We’ve lost too many brilliant creatives in the last several years – and I felt the need to address the issue as a deeply concerned artist, though I am not a licensed counselor or therapist. While circumstances might be varied, and most times the cause is anxiety, depression or substance addiction which have led to a mental inbalance - all of which are treatable.
My heart grieves each time a brilliant creative doesn’t get the help they need in time. The list seems to grow by the year, and most recently, Kate Spade, one of my favorite designers, and artist who gave us an optimistic life brand through colorful, vibrant design, took her life last week though she seemingly had it all.
Each specific case is unique in causes and circumstances. However, I believe there must have been something crucial missing in most cases, either physically as in an undiagnosed hormone or glucose inbalances (very real, and dangerous situations in men and women which can lead to erratic and addictive behaviors). It also often caused by a gnawing longing within each person because of, or as an unexpected letdown after, all their success- a piercing, unrelenting ache for contentment and fulfillment.
We’ve all experienced those moments in various intensities, but the key is getting help early before it goes too far. In my almost thirty years of working as a creative and with creatives, I've concluded that we all have these vital needs. And I do mean vital.:
1) Contentment – An understanding about and feeling of contentment about, and fulfillment of, our purpose. If you don't know Who made you, why He created you, and His purpose for You, it can feel like your gas tank is empty and you have no GPS. Finding contentment can involve finding the time and space you need for your art, all the way to experience the fruitful realization of a major creative endeavor.
2) Community – An intimate circle of friends and supporters who can help us should we slip into a dark or self-harm state of mind. This group has to offer the right combination of empathy, encouragement, support, and wise counsel. This might be through your church, local community, school, or online. Check in with your artist friends often, ask them how they are really feeling. Encourage each other with life-giving words, and intervene if necessary. For more information on a loving environment for artists seeking after an intimate, fulfilling relationship with their Creator, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Care – Many bright artists struggle with life-work balance because we love our craft so much that it can become our life. Even those with creative genius among us need to just play sometimes. We need consistent self-care as pertains to health, rest, and other healthy discipline structure built in and sometimes enforced by those who love us. We can be free spirits, but still need to practice self-care for and be cared for, and in this case, by professional natural health or other medical care providers, qualified and wise faith-based counselors in good standing, support groups, and more. If you are in the Dallas Fort Worth area, If you feel that you are dealing with a spiritual condition and need help to overcome it, I recommend the Freedom Ministry Gateway Church offers http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom. Please read the paragraph below.
4) Communion – I was in a dark place as a creative and as a human being before I began my relationship with my Creator. While the times of dark and light still ebb and flow, the difference this time is that my Light never leaves me in the dark when I cry out to Him. I still ask for help and address my needs early on as prevention. To find out more about how you can discover this relationship, please submit a contact form and you will receive a reply in no more than two business days. Once again, however, if you are having strong sucidal thoughts, please call 911 in the U.S. or the emergency number or get help immediately by other means in your country.
5) Commitment – Making a promise to yourself to do whatever it takes to feel better and not harm yourself, and making it to your loved ones can give you the inner strength you might lack. Creatives are often also people-pleasers who give themselves dry, but in this case, not letting people down is a matter of survival and for your benefit through your recovery process. It is not a catch-all solution by any means, but making a promise to your loved ones can prevent suicide in some cases.
Please, precious creative, if you ever feel yourself slipping into a hopeless or self-harm mindset reach out to someone you trust and ask them to help you help yourself. Don’t try to do this alone, then isolate yourself for any reason Please know that we need you – not only to perform or produce, but to fulfill your greater purpose in relationship to your loving Creator. He longs to wrap you in His soothing love.
Until we can connect, here are some verses to minister to you:
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness.
Psalm 107:14 NIV
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.
1 Peter 2:9 NIV
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.