/On Anxiety & Self-care - part 2/
Ever since I was young, I’ve been able to create from my anxiety. It was a way for me to explore my thoughts through a looking glass. The anxiety never really went away, but it became so manageable that I could breathe. I was never bullet proof, but I was protected.
A few months ago, it became clear that art was no longer the tool I needed to handle my anxiety. I spent the better part of the spring witnessing my anxiety expand, without any tools to protect or even distract myself. I would call it a void because it wasn’t replaced by anything. It was as if I had stopped subscribing to my home-made self-care plan. I realised that my art is now about empowerment and that for the past few years, my art has been about strength, politics and change. My art isn’t just about me anymore and in that, the safety of pouring my anxiety into it disappeared. This is exactly where I want to be in my expression, it just doesn’t offer the same release anymore.
So, I had to look for other methods of self-care. Anything that could replace what art once was. I started to look closely at my relationships and distanced myself from anyone that didn’t contribute to my wellbeing. I prioritized this because it would eventually allow me to build surroundings I was safe in. I started to address the root of the anxiety and not the symptoms. For all these years, anxiety has been a cloud in my sight so I’ve had a hard time addressing actual trauma. My main focus with self-care is to liberate my mind but before I could do that I had to be honest with myself, and the people around me. I started to set limits around my discomfort and forced my mind to stay within those limits as to gain some control over my thoughts. Now, self-care has become all about listening to myself and allowing recovery to happen naturally, in whatever form it chooses to take.
It took a lot to get here and the set-backs are constant. Still, I feel strong as fuck and braver than I’ve ever been, and that makes it worth it.