Is Cracking Up Good For You?

My latest mixset exemplifies the occasionally unbearable link between sanity and the creative process. There's an edge to the mix' passion and a compelling quality in its narrative that inches that much closer to something special than my usual mixset output. And it wouldn't be there were I not in the middle of a particularly acute phase of swinging rapidly between manic highs and depressive lows.

I've struggled for many years with difficult and occasionally debilitating mental health issues. They're private and personal and yet have a direct and important bearing on my creative output: my website work, my photography, my writing, and, of course, my music production and djing. As I've adapted to my issues, I've tried different approaches--some more successful than others.

But one thing I can say is that treating my mental health as something that needs to be fixed invariably produces an unwelcome consequence of supressing my creativity. While on mood stabilizing medication, for instance, years back, I stopped making music altogether. I simply wasn't motivated to even think about it and when I, from a sense of obligation, would try and sit down nothing would gel and I'd end up frustrated and crying over the loss of my artistry.

Conversely, over the years as I found non-medicated approaches to managing my mental health, my most productive creative periods has always fluxed around moments of personal crisis and instability. And from that chaos springs beautiful things that enrich the lives of others. And that transfer satisfies me immensely.

Indeed, a friend recently left a voicemail message for me hoping that I was doing ok and that she knew I've been depressed and all, but there was something to be said for my depression and putting out "kick-ass music." I chuckled out loud as I listened to her message. If only she knew, for me, just how true that is.

And how awkward.

And delightful.

And painful.

And fundamentally uncontrollable.

And so I wonder how I walk that line of sanity and creative production. How I maintain my connection to artistic compulsion while not sacrificing my health and well-being in the process. Balance, many would argue. And I hear those requests for balance. But, it is an anxious tightrope between here and there. And sometimes I fall from my perch on high strung emotional wires.

posted on 2.19.2007 07:45 PM • Add A Comment