, non judgement and positivity are the most important attributes to all of our journeys and they will fill our adventures with a hell of a lot more rainbows and unicorns than fear and resentment ever will.

STATE OF FLO is launching the Beautiful Minds Stand Together campaign in aid of Mental Health Awareness Week which is taking place this year from 8-14th May.

The aim is to encourage people to band together in a show of solidarity and support for one another and to reinforce the fact that you are not alone in your struggles and difficulties whatever they may be.

Silicone bracelets have been made with the BMST slogan imprinted on them and are available for free to anyone who would like to join and support the campaign.

All you have to do is go the CONTACT US section on the website and fill in your name, address and state how many you would like. They will then be sent out to you via first class post.

(Please not your details will not be saved or stored. They will simply be used to send out your bands and will then be deleted.)

Wishing you positivity always and please remember YOU CAN DO IT, YOU ARE NOT ALONE and YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Big love xxx

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