Shadow Side of Creativity

Last week, I was gifted a rad book called Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa. It’s dense with tips for dealing with creative blocks and freeing yourself from the confines of your negative inner critic. I devoured the book in just a few days on the patio of my favorite bar with a few cheap beers. I found it to be useful, definitely helpful for someone struggling to finish (or even start) a project, but I couldn’t help but feel like it wasn’t quite getting to the crux of the issue that was keeping me from finding my motivation and getting excited about my own project -- growing Broad Room. 

My lack of motivation and deeply held belief that I just couldn’t do this anymore stemmed from something more than an inner critic or a creative block. I felt like I was just surviving everyday, but not really living or fully participating in my life. Nothing was exciting, everything felt like a personal attack, and I couldn’t stop dwelling on the worst things that happened in the last few months. The fog of depression was rolling in, dense and thick. Then, quite suddenly after a particularly difficult day, something clicked -- this isn’t normal for me. I don’t usually relate to the world in this way, I can usually see myself as I am and don’t get lost in the irrational narratives my mind constructs just to make me feel terrible. 

During the particularly difficult day, I woke up around 3:00am and my mind was already spinning out telling me how alone I am and how I can’t do this by myself. So, I just decided to ask for help from the Universe. Eventually, I managed to fall back asleep and when I woke up again, I had the realization that I’d started taking a new medication at the beginning of the month and that it was probably at the root of the intense, irrational emotions I was experiencing. I’m not suggesting anyone decide to go off necessary medication without consulting your doctor -- but for me this was the absolute right choice. The medication I’d been taking was basically unnecessary, there are other things I can do that don’t involve flooding my body with hormones, that will have the same effect. I can’t say for sure that the Universe was answering my pleas for help, but I do know that listening to my body was absolutely right for me. 

Listening to your body and feeling into your own intuition is so powerful. Often times, we already know what we need and have the tools to make a change for the better in our lives. Since deciding to make this change, I’ve been able to be productive again. I actually did a few of the things on my to-do list yesterday (because my energy wasn’t being used up on irrational thoughts or just trying to stay alive). Today, I can actually write again (look, I’m writing this right now!) and I have the energy to focus on the things I need to do to keep Broad Room moving in the direction I envision rather than being so inundated with anxiety that I can’t even open my email or DMs for fear that there’s something stressful waiting for me. 

Here are a few other things I do to keep myself from spinning out into irrational thoughts:

  • If your mind is making you believe someone hates you or doesn’t care about you anymore, focus on sending them good vibes and send yourself even more good vibes. It redirects your energy away from the negativity and gives you the option to feel good. It’s also not our job to make everyone like us all the time -- if someone is making you feel shitty, let them have that but don’t take it on yourself. 

  • A few nights of solid sleep in a comfy bed can make things a heck of a lot easier to deal with. It might be boring to go home at a decent time everyday, but going home, eating dinner, taking a shower, and going to bed by 10:00pm for a few consecutive days makes everything infinitely easier. 

  • Delete Instagram. I did this for a day during the dark week. I can’t say it solved anything, but at least things weren’t made worse by seeing how productive and happy everyone else was. 

  • Talk to someone else about how you’re feeling. Make sure it’s someone you trust and has the ability to hold space for you (ask if they have the capacity to listen). Then, let them know what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling -- they’ll help you figure out what’s real and what’s not if you are stuck in irrational thoughts. 

If you’re having a dark day, week, month, or year -- I feel you and I want you to know you have worth. You deserve goodness, kindness, and abundance. I’ll be diving into this shadowy stuff that keeps us from reaching our full potential in my upcoming Shadow Side of Creativity workshop later this month (the 9/29 class is already sold-out, but I added another date on 10/19 that still has spots available). 

Learn more about the workshop here!

Thanks for reading :)