As human beings, we all experience our own unique challenges, setbacks, and hardships, and mental health issues are a common challenge that many of us face. And despite how common it is, we often tend to feel alone or unusual when we experience mental health challenges. However, all you have to do is look around you to realize that many of us are struggling, and not only that but many of us are using these challenges to learn, grow, and create good things such as beautiful art inspired by these experiences. Everyone is different, and this is not always the case. But whether you decide to turn your challenges into art, or move on and grow in different ways, you are most certainly in good company.
By Priyanka Kulkarni
Vincent Van Gogh, Beethoven, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Robin Williams, Demi Lovato, they’re all incredible musicians, writers, poets, painters, and comedians. They have all created incredible works of art that touch our hearts long after their work was published. They all also suffered with some form of mental illness. A lot of their work was inspired by their experiences with the inner demons they were battling.
Many of us that consider ourselves some sort of artist probably ask the question, is there a relationship between creative ability and mental illness? Will our art matter to people if we are not suffering while creating? I have asked myself these questions all the time. Obviously, we don’t want to be suffering. We want to find happiness in the moment, but when the world shows us that artists who suffer, succeed, we tend to feel guilty if we are feeling good about ourselves and are not suffering so much in our life.
You do not have to have a mental illness in order to be an artist or be successful in general. Yes, many artists that are well known do battle a mental illness, but that doesn’t mean every artist has to have a mental disorder in order to create good work. Creativity comes from within and what you are feeling in the moment.
All of this ties into the idea of feeling anxiety about not having anxiety. Our brains and bodies have been trained to always be worried about something, always have something going on. But when we experience that rare moment of complete relaxation and no worries, we may start feeling guilty. We feel guilty about having a good time and feeling like there is no weight on our shoulders for once. We want to enjoy it, but it’s hard when everyone around us seems to have something going on and we are used to being stressed out. These are negative thoughts in our brain that want to make us think a certain way about ourselves in comparison to everyone else. These unwanted thoughts cause us to be so hard own ourselves and be our worst critics. But it’s important to try and ignore them, surpass them, and enjoy the moment and not feel guilty about feeling good. In fact, we should be proud of ourselves for working so hard all the time and still finding our way to happiness and being positive. We’re actually more incredible than we think and we don’t give ourselves enough credit.
Feeling happy is a good thing. Not having something to worry about is a breath of fresh air and we should breath in that clear air as much as we can before the carbon dioxide finds its way back in. It’s all a cycle.
Embrace what you are feeling in the moment and put that feeling into your artwork as an artist. If you are creating something, take what you are feeling in the moment. Creativity comes from what you want to depict to the world, not from what our negative thoughts tell us. We are all unique individuals with valid emotions and it is vital that we are accepting of ourselves, so be easy on yourself from time to time, it’s totally okay to do that.