Why Mental Health Matters For Creative Writers by Athalie Carmela
Studies published by the Harvard Business Review reveal that 60% of people have experienced some form of mental health issue in 2018. How this impacts individuals and organizations cannot be understated, as psychologists from Maryville University highlight the link between mental health and the ability to learn effectively.
Indeed, these mental health issues are now widespread and are affecting people across all industries, including the creative sector.
As creative writers, we have our own set of mental health issues to overcome thanks to the way we work. Read on to find out more about the link between creative writing and your mental health, as well as some tips to help you cope.
Creative Writing and Mental Health
Case in point, American novelist John Green has gone on the record to talk about how he had to overcome debilitating anxiety just so he could writeThe Fault in Our Stars — the book would go on to sell millions of copies worldwide.
This establishes two things.
First, mental health issues can become a hindrance to one’s writing.
Second, it’s possible to overcome them.
So, how do you go about this?
Well, you could go the preventive route and practice self-care, just as our monthly columnist Willow Woodford shares in our feature on self-care for authors.
But what if self-care is not enough, and you’re really down in the dumps? Luckily, we have some tips to help you get out of that rut and back on your feet.
Writing is often a solitary process. You’ll be spending hours upon hours in a cramped room with no natural lighting. This could be what’s causing some of your issues, as the National Alliance on Mental Illness explains how isolation can worsen the state of your mental health.
One quick fix for this is to go outside and spend some time with your friends and loved ones.
Go to the park, ride your bike, and maybe even go on a hike. Take this time to recharge and refresh both your mind and body, as those long hours of writing can take its toll on you.
Read a Book
Many writers find refuge in their books, so taking some time off to relax and read a book you like can help remedy a bad mental health day.
J.K. Rowling swears by this method, as it has helped her sort out her own mental health issues. An article on Time details how Rowling tends to read biographies of people who’ve lived through turbulent times and have overcome their circumstances.
Books such as Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom or Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void are works that emphasize the strength of the human spirit. You don’t necessarily have to read inspirational pieces, as any book you find enjoyable will do the trick.
Get Professional Help
Writer, director, and actress Lena Dunham has opened up about her mental health issues and insists that we should treat these health concerns the same way we treat physical ailments.
Don’t hesitate to go out and seek help from a professional. The tortured artist is a dated cliché that you don’t have to put up with. Remember that only you can choose to get help – you can choose to get better.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Blogger, poet, and working class advocate Athalie Carmela wants mental health to be a priority in any type of job or occupation. As a writer, she believes that creativity is best expressed, explored, and developed in a healthy mental state — armed with the full mental faculties of the endlessly imaginative human mind. When she’s not chasing deadlines or rereading her favorite Harry Potter chapters, she spends lazy Sundays cuddling up to Cedric, her 7-year-old chunk of a Maine Coon cat.