One of the most common things in the creative world is a crushing sense of self doubt. We fight the frustration, depression and unwavering belief that we are not good enough on nearly a daily basis. Some of us have it more than others and some have other contributing factors. The most difficult part isn't even dealing with these issues but handling the comments from those around us that either don't understand what we are dealing with or think telling us to get over it will somehow cure the pain.
For me it comes on suddenly. I can be going about my day with thoughts unrelated to my writing when something strikes me and brings me to tears. Something as simple as an email or perhaps a scheduling conflict with something I wanted to accomplish can make me start to rethink things. It sounds ridiculous and for those that have not experienced it I am sure that it is just that. For me it is uncontrollable. I become a pile of useless mush when these moments hit and it takes a great deal of effort and energy to fight back.
I spoke recently with my mom about the problem and had to explain that while she is one of the most honest people I know I still have to take things she says with a grain of salt because she cannot turn off what I have named mommy mode. She will protect me, especially knowing that I suffer from depression and anxiety. She will do her best to still tell me the truth but in those moments when I can barely believe whats happening in my own head I don't trust that she is speaking as anything more than my loving mom.
The fact is creative types express our emotions through our work. We paint, sculpt, sing, dance and write among so many other things to help us tell a story that hides deep in our minds and hearts. We are not always the best at healthy forms of expression but we also struggle to hide what is happening. It is a puzzle. We are not looking to drive the world crazy by making them play our games. In fact we are not necessarily trying to tell anyone in particular what we are feeling. We just want it out of our heads. It is only by reading the story within the work that anyone might truly understand the battle within.
Please if you know someone that deals with these issues as I do, don't tell them to suck it up or just get over it. Know that we are listening and your understanding means the world to us but sometimes it is about us working through things on our own. We will let you in when we are ready. You are our support system that helps hold us together when the war raging inside threatens to blow us apart. We cherish that. We cherish you and when our brains have stopped screaming and our hearts belong once again to sanity we will thank you in our own special ways. For those that don't say it often enough I thank you for everything you do for us.