Psychotherapist and mystery author Dennis Palumbo thinks that “there is something to be said for accepting—and learning to navigate—the minor turbulences of life.
“I’m talking here about common, everyday anxiety. The jitters. Butterflies.
“This is particularly true for artists in Hollywood—writers, actors, directors, composers—whose very feelings are the raw materials of their craft.”
But, he adds, “These kinds of feelings are tough to deal with, to be sure, even if validated (and then gently challenged) by a supportive therapist, mate, good friend, or fellow creative type who’s ‘been there, done that.’
“These deeply embedded, childhood-derived, seemingly inescapable Dark-Night-of-the-Soul feelings can, in fact, be crippling, regardless of your level of craft or years of experience.”
Palumbo thinks “struggling with these doubts and fears doesn’t say anything about you as an artist. Other than that you are an artist…
“The important thing to acknowledge, to accept and to make use of, is the fact of this anxiety — its weight, its size, and its implacability at this time in your life.”
“I don’t do anything anymore that feels safe. If it doesn’t scare the crap out of you, then you’re not doing the right thing.”
I’ve always liked that comment by Sandra Bullock – but the quality and intensity of fear, which we may experience at times as anxiety, can both motivate and disrupt creative expression.
For many of us, I suspect, being a worrier, feeling some level of anxiety much of the time, is almost a personality trait – maybe related to the “melancholic” temperament.
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Creativity coach Eric Maisel, PhD notes one way anxiety shows up for many people.
He asks in his book Mastering Creative Anxiety, “Are you creating less often than you would like? Are you avoiding your creative work altogether? Do you procrastinate? That’s anxiety.”
From my post Creative Anxiety – Are You Procrastinating?
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Anxiety can interfere with our lives in many ways.
Jemma Kidd had a successful career as a fashion model before “discovering a new calling as a make-up artist… she opened her own ‘Make-up School’ in London, and a cosmetics line of the same name was launched…in the UK, America, Australia, Hong Kong, and Canada.”
Jemma Kidd (now Jemma Wellesley, Countess of Mornington), interviewed by Fiona Shield for Celebrity Angels:
“You’ve said before that you used to suffer from panic attacks?”
Jemma Kidd: “Panic attacks ruled my life for years. I’d really like to raise more awareness of them; I think something like one in five people have them. They just shatter your life.
“My twenties were really tough because of them – I was very, very fearful and scared of doing everything.
“I couldn’t go to the supermarket, I couldn’t go to crowds – I was very isolated and just stayed at home for a long time.
“It’s a fear of having them, you know when you have them it’s horrible, but then you live in fear of having one and that’s crippling.
“There’s this wonderful guy called Charles Linden who wrote the Linden Method.
“If you have panic attacks you should look at his website. It’s amazing – it really sorted me out.
“People are stressed – what’s happened now is that people feel guilty relaxing, but we’re not supposed to live in these stressful environments, especially women.
“That’s why I think so many women have trouble becoming pregnant and have hormone problems – we’re not supposed to live at this 95mph pace 24/7, you just exhaust yourself.
“I remember when I started the company, I thought ‘I can’t have holidays, I can’t stop’ and if I did stop I felt guilty. And I made myself sick from it because I just thought I couldn’t let people down.
“I know it’s cheesy, but you have to love yourself, appreciate what you have and you have to look after yourself and then the rest of it will all happen.”
Read more and see videos on the page:
Sensitive to anxiety – Being highly sensitive probably increases our vulnerability to anxiety.
Developing creativity: Fear is not a disease. “Fear is good. We view fear as a disease. It’s not a disease.” Psychologist Robert Maurer.
Also see multiple posts on Anxiety/Stress