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Ever since I was little, creativity has been in my nature. When I was young, I would bring the entirety of my dresser out into the living room for costume changes during whichever musical I decided I wanted to perform that day. There was dancing and singing along to Bye Bye Birdie whether I had an audience or not. As I grew older, I participated in a few years of dance, talent shows, and drama club. For my brief stint in college, I discovered my desire to write creative non-fiction pieces and memoirs in my creative writing classes. I have fallen in love with art as a coping method, whether it be singing, drawing, dancing, or writing. It’s been my preferred form of therapy for years, but lately I’ve felt completely stuck. The ideas flow, but the negativity wins every time.

Negative self-talk is often a common side effect of many mental illnesses, especially if you already struggle with low self-esteem. This is something I still deal with daily because of my anxiety, OCD, and depression and is perhaps the very reason why I am unable to create the way I crave to so often. First, my anxiety stems from whether or not anyone will like what I’m creating and whether or not I’ll be any good at what I decide to create. Then, my OCD begins to analyze my ideas from top to bottom; the perfectionist thinking makes the very idea of starting seem impossible. Lastly, my depression questions whether my ideas are even worth it. While all of these thoughts are replaying in my mind, I am talking myself out of my ideas. In the end, my judgments become a reality and my ideas get left behind.

What I can be doing, though, is reframing these negative thoughts. For the anxiety portion that holds me back, I can remind myself that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of my work. The most important part is whether or not I like my work and whether or not it has helped me through my symptoms of mental illness. I can then continue to tell myself that the perfectionistic thinking is a product of my OCD. I know that fighting the thoughts only makes things worse. Letting the thoughts float by is the healthiest way to cope with obsessive thinking, even though it may be the most challenging. As for the depression, the thoughts can be combated by just the opposite; I am only wasting more time by not doing what I love. If it helps me then there is no doubting whether or not the time I spent creating was worth it.

I am more than aware that all of these suggestions are easier said that done. They take practice, especially when dealing with mental illness and low self-esteem. Negative self-talk is consistent and stubborn, but reframing those thoughts may help you push past that barrier and get to what you know helps you. Writing this article is my first step towards unraveling the negative self-talk and I hope that you find it in you to make that first step too. You aren’t alone.


Comments

7
  • Rae

    Rae Rae

    Reply Author

    This touched my heart…I haven’t done much art or writing…I feel like I just wrote what you just said… And my daughter, Poetry , she is just like this too dancing and singing for me all day…I don’t ever want her to stop or struggle… so I gotta fix me n stop the cycle… thank you… connected thru art and our mind

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    • You Matter

      Rae: Thanks for connecting with us and sharing your thoughts!. Your Life Matters. We are always here for you

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  • Dave

    Dave Dave

    Reply Author

    Thank you for sharing this very much

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  • Gwen

    Gwen Gwen

    Reply Author

    This is me. I so often want to get out my sewing machine and start a project, or do something crafty. But I think of the mess, and the work to begin, and the end result. If i get the motivation to create something, I usually stop halfway through. It doesn’t look right or I messed up and just been too busy (laying on the couch and scrolling facebook) to finish. I so much miss the feeling of creating something for myself or a family member.

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    • You Matter

      Gwen, it sounds like sewing as a hobby has become more stressful than pleasurable. However, as you mentioned, you do miss being able to create something and giving it a loved one. We are sure your loved ones enjoyed receiving those gifts from the heart too.

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  • Signe

    Signe Signe

    Reply Author

    Hi, and thanks for sharing, this is of great value for many of us!

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    • You Matter

      You are welcome! We appreciate the feedback, Signe!

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