While walking the dogs yesterday and listening to Maron’s interview with Adam Goldberg, Maron made a comment about Goldberg having so many ideas. Later the conversation turned to the topic of anxiety (in Maron’s interviews, it frequently does). It didn’t linger on that topic, but my mind did. Whenever anxiety is brought up, my ears perk up and I feel drawn to listening because I suffer from it as well. It always makes me feel better when people explain that their anxiety is a result of being abundantly creative. In many ways this is very true for me.
I’ve noticed that the past few days I’ve been suffering from a bit of anxiety…which isn’t really that rare, I’ve been suffering from it since I was 6 years old. My brain is constantly active. “What about this? What leads to that?
What can I do about this? There’s not enough time in a lifetime to do everything I want to do!” Then that leads to…”I don’t feel good. Why don’t I feel good? I must be sick. Maybe I’m dying. We all die. When am I going to die? Maybe tomorrow? Oh shit, I haven’t done everything I need to do.”
The words in my brain are much more complex and in moments, much more dark. People have told me (and I have also told others) there isn’t a reason to really freak out unless someone is pointing a gun to your head or if there’s a tiger in the room (metaphorically speaking). Well, my brain is so imaginative that I can literally manifest that tiger into my reality. When my mother passed away in March of 2013, it was a catalyst that drove me into a phase of spiraling anxiety. After initial denial, I sought therapy which is helping immensely.
Don’t get me wrong, even with my anxiety, I’m a functioning human. But I don’t like where it takes me. It’s a scary place where one feels they have completely lost control…physically and mentally.
Back to yesterday. I started thinking to myself…”I need to harness all this energy, my creative spirits (demons at times)…but how exactly?” When will I feel like I’m doing enough creatively? Being productive to the point of satisfaction? I paint, draw, write novels, sew monsters and puppets, do a puppet show, perform improv with a great group of people, take classes, write music, play piano/mandolin/guitar/etc., sing, write poetry, make films…etcetera etcetera!
Maybe I haven’t found the exact thing…the specific art that is effective in harnessing this energy? I just finished painting 365 fucking paintings a few days ago and I’m still thinking, What next??? My creativity is feeding itself. Sometimes I feel that inspiration is a wonderful blessing, but it can also be a curse. Sometimes I just
want to sit there, bored, eating my sandwich and watching stupid TV starring teenage werewolves or super heroes without my brain being somewhere else…thinking about the next “project”. I’m not really complaining. It’s just very interesting that something like this could be a problem. Loving too many things.
I’m so lucky that I have the time to even muse something like this. I am so lucky to have so many talented, supportive, like-minded friends and family. I’m so lucky to live in such a diverse, creative, artistic area which to share my creativity in.
But still the anxiety lingers…waiting to pounce like a tiger in the shadows.
There has to be a way. A way to tame that beast, eliminate the fear and learn to love it for what it is.
One day I will find it.
Look up ‘Mindfulness’, it works. It brings some quiet to those tumultuous inner voices, and it doesn’t so much harness creativity as free it.
Still following your blog!
Lots of love, keep painting.
Thanks so much. It’s funny because i was raised Buddhist and at times I can really grasp mindfulness and peace but sometimes it’s hard. We all have our demons. I don’s have very many but this one. There are worse things. 😉 thanks so much for your support throughout this venture. It continues!
There’s so much here! I second what Rovijo said about Mindfulness.
For starters – often times that anxiety is just the intensity of the creative flow wanting to move through us. It’s really important to stay grounded and in your body – otherwise that energy can just continue to spiral.
Also are you spending time moving your body? A lot excess energy will stay in your head (and lead to ongoing thoughts) that energy needs to be MOVED. I think a daily movement ritual – something fun – run, hike, dance, swim, do yoga – whatever you’d enjoy – is key for everyone – especially highly creative folks. You can also think of movement as a meditation.
When you feel really anxious its important to ground yourself in the present – BREATH, feel your body in the chair on on the earth and notice the REALITY that is actually going on around you, rather than the mental projections your mind is spinning.
Are you still meditating, I think even just 10 minutes in the morning and evening could be key.
Lastly, how do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time? A few of my other highly creative friends and clients have found this post to be helpful:
This is so much more I could say, but this is just a starter.
Lots of love!
Thanks for what you gave me this year by your ‘day of the artist’! Miss you a lot! When a read your last post it feels like a portret of myself, fighting with the same anxiety:) I’m a friend from Gerard Sendrey. He did send me your post and I became a follower. Thanks a lot Linda!!! X Marian Koopen
Op 6 jan 2015, om 21:49 heeft Day of the Artist het volgende geschreven:
Thank you Marian! Please keep in touch. I will continue on with my art and this blog.
Just not on such a daily basis and not the same challenge!
Thanks again for your kind words and support.