Saturday 21 September 2019

When creative anxiety strikes by Anne Booth

When Creative Anxiety Strikes

I must admit I am feeling a bit stressed at this very moment, as I had forgotten it was my blog post tomorrow!

But I have also been rather anxious anyway recently because of various things, and I have been trying to do things to help myself. I was very impressed, when I was on a recent wonderful Orange Beak Illustration Retreat , to hear about their work to help promote good mental health for creatives. I was looking for a link but could only find this, but it gives you a taste of what illustrators are sharing about keeping in good emotional and mental health, and may inspire writers reading this.

I also follow @silverpebble, the writer Emma Mitchell, on twitter and find what she says very helpful. She has written this book: and often talks about how getting out in nature helps lessen anxiety and depression.

So today, I felt a sudden dip in my mood and a rise in anxiety, and before I could go further down, I took my little dog out and went for a walk for one hour and twenty minutes, and slowly, I felt my mood get better and my anxiety and negative, worried  thoughts lessen. It was so lovely. The colour green soaked away my bad thoughts. I could see and hear birds, and the trees, and the light shining though them and the shadows on the path, were so beautiful 

Here is where it went a little wrong, and I got lost. I do not have a good sense of direction and  Ben, my dog, is gorgeous, but disappointingly does not have the ability that many dogs have in children's books, to get us out of tricky situations and find our way home. He just likes sniffing around and wagging his tail.  So getting lost didn't help my anxiety and I had to resist ridiculous visions of us wandering around until dark and NEVER BEING FOUND.  Bear in mind that I was probably only about 25 minutes away from home and it was only about 4 pm and I had definitely been in that place before with my daughter on a walk. I just could not remember how we had got home from there. I  would not make a very good lone woman explorer. On the other hand, I hope my over imagination means I can understand the emotions of those who are genuine explorers and lost in the wilderness. What writer needs to actually go to the trouble to travel miles away and be an explorer when they can save time and money and get  panicked and disorientated so near home? Come to think of it, a real explorer lost in the wilderness would probably feel calmer.

ANYWAY. Eventually , as Ben was no help,  and I felt rather responsible for him, I calmed down and hit on the brilliant plan of going back the way we came, turning round and going back through the wood until I recognised where I was. 

Anyone who lives near me and recognises these views will wonder what on earth I was getting so anxious about. These places are SO NEAR to each other. But anxiety is without logic. 

Anyway, I walked home a much longer way than necessary, in grateful relief, Ben walking on the lead in front of me, though I don't think he had a clue where he was going really.

I saw a tree which made me smile. I think the way the leaves were trimmed made me think of a back to school haircut.

And here are another two beauties which lifted my spirits.

I felt helped by the greenness all around me, and lifted by the blue sky,  I wish I could share the noise of the wind in all the trees. The sound was so soothing.  I felt sshed and calmed and supported by each tree as I walked past them, and by the time I got back I felt so much better. 

I realise I am very lucky to have had a little dog to walk with today, and have such a beautiful locality to walk in.  It is amazing however, even for those living near to such beauty,  how hard it still is, when we feel bad about ourselves, to move and do what is good for us. When I feel paralysed by anxiety again,  I must remember how much it helped me today to get out of the house- and I hope, if you feel anxious , that you can get out too and have some healing contact with trees and greenness. I don't know what the trees were whispering to me and Ben today, but whatever  it was, it was very encouraging and kind.

P.S. If your anxiety is eased by listening to the sea, then this facebook post from Lindisfarne posted by The Lindisfarne Scriptorium may help.

1 comment:

Joan Lennon said...

Thanks for this, Anne! I share your and Ben's directional acuity, but it doesn't stop the advice to get out of the house and into the green from being very very good!