Personally the creative process has helped me in many ways;
Having a healthy outlet.
Using my work as a way to focus my sad or anxious energy and work through it really rescued me at times. Instead of dwelling or falling into that spiral of doom, expressing it through the creation of art turned it into something positive. it’s a fine line to tread though. At first I found it very difficult to let go of the fact that maybe my anxiety and depression were the source of my creativity and without them my work would have no meaning. This of course wasn’t true, I just think it’s easy to fail into the trap of believing in the glamourised notion of tortured artist. I found it a positive way to work through things but it is by no means the source of my creativity, or yours.
Focus and distraction.
There are times I would definitely say with anxiety that the creative process was used as a form of distraction rather than expression. Things like still life or intricate work which require total concentration were vital to me when I was finding it hard to shake intrusive thoughts, like that I had leprosy! Yes I know, it seems so stupid now but it was something I found hard to let go of once it had found its way into my brain.
Self Esteem Boost.
If I made even the simplest piece or made progress on a more complex item, it really boosted my self esteem. I could see a physical representation of my achievements. I guess it was mostly that I felt proud that I had been motivated to do something for myself, the process is cathartic and at the end I had something to show for that!
Sharing and connecting with others.
That’s why I started Free Hand because to a certain degree I have creativity and art to thank for where I am today. Sometimes words are to hard to say, it’s so much easier to express as a visual, it can open up dialog with other people, you can detach from the feeling and discuss it as almost separate entity from yourself.
I’d also like to tell you Free Hand are putting together an exhibition, with work from creatives, with mental health disorders of all kinds. It’s a very open topic, more than stigma, it’s to show that maybe we have these labels but we are so much more. Hopefully an insight into different people’s experiences with mental health. There aren’t many details pinned down at the moment but keep your eyes peeled!!
I’d be super interested to see how the creative process has helped you, so let me know in the comments if you have anything to add.