I, like many people in my age group, am someone who deals with anxiety and depression. It’s something that affects different aspects of my daily life. It’s not always something that stifles me, but when it does, I tend to be at a bit of loss. Anxiety and depression affect my life, specifically my creative, in several different ways. I want to get a hold on these issues to better my creative processes; in writing and drawing.
Anxiety has a particularly frustrating affect on my life and creativity. My anxiety sometimes makes me wonder if I am good enough. It makes me feel like my characters aren’t developed enough. It makes me wonder if my story can stand on its own. I even see it in my drawing. This feeling of inadequacy often stifles my creative process. A particular example is that right now I am struggling with a scene in my story and have been for the past week. As I try to muscle through it, I find myself wondering if it is throwing off my story. I get so fixated on it and I’m not able to push past it.
Depression is another ailment that causes issues in my creative process. I often find myself in a state of apathy. I makes it hard for me to care. To be more specific, I often find myself unwilling to try as hard as I could because I question if it even matters. Naturally, this is something that affects my everyday life as much as my creative process. It plagues with doubts, similar to anxiety.
So how can I fix this? First, I need to have an understanding as to how anxiety and depression affect my creativity. One thing to understand is that both of these things can be considered a stressor. I n my opinion, the best explanation for these types of stressors came from Deborah Nazarian from Syracuse University. Nazarian stated that:
“Stress Responses, particularly those associated with fear and anger, are often automatic, reflexive, and independent of conscious cognition (e.g, Ohman & Weins, 2004).
So what does this mean for me? It makes me wonder if I have control over the anxiety and depression that I sometimes feel. This can be a good or bad thing. The benefit is that even if my feelings are reflexive, it doesn’t mean that my response to it has to be. In Nzarian’s research paper, it was suggested that stressors could become a motivation for creativity. This is how I plan to tackle my anxiety and depression in regards to my creativity. I honestly haven’t successfully handled it yet, but with a different mindset, I can work to control these feelings. Something that I plan to keep in mind is that anxiety and depression doesn’t need to define me or my creative process.
Nazarian, D. 2010. The Relationship between Stressors and Creativity: A Meta- Analysis Examining Competing Theoretical Models. American Psychology Association.