Why Don't We Talk About Mental & Creative Exhaustion?
Those of you who read my articles, will have noticed I’ve changed my schedule and upload a new article 3 times a week; Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’ve been doing so for the last 2 weeks, until the Monday just gone (6th Nov) and this is because I’ve been faced with creative and mental exhaustion.
The last month, in terms of mental health has been pretty rocky for me. I wanted to focus this article more towards the creative exhaustion element because it’s a newer hurdle I’m facing, as appose to mental exhaustion. Towards the end of last week I experienced my first anxiety attack in public, in fact some of you who read these articles we’re right there but you wouldn’t of noticed because it was silent. I won’t go into much detail, but an all-day workshop about trauma in journalism triggered me. So much so, that besides the heart palpitations, nervous fidgeting, light headedness and 100mph thoughts, I physically couldn’t remove myself from the room - hence silent anxiety attack.
I’ve had attacks like this before, but they’ve always been alone. When the workshop was over, I swiftly made my way to the toilets and ugly cried for a good 10 minutes. I’m bringing this up because after seeing a GP earlier in the week, my mental health has not only taken ahold when I’m alone but it’s worming it’s way into my education and now my creativeness.
I never wrote an article for Monday because I simply had no ambition or motivation to do so.
The events which unfolded on Friday (which ended in 2 waves of ugly cries later that night) have left me creatively and mentally exhausted. I’ve essentially cut myself down to the basics of a newborn baby: wake up, eat, do nothing, eat again and sleep.
I do a lot of shit. Besides being a final year student, beginning to write my dissertation and of course churning our 3 articles a week, I run a student radio station which involves endless emails, meetings and organisation for events. And it doesn’t stop there, I’ve started working on a podcast project and I’m volunteering alongside the local council and a regional radio station, for their Christmas light switch on. That’s simply what I can think of off the top of my head, I’m sure there’s more.
I’ve never quite hit creative exhaustion like this, ever before. I like working hard and keeping myself busy, it’s my bread and butter. It’s something I’ve had hammered home to me since being in high school, it’s what you do to make yourself stand out to future employers when you make the next step. And yet, when people get to the point of no return we don’t talk about it. Much like mental health, it’s a hush hush topic partially because in the past it’s been seen as taboo but also because people don’t actually know a lot about it. So they find it harder to tackle and simply brush it off.
I’ve never referred to other peoples work on this website before, but there is a really good article about creative depression/exhaustion however you wanna categorise it. In fact reading it helped me realise, that what I’m experiencing isn’t simply a slump, like in the past but my brain keeling over from the workload (click here for the article - will open separate tab). They discuss the reasons for creative and mental exhaustion and actually give some really useful tips on battling it, considering I’m pretty useless with advice right now.
There is no reason aim with this article. If anything I’ve just blurted out what’s been going on inside my head, because I haven’t left the house since Saturday, but I do hope it brings the topic into a discussion.
Mental health is slowly becoming recognised amongst not only the public but institutions and surprisingly health organisations. And unfortunately it isn’t as black and white as we would all like to hope so. The majority of my readers are students, and every course requires some level of creativeness, it’s just spotting the ones that might have a moment where they temporarily crash and burn.