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Mental Health and Creativity

Essays, general essay

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I don’t know how mentally healthy I am. Even with the occasional bout of stress, I think I’m doing okay. And when I’m not okay, I know what I need to do to keep my head on straight. It’s being creative, in my case, by writing.

Part of the reason I know this is because of what happened to me during the Lockdown part of the Pandemic. I’m one of the few people I know who wrote more during that time. I was feeling better about myself and some of the writing was darned good.

It’s why I have another book coming out this June, Death of an Heiress. It’s now available for pre-order at your favorite retailer (all of whom are listed here). The thing is, I feel better when I’m writing. It’s when I’m not writing that I get all stressed out and worried.

An author I know, Dennis Palumbo, and another author friend of mine, Meredith Taylor, are both psychologists. In the early days of the Pandemic, I asked them to help lead a talk for the members of our local chapter of Sisters in Crime on how to deal with our fears when there’s something out there to be afraid of. They both said that using our feelings to write will help us deal with our fears.

So maybe writing isn’t your thing. Maybe your thing is playing guitar, or playing with clay, or baking bread. The idea is that you use those feelings of fear to give your bread an extra hard kneading. Play music that lets you be angry, then lifts you up. Make something scary, out of clay, then mash it up and create something beautiful.

Your creativity doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good (although if you put your heart into it, it probably will be). You just have to do it. It’s the best thing I know of for your mental health.

Please talk to me. I'd love to hear from you.

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