Mental illness is a beast but, on occasion, I have come to find an amazing perk.

I would describe myself as creative. My whole life has been spent worshiping at the alter of art in all forms. I fancy myself a decent writer of both fiction and non, a dedicated beginner visual artist, a poet, a reasonably decent  photographer, and a great lover of music, dance, film, comics, performance art, graffiti, story telling, theatre, and so much more.

Creativity has saved me again and again and I can’t imagine my life without it. In recent years I’ve begun to appreciate just how much creativity saves me.

Between mental illness, grief, and chronic pain life isn’t always simple but I find, in a way, the adversity spurs me to higher levels of creative productivity.

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For instance I dreamed up more pieces I love during the month leading up to the second birthday of my Mom’s after she died than ever. I created 12 different colouring sheets, colouring art cards, paintings in acrylic, and portraits in pencil crayon. I was an art machine. Alas the wheels soon fell off…

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I liken situations like this to performing on a balance beam. I have to have my craziness (I mean no offence by the term crazy, I simply find it describes me well. I do not want to give the impression I’m labeling anyone else) to keep churning out the ideas and work but if I dip too far over into crazy-town I will perhaps break down and end up checking into the psychiatric ward for severe depression…but that’s a story for another day.

My point is it’s OK for me to embrace the one benefit mental illness sends my way. If this works for you too then grab the gift with both hands and reap the rewards. Just don’t hold on so tight you lose yourself entirely.

K

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