Navigating the down times | Mental Health as an artist



Depression, anxiety, SAD, that general feeling of impending doom? The freelancers curse. Working freelance is great, every time I have a moment questioning whether I should throw it all in and get a stable 9-5 I'm reminded in some way of how great it is, and how lucky I am to be able to work this way. But with the freedom comes, I'm learning, some often rocky patches that can leave you feeling like you're struggling to keep your head above water.

I was diagnosed with depression and GAD (generalised anxiety disorder) about 8 years ago, and I've found that while freelancing has helped me in so many areas like my self confidence and being able to express myself.. The quietness that comes from working alone can quickly change from luxury to isolation when you're in the wrong place mentally.

I don't mind saying I've been hit baaaad recently with a bout of anxiety / depression and self doubt. I wanted to quit so badly. Getting out of bed has been a chore. Putting on normal person clothes? Hard pass. Eating healthy food? Satans work. My business has been extremely quiet, like, my quietest year E V E R. I haven't had a sale in my Etsy shop in three weeks. My Instagram engagement is low. This is the time when I should be pushing to make connections, connect with potential clients, get myself out there but I just.. Couldn't. I spent a morning last week (and I fucking mean an entire morning) sat staring into space.

I've come to realise the down times are always going to happen, and they happen to us all. Your favourite artist? They have horrible days where they want to give up and get a different job (my current idea is that I'll become a postman) they also hate their work with the raging fire of a thousand suns occasionally, too. I'm not gunna say the bad days make you appreciate the good because that's not how mental health works but here are my tips:

When things get bad:
1. Social media break - Delete social media apps from your phone, or set yourself designated "social media time"
2. Draw / create without pressure - Try and take the pressure off yourself by creating stuff just because you think you have to. Create something without the intention of sharing it anywhere.
3. Change your work space - I can't afford a studio space so every so often I'll take off to a nice coffee shop for an afternoon. Bonus: Coffee and cakes.

For days when it's really bad:
1. Have a glass of water - I'm not gunna say be crazy hydrated because I'm truly terrible at this.
2. Shower - Doesn't matter if it's at 9am or 1am it will you feel like a newborn angel child.
3. Fresh air - Even if it's just sitting outside your house / flat. Breathe.
4. Play your favourite songs - I can't tell you how much this has saved me.
5. Make yourself a cosy lil potato - soft blankets, clean duvets, clean PJs. Absolutely majestic.

What are your tips for getting through the bad times? Share em and lets compile MEGA LIST

Steph x

Comments

  1. I can relate. This is fairly recent post for you. Hope you are pulling out of the dark tail spin soon. You are lucky to create your own life and very talented. But when the spigot runts dry, it's terrifying. Not surprising about crushing anxiety that follows. :D Going through my own horrid confidence busting why do i even bother what does it all mean i suck phase. A nice long one. :D

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    1. Thank you! And I hope you feel better soon too xx

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