For my whole life, I've used creativity to manage my depression and anxiety. In childhood, I colored, cross-stitched, crocheted, and painted through the ups and downs of growing up. In high-school and college, I included art as part of my coursework. In adulthood, I have had to repeatedly and deliberately call myself and artist. I built art into my life knowing that I'm so much better off immersed in the process of making something. More and more, I'm realizing it's less of a choice and more of an unavoidable vocation. No matter what life decisions I make --erroneously or otherwise--that pull me away from my vocation, I always find a way to circle back.
Now that I'm fully committed to this artist life and trying to make a living doing it, I'm still struggling with depression. It's of a different variety, though. Not only is there the pressure to succeed financially, but also there is the pressure to create something worthwhile for myself and others. I strive to keep fear and doubt on the sidelines and often find myself repeating Dory's mantra--"Just keep swimming." I no doubt am aware of the privilege I have to be able to live a life as a full-time artist, and this knowing prods me further to not squander this opportunity.
For me what is eternally hopeful about creativity and artmaking is that in the actuality of making things we learn about our worlds through close, sensory perception, and we very literally and physically shape our worlds to our own desires. We have the power to recreate, re-imagine, and manipulate our lives and circumstances through limitless creative endeavors. I find tremendous hope in this practice and look forward to making and making and remaking and making. . .
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.