I discovered my love for creativity at an early age. My parents quickly stopped asking where I was when they were calling for me because they always knew they could find me tucked away in my room, dreaming up lands of castles and creatures.
I wrote my first chapter book when I was 12, after being inspired by the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”. (Maybe I had a crush on Jack Sparrow, and maybe I didn’t 😉)
As I’ve grown and encountered my own creativity in various ways (music, poetry, theatre, etc.), I’ve come to notice that me and my creative, “artsy”, community have a lot in common.
One of the things we have in common is a past with mental health struggles.
So I decided to google if there was any scientific correlation between mental illness and creativity (just for fun lol). I came across this article from 2007 that stated creative people were NOT more likely to encounter disorders of any kind (Chandrashekar, Choudhury, Pavitra, 34-33, 2007) .
BUT, interestingly enough, the article also mentioned that a study done in the 80s and 90s based solely on biographies demonstrated that artists and writers DID have a higher pervasiveness of mental illness.
The latter part of that article stood out me.
It’s in our stories, our biographies, that our wrestling with certain mentalities reveals prevalence.
This is true for me. Though I have never been “diagnosed” with any disorder, I attempted self-harm at age 17, contemplated suicide at age 19, and I have a history with panic attacks that have left me so breathless, I thought I was going to die. Depression and anxiety were my story.
Yet there was hope for me and my story. And there is hope for you and your story.Tweet
So much of overcoming mental health struggles has been my faith and being able to express myself through art. So often, my feelings would take precedent and I did not know how to express them, but writing or painting would allow me to communicate those unbearable feelings in ways I could not convey verbally.
I believe that this is how God created us to be. Not all of us are going to be verbal-processors. Not everyone is going to be able to express themselves in the same way.
Creativity is meant to be an outlet.Tweet
It’s meant to give God glory.
It’s meant to be a form of worship.
We are meant to be unique.
We are meant to create.
We are meant to worship through creativity.
And I believe everyone has the capacity to be creative; there are so many different ways to create!
Discover your creativity today with these few tips:
- Ask God to reveal it to you
I believe in the power of prayer! God can show you what you are meant to create
- Try new things!
If you haven’t tried painting or pottery or whatever “creativity” it might be, try it and see if it’s something for you! You might be surprised by what you find. Trying new things will open up doorways you might have otherwise deemed closed for you.
- Be self-aware as you try something new
Some questions I like to ask myself are:
-Is this helping me express myself? Is it life-giving?
-Am I using my creativity for God?
-What is it about this activity that helps me release my emotions?
-What does this artwork/outcome show about me and/or God?
-Is there something that might be blocking my creativity? What might that be?
The next 2 tips were huge creativity blockers for me!
- Don’t worry too much what others think
Obviously it’s good to care about other people’s advice and opinions, but don’t let them overwhelm you, and don’t let the thoughts of them steal your joy in creating! Constructive criticism is important in order to become a better creator, but learn to understand when it is constructive and when it is not.
- Be aware of false shame surrounding creativity
For example: as a kid, I was often told that I had my “head up in clouds” too much, that I was too idealistic. This absolutely crushed my child-like soul, my ability to imagine and dream because I thought it was a bad thing and that I needed to “grow up”. I absolutely believe there is a place for being realistic and there was a time in my life I needed to hear someone tell me to “snap out of it”. But receiving messages constantly that daydreaming was bad caused me to harbour internalized false shame around my true creative self, which eventually lead to a complete blockage of creativity.
Some of the most difficult parts of expressing yourself through art can be the unearthing of your vulnerability. But be brave and be vulnerable with trusted people and God, and I promise it’ll be worth it.
It is in the act of truly releasing yourself from perfection, releasing yourself to God, that there is so much freedom from the bondage of relentless negative thoughts.
So go be you.