In my teens, I watched a movie about a girl who loses her brother in an accident. She goes to a singing camp where she overcomes her stage fright and learns to properly grieve her brother. And everyone hugs at the end.
Like all the inspirational teen movies of the 2000s, there was a scene where the protagonist receives advice from the wise older mentor. In this movie, the girl sits on the steps of building, crying her eyes out, wanting to give up her place at this prestigious singing camp because her rival has done something. Her mentor finds her and sits with her and starts talking to her.
He says something to her that has stayed with me since I watched that movie all those years ago. He says to her, “artists tend to feel things deeply compared to other people.”
Until that very moment when he said those words, I had had no idea why I felt the way I felt. Why I cried when I was shunned by a friend. Why I felt so anxious at a friend’s arrest that I spent the night crying. Why rejection cut me even more deeply than people that had gone through the same thing. Why I cried at the littlest of things. I thought there was something wrong with me. But this explained why I was the way that I was. It finally made sense.
Artists convey emotion through their art. In order for that art to be deeply impactful, that artist has to feel something so so deeply. Artists are inherently sensitive. That’s why Adele’s lyrics hit different. It’s the melancholic nature of her voice coupled with the lyrics. You can tell that she was hurt. Someone once said of Adele that she made you miss someone you’d never met. In order for her to convey these emotions, she has to feel things deeply.
While feeling things deeply is great for the art, it’s not so great on the artist. There’s a lot of things we tend to do that are destructive and distractive to our emotions and lives. Many artists have gone down a dark path and drowned in their emotions.
Mental health issues within creatives range from depression to anxiety to crippling loneliness. And while it’s a prevalent issue, I feel like it’s not something we talk about often. Many creatives go through these issues, suffering in silence and sometimes winning the fight, other times losing it.
I’m not expert, far from it. In fact I’m very much in the ‘suffer in silence’ group. If there’s one thing that we were taught well, it was to grit out teeth and keep it moving. Stiff upper lip. Don’t break in front of the world. Stuff it down. Stuff it down.
What I do want is for more eyes to be on this issue. Very many creatives are drowning. And while we are getting better at speaking up and speaking out, it’s still so hard to just say what you’re going through. We are afraid of being judged. We are afraid of pouring out our pain only to be ridiculed. Which has happened to me before.
So what do we do? I’m honestly seeking answers with this question. The cost of psychological help is way too high. We are afraid to be judged for things we can’t help. How do we survive the onslaught of depressive emotions. How do fight to see the other side? What is that elusive other side?
I am passionate about mental health because I want everyone to be singing rainbows and seeing sunshine. The darkness we inhabit is too heavy. Too oppressive. Sometimes I wonder if we even know how to be okay. And because of that I’m seeking answers that could sustain us. How do we do this? Help Me.