I know what it’s like to feel stuck. When I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia I felt like I was a waste of space, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything with my life and I felt like I couldn’t get anywhere because of my illness.
Then I remembered that I enjoy writing. Within a couple of years I had written a book about my experiences. Then there were years where I couldn’t seem to find anyone interested so I gave up trying to get it out there and instead settled on self-publishing it.
I was stuck again.
That changed when I saw an article in the Huffington Post about a mother who’s son had schizophrenia. That got me to thinking, I could write about my experience for newspapers and magazines.
A couple of years later, leading up to now I’ve been published in some pretty cool places.
The thing is, it didn’t exactly work out like I thought it would. Once again I felt stuck, not being able to make a living and struggling even though I was a writer for The New York Times.
That’s where I’ve been for about the last three or four months, constantly worrying about being able to pay my rent and to be able to buy food. It came to a point where I was obsessing about it.
Then, on a whim, I started playing with a music making program I had on my computer.
Really it was just something to pass the time but it was fun.
I’ve been making some really cool, really good songs and I think there might be a bit of future in it. I don’t know yet, I haven’t committed and I still really enjoy writing.
The thing was though, it took me out of my worrying, it gave me something to focus on besides making a living writing and I think that may be the key for any creative pursuit like that.
Flow is a strange thing, I don’t know the exact definition but it’s that thing where you lose yourself for hours as you’re focused on creating something. It’s weird but it’s also very liberating, especially when you’re stuck.
If you can find that flow, if you can find that creative pursuit that takes your mind off the stressors of life you’ll be much better for it.
Some people say that they aren’t creative but I think I’d disagree with that. I think they just haven’t found their activity that gives them that flow. Who knows, if you do something enough and get really good at it, there might be possibilities that will unfold as you proceed.
Finding your flow is also really good for recovery, especially if you can’t stop thinking about things. Losing yourself, although it may sound like escapism, is good for you, it’s a vacation without going anywhere.
If you find yourself feeling stuck, try to find your flow. If you don’t have that thing that gives you your flow try experimenting with different creative stuff. Pick up a pen and draw or try writing something, you may be the next great artist or writer.
It doesn’t matter if what you make isn’t any good, as long as it takes you out of yourself for a while.
Plus, if you enjoy it and keep doing it, it might eventually become really good.