Mental Health & Scheduling for Musical Goals.
Hi guys, If you've clicked on this, I assume you have struggled with mental health or are reading up for someone who needs help getting things to work. Of the range of concerns that humans pursuing music in the presence of mental health struggles, the single common factor is "not being able to get stuff done".
We all know, that to get anywhere with music, we must at least get some things done regularly. Practice, Recording, Posting, Rehearsal, Invoicing. We need to do it all the time. But the mental health rollercoaster does not guarantee this for us.
On some days, we can push through the pain and work. On other days, everything is unbearable and we must numb ourselves with television, food, sleep or other things.
Our capacity varies from day to day. Our inner weather changes. This is common for people with and without mental health challenges. The former just have it a lot harder.
We must first be kind to ourselves and not call this plain procrastination or laziness. I believe that it is more.
First of all, I believe that procrastination is a complex thing mixed in with many other pains. Second, I believe that everyone's procrastination avoids a different thing about work. Some fear failure. Some fear the shame of not being the best - they know they won't ever fail but being second best seems as unbearable and threatening.
Some fear success ! Yes. Success might clash with our current negative view or judgements about ourselves... it challenges our reality and our current identity. Success might alienate loved ones or peers who need us to be "below" them or even just "familiar". It's surprising how much sabotage happens around avoiding success.. and if this rings true for you - please know that I am part of this group too. My biggest moments of bullying have been around the time I have hit significant milestones and I began to subconsciously view success as emotional danger.
So, you may never know what a person is actually avoiding when they procrastinate. You may be avoiding different things on different days!
To add to this, on down days, the capacity to push past the resistance seems to go missing.
Forgive yourself. You don't have to push past anything at the cost of your well being.
Many people have created successful lives in the arts with UNCOMMON schedules and mental health struggles. You will have to figure out your own uncommon schedule.
WHAT DO I DO TILL I AM CAPABLE OF A SCHEDULE?
If in your process, schedules seem impossible right now, that's absolutely fine! It's normal. You can do a lot of stuff without schedules. But you might also want them.... eventually. Why? It's coz Schedules are tools. They help up keep things moving and map our progress and our units of work. Schedules give us such a huge emotional reward that our sense of self can get a serious upgrade because of them. In that sense, schedules are therapeutic. So let's just place them in the future for now. We will get to them someday.
The only thing we must promise ourselves now is that as soon as we feel the weather lift inside us.... as soon as we have the slightest YES from inside, we will hold onto it. We will hold tight. and we will start work.
1) We will start work as though it is a game. No biggie. Work is not a monster. 2) We will reframe words and giving ourselves ideas that seem to minimize the workload. The panic of " I have to submit this" reduces if we say "I just need to type in some words today". It needs to sound like no big deal. Lighter words allow our capacity and stamina to open up. Soon, an enjoyable work mode switches itself on. For today, we have won. If we can't do it beyond a few minutes, that's fine too. Give the table or your computer a friendly touch and say "Ill be back, I care about this, I promise to be back. I just need to care for me right now"
MANY ARTISTS HAVE MENTAL HEALTH STUGGLES. AND THEY MAKE IT. NOT 'DESPITE' THE PAIN.... BUT BY FINDING POCKETS OF ABILITY AND LETTING THEIR GIFTS SHOOT OUT THROUGH THOSE WINDOWS.
COME ON, AND MAKE YOURSELF EVERTHING THAT YOU LOVE !
You're more capable than you could ever know. <3
Pic Credit: Zac Wolf, Unsplach