Running a creative business is hard. Running a creative business that is your "side hustle" is hard. Running a creative business while dealing with anxiety and working full-time is overwhelming. At least it is for me.
I've dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember. Depression will pop in when the anxiety is so debilitating, I start to question "why me?" I've also been creative for as long as I can remember. My gramma is crafty, my mom is crafty -- I grew up with it. A couple years ago when my anxiety became so bad, I stopped creating things. I couldn't. All of my focus had to be on getting out of bed and getting to work. Hopefully I can make it through a full day -- there was about a 50/50 chance. It started to get really bad in May and then I finally had a breakthrough and some relief in August. I remember thinking how I haven't done calligraphy in months. After that August, I put so much of my focus on yoga and hand lettering. I signed up for my first vendor show that November and it's been full force ever since. Anxiety is tricky because it's always there. Even when you think you "don't have it anymore" it's still there. Working with my therapist, I had an "ah-ha" moment when I realized I don't need to make my anxiety go away -- I can just learn ways control it. Through therapy and medicine, I've been able to do just that.
I'll be on a roll for months, then I'll have a few bad days. Those days are the ones I'm trying to figure out. How do I keep going? How do I find the energy to get home from work, sit at my desk and create a custom piece? For so long I would beat myself up, feeling like I was wasting my time just sitting on the couch or lying in bed watching Netflix. I didn't do anything all day and I'm exhausted. It's amazing how your mind can tire you. I've now come to accept that it's okay to come home and just rest. I'll never be able to continue my creative side hustle if I don't take care of me first.
I'm curious to know if anyone else deals with anxiety and/or depression? How do you navigate your busy times -- how do you keep going when all you want to do is curl in a ball and sob? I know everyone is different -- for me it just takes time. Getting outside helps. Reading a good thriller helps. But usually I still want to scream. I dream of what it's like to go through my day-to-day motions without being interrupted by a scary thought. What would it be like to have one, anxiety-free month? Oh the work I could get done!
But, anxiety is my reality. I don't love it, but I've learned to accept it. I don't even want to lose my creativity -- anxiety may put it on pause for a little while, but it's not going to take it away from me. So, here's to all my creatives out there with a little monster on your shoulder. We've made it this far and are stronger than we think.