Anxiety and artists D: Help!!
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    Anxiety and artists D: Help!!

    So adding to the long list of medical conditions i have, i have been told i have anxiety by my pschyatrist. ironically this totally fucks up my ability to draw in public or create in general. The constant questioning my brain is doing doesnt help me become more decisive or pull out my sketchbook in a crowd.

    Uh so yeah anyone got these same problems and how do you deal?

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    Uh so yeah anyone got these same problems
    yes.

    and how do you deal?
    conditioning.

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    Practice practice practice. Just like everything else.
    Did you really need a psychiatrist to tell you you had anxiety issues?
    This sorta stuff you kinda know on your own.. if you don't its probably not -that- bad.

    Anyway, drawing in public is always hard with people everywhere, stuff moving, colors everywhere, sexy women wagging their tails.. lots of distractions, these dont necessarily help you get your art game going.
    So you just gotta practice it, go out where you want to sit, take out your sketchbook and start scribbling some terrible awful HORRIFICALLY bad sketches.
    After a while, they'll start to turn into not so terrible sketches..
    And if you keep at it for a while you might even reach your normal level.

    It's okay to do bad sketches, bad paintings etc.
    My sketchbook has about 10pages that don't look like complete garbage.
    My SB here on CA is FULL of crap that I shake my head whenever I look at it.
    But it's okay. Just stop caring about what other people think.
    It's harder -said- than done.

    For each failed painting/sketch you make, your exp gets doubled.

    "Sadly, most artists prefer to give the elite their attention."
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    Everyone deals with anxiety once in a while.
    And practice and/or preparation usually solve this.

    Go out, draw, find out you didn't die, the world didn't end and nothing really bad happened. Do that a lot and things get easier.

    I've solved several of my my anxiety problems that way, some still remain though.
    I don't do them often enough to get used to them. And I know I have one or two things I still take far to serious. Those have to be perfect (at least, that's what my mind keeps telling me). That doesn't help either.

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    I developed extreme social anxiety disorder 4 years ago, I started drawing a year after that. It's probably the hardest thing I've ever tried to do in my life. I cannot keep myself calm while even drawing a still model or having others around me. But I still went each day, I didn't care if people thought I was weird I just stuck with it. Today it's a different story, I probably draw from a model once a month or so because of my phobia of others progressively getting worse. It's a constant battle for us, but there is no choice but just to do it.

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    how would you feel if you were a lead guitarist for a band and you had to nail that tricky solo in front of a huge crowd in Times Square? How would you feel if weeks and months before the big concert, you have no choice but to practice everyday. Playing your guitar where ever you go and even preforming on the streets to get your confidence up? And what about making lots of mistakes during your public practice sessions?


    think about it


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    Everybody has anxiety. You learn to cope with it. If you really feel like its getting in the way of your work, see a psychologist or talk it out with a friend. You could take medicine if you really feel like you can't get a grip on it. But a lot of medicine, especially for stuff like anxiety and depression has the tendency to screw with your brain's chemical balance. I tried meds for a while and felt that I did a lot better off of them. As for drawing in public, its not for everybody. If you want to draw from life without worrying about people saying something when you draw, look into taking a life drawing class. It might be more expensive than drawing people in a coffee shop, but if it can help you to draw better, than why not?

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    This isn't a problem I've had, so take the advice with a grain of salt.

    My suggestion is go out and sketch in public anyways, even if you don't get much of anything done. And do it again, and again, and again. Once you've spent enough time doing it I'm sure the anxiety will go away.

    People can learn to overcome horrible horrible things. Hell, even nightmarish living conditions eventually become somewhat common place and you learn to cope. Force yourself out of your comfort zone and you can force your brain to adapt.

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    Well. I always felt a bit uncomfortable (I wouldn't call that anxiety) when starting to sketch in public but after while the feeling is gone beacause I get absorbed by drawing. What really helps in getting focused is having some headphones with music.

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    I've suffered from social anxiety and depression since I was 12, and am taking an anti-depressant that treats both, as well as talking to my therapist every 2 months or so (give or take; sometimes I have to move them up if my depression gets really bad).

    I suffer from some of the same fears you do (although my drawing in public fear is more a fear of "I may get mugged while sketching" than anything else), and that's one of the reasons I haven't posted my art here yet :/

    As for getting past the anxiety, well, as others have said, a few things can help: getting out and drawing regardless, talking to a non-judgemental friend, kicking it up a notch and see a therapist, or even try medication (I would suggest this after discussing your options with a therapist first, especially if you have other medical conditions that may interact with some of the anti-depressants on the market).

    Right now I'm doing a lot of studies to help me feel more confident, and am starting a personal mini-CHOW with a trusted friend who is also into art. That might be a route you can take till you feel more stable/less anxious.

    I hope you start to feel better soon It's tough, but we can pull through

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    This isn't a problem I've had, so take the advice with a grain of salt.

    My suggestion is go out and sketch in public anyways, even if you don't get much of anything done. And do it again, and again, and again. Once you've spent enough time doing it I'm sure the anxiety will go away.

    People can learn to overcome horrible horrible things. Hell, even nightmarish living conditions eventually become somewhat common place and you learn to cope. Force yourself out of your comfort zone and you can force your brain to adapt.
    Sometimes the anxiety never goes away completely, but it can lessen and/or become a lot easier to manage if you just keep doing it, from what I've experienced.

    If the anxiety increases dramatically and going out in public causes more harm than good, then he might have to try a different method of trying to overcome his fear.

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    Story time.. My problems are not chemical in nature tho.

    I dealt by healing and getting over my problem.

    My story for the fifity millionth time on here:

    I was raped by my best friend at the time months before my 18th birthday and didn't tell anyone until a month after my 21st birthday. My life sort of spiraled and went to shit during that time period. Talk about creative anxiety! At first I was ok... then I couldn't do anything, my grades went from withdrawals to being too depressed to withdraw from classes, I'm still recovering from the F's, and eventually abandoning school altogether. My room became a cesspool, I never cleaned, never dusted and lived in filth which only further created a problem. It also led to a chronic procrastination problem (as in putting the things off I was doing to put off the real work! I'd put off playing WoW!).

    My self confidence and esteem was so crushed I feared putting pencil to paper. FEARED. Not just social or sketching in public, I was afraid to defile a piece of paper with my hand garbage. I would sit and touch and stare at a blank sheet of nice Bristol for hours and that was it. It was like he took my creativity and chewed and pissed on it.

    It was not until shortly after I turned 21 that it hit me. My boyfriend came home from work late that night and I collapsed in his arms, crying. I was just mumbling incessantly "I said no I said no he didn't listen I said no.." in a cathartic fashion. It's like my brain finally had enough and it just spilled out everywhere. For years I'd even denied myself that admittance much less anyone else. While I had some lingering, terrible sadness for the following 2 weeks, I began the healing process without realizing it.


    All the sudden I began to want the things I wanted before. I began to be able to hold a job without the agitation of customer service driving me to quit after 3 months again. I slowly began to put pencil to paper, first loathing what came out but shortly learning to love even my worst drawings again. I couldn't get anything but violent scribbles and disjointed faces out at first but after a while the joy returned. My boyfriend gave me a Moleskine then.

    If you click on my Sketchbook link, the first drawings in there were the exercises that I did and the lines that came out when I was getting on my feet again.

    SO fast forward to now... This is how I've systematically dealt with the nuances of feeling anxious. I may not need them all now, but they help me keep order:

    1) I keep a fastidiously clean room. I pick up every little thing and don't let a single piece out of place. This may sound anal and OCD-ish, but if I do, I let the mess engulf me and it grows. I am insanely productive in a clean, neat room and work area and I wouldn't be surprised if this was a somewhat universal truth.

    2) I keep a detailed planner with 2 months of pages in it at a time. I log my drawing times, I plan out and schedule everything I can. It creates a sort of checklist that you can use to break large projects into small, manageable chunks and due dates. If you have any tendency to feel overwhelmed, this is a good way to break the anxiety cycle.

    3) I do a lot to keep me busy in addition to art. I play ice hockey, roller hockey and my one favorite computer game. I also paint miniatures and play tabletop games. If you don't allow yourself TOO MUCH free time, I've found that it's difficult to focus on or wallow in self misery.

    Thats all I have. Probably won't help you much but that's how my story goes.

    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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    I had somewhat bad anxiety from 17 to 20, I've still got it to a lesser degree. My main fears were a mix of suddenly going insane, and a fear of solipsism, I thought,"Everything that matters to me is just a delusion, and one day I'll fully realize this and it'll all be gone and I'll float around in nothingness alone for eternity." These irrational fears stem from some sort of misguided faith, there is no way to prove any of these things, no evidence, no past experience to confirm them, it's all just speculation. Almost any reason you can use to substantiate your fear can also contradict it. Today I'm more bewildered than fearful, that's probably the best I'll ever get.
    One way to deal with constant questioning is to write out those thoughts in a journal.
    Read stuff, listen to ideas that contradict your fears.
    One way to lesson social anxiety is to put yourself in an experience more intense than where you usually feel it, I did kickboxing.
    Use a small sketchbook when you sketch in public, so you don't feel all,"Look at me I'm sketching in public!"
    Building up your drawing skills makes it easier to sketch in public, it's the same psychology as wearing a swiming suit.
    If you have intense disorienting physical symptoms that go with your anxiety, the only non-drug way to deal with that is intense exercise. This is one of the more insidious symptoms of anxiety because you think something is physically wrong with you, I thought I was having a heart attack at one point. Once you've had enough fake heart attacks you realize it's just a bullshit fake out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by armando View Post
    I had somewhat bad anxiety from 17 to 20, I've still got it to a lesser degree. My main fears were a mix of suddenly going insane, and a fear of solipsism, I thought,"Everything that matters to me is just a delusion, and one day I'll fully realize this and it'll all be gone and I'll float around in nothingness alone for eternity." These irrational fears stem from some sort of misguided faith, there is no way to prove any of these things, no evidence, no past experience to confirm them, it's all just speculation. Almost any reason you can use to substantiate your fear can also contradict it. Today I'm more bewildered than fearful, that's probably the best I'll ever get.
    One way to deal with constant questioning is to write out those thoughts in a journal.
    Read stuff, listen to ideas that contradict your fears.
    One way to lesson social anxiety is to put yourself in an experience more intense than where you usually feel it, I did kickboxing.
    Use a small sketchbook when you sketch in public, so you don't feel all,"Look at me I'm sketching in public!"
    Building up your drawing skills makes it easier to sketch in public, it's the same psychology as wearing a swiming suit.
    If you have intense disorienting physical symptoms that go with your anxiety, the only non-drug way to deal with that is intense exercise. This is one of the more insidious symptoms of anxiety because you think something is physically wrong with you, I thought I was having a heart attack at one point. Once you've had enough fake heart attacks you realize it's just a bullshit fake out.
    Brain in the vat eh? One way you would look at it is if this reality was not the true reality it wouldn't matter because even if you are a brain in a vat you would still exist in some sort of reality one way or another. So no matter what, you are still alive experiencing true reality even if your mind is not anchored in that true reality. I think it's pretty common for people with anxiety and depression to experience existential thoughts because of the fact that the current reality they are experiencing is not comfortable in a sense. Whenever I do I just mark it off as even if I might not be real here I must be real somewhere somehow in order for my thoughts to exist.

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    If you haven't already, talk to you psychiatrist about it. I would imagine the appropriate course of action depends on the severity of your condition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tandy1000 View Post
    Brain in the vat eh? One way you would look at it is if this reality was not the true reality it wouldn't matter because even if you are a brain in a vat you would still exist in some sort of reality one way or another. So no matter what, you are still alive experiencing true reality even if your mind is not anchored in that true reality. I think it's pretty common for people with anxiety and depression to experience existential thoughts because of the fact that the current reality they are experiencing is not comfortable in a sense. Whenever I do I just mark it off as even if I might not be real here I must be real somewhere somehow in order for my thoughts to exist.
    This is not the same thing as I meant. I've heard of the idea before of "we don't really exist", but it's self refuting. What I meant is specifically solipsism, with only me existing, and therefore everything I experience is a delusion and all I care about is unreal. This leads to nihilism because if nothing is real, there can be no meaningful experience, relationships, etc. This is a dangerous thought because it can lead to violent amoral behavior. You can also consider the opposite, and so there are nihilistic thoughts like,"don't take life so serious." It's not enough to exist, loneliness is unbearable, and if the speculation is true then this godmind must create fake people in order to keep from being lonely. You're trapped for eternity in a mental prison. I don't believe any of this of course. It's all just speculation, and it requires tons of leaps of faith. If one person can exist why not lots and lots, probably infinity. All speculative ideas are taken from experiences in the real world, "vats" are seen in the real world. I've heard arguments like "what is seen in this world, is derived from the true reality beyond." like they're only memories, but it makes more sense to doubt those speculations, and have faith in reality. It makes no sense to doubt reality, and have faith in weak hypothisis. There are infinity hypothesis for this one reality.

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    You sound so tragically human.
    Where there is a will there is a way...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Idiot Apathy View Post
    You sound so tragically human.
    Where there is a will there is a way...
    I think this was a response to me. I don't see how that applies here. I wrote in my first post that I'm bewildered, there are so many faiths, philosophies, hypotheses, I don't know what to believe. Nevertheless there are facts of life that continue to happen, whether I want to believe it's caused by God, me, aliens, holographs, accident, the effect is the same: life. I just don't know what the cause is, and don't think it's worth thinking about too much since the answer can't be found.

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    Quote Originally Posted by armando View Post
    I think this was a response to me. I don't see how that applies here. I wrote in my first post that I'm bewildered, there are so many faiths, philosophies, hypotheses, I don't know what to believe. Nevertheless there are facts of life that continue to happen, whether I want to believe it's caused by God, me, aliens, holographs, accident, the effect is the same: life. I just don't know what the cause is, and don't think it's worth thinking about too much since the answer can't be found.
    Who says the answer can't be found? The reason why religion or science even exists is because we are alive and want to know the origins of our existence. Why not believe in the one that is based on reason and logic instead of unfounded assumptions. I don't see how you can be confused about the matter. Is it fear driving you? Is this fear within reason? Don't not think about it, rather go down the road that applies skepticism with education rather than fantastical ideas.

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    I mostly agree with you, yet I'm still skeptical about a final answer. I doubt that I'll find the answer, but I can't lie I still think about this stuff. I just don't want to devote my life to pondering what I believe to be unanswerable questions, I'd rather spend more time living, being with people I care about, not alone speculating. "Why not believe in the one that is based on reason and logic instead of unfounded assumptions. " Well put. What seems to me the most reasonable answer is that there is some energy source that emanates life, even though I don't know what that energy is or how it works, every individual thing owes it's existence to this. It's like a universal sun, and we are like plants. What do you think?

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    Creating in public is a very hard thing to do. This past friday I was painting a friend in class while there were 5+ girls watching every brushstroke I made. I was panicking inside my head nearly the entire 90 minutes. I felt the need to impress all of my watchers, as well as satisfy the model who after seeing some of my work had really high hopes of the painting. Luckily, I fairly succeeded; due mostly to luck but also because I made myself take moments where I sat back and really tried to clear my head for a fresh start on every decision I was about to make. Hope this helps a bit or at least gives you insight to artists with similar problems.

    "A drawing is not necessarily academic because it is thorough, but only because it is dead. Neither is a drawing necessarily academic because it is done in what is called a conventional style, any more than it is good because it is done in an unconventional style. The test is whether it has life and conveys genuine feeling."- Harold Speed
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    Quote Originally Posted by armando View Post
    I think this was a response to me...
    Nope, sorry for the confusion. It was to the original poster and anxiety in general I suppose. From my own experience, sometimes you just have to jump. I believe that if you want something enough you can conquer whatever bullshit or truths doctors apply to people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Idiot Apathy View Post
    Nope, sorry for the confusion. It was to the original poster and anxiety in general I suppose. From my own experience, sometimes you just have to jump. I believe that if you want something enough you can conquer whatever bullshit or truths doctors apply to people.
    I see. Whoops. I think that's a pretty good ideology.

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    End your psychiatrist subscription.

    I got hold of some Richard Bandler CD's a while back, changed my perspective and he just broke it to stay that way.

    Anxiety is not such a big problem but a psychiatrist may glorify it to be their cash cow. They have these little statues in their house somewhere that represent their favourite mental conditions. How about just relaxing instead of making it a behavior or a favorite psychiatrist installation AN IDENTITY. Today people come out on the other side of the hoop with crutches, pills to make their sugar rize, fall, pills to controll their heart rate, pills to help them fart.. We did not need those just a few years ago but somehow we get convinced that we do.

    Problems never goes away by exloring expanding and really working on them, making volumes and volumes, T-shirts, web pages etc, they just sell alot of stuff, just don't go down that road and find a new road to explore, So... how are things these days with you being a laxed bastard? You'd be amazed how good you can get with some practice.

    If you believe something hard enough it is so, same with forcibly pretending. It takes 30 days to break or change a habit or to create a new one.

    I have a friend who is a bonified depressed dude, he's not ashamed of it and talks about it, I tried to work with him but later I figured out he has socondary gains from his identity and he doesn't really want to change even if he say's so.. He's been getting laid with his act far too much to ever want to stop the act.

    Last edited by George Abraham; June 1st, 2009 at 08:43 AM.
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  49. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunchback View Post
    So adding to the long list of medical conditions i have, i have been told i have anxiety by my pschyatrist.
    I guess he needs to retain your custom somehow, eh Here in the UK we generally don't have psychiatrists unless we're actually raving. And even then, not always.

    It's perfectly normal to feel nervous about performing in front of a crowd. Logically, if this bothers you, the solution would be to practice in front of a friend. And then a couple of people. And work your way up. Personally I would also be very nervous about drawing in public, but my solution is that I'll never do it. Problem solved, money saved.

    EDIT: Here's an appropriate excerpt from Dr James Howenstine's article on psychiatry... http://www.newswithviews.com/Howenstine/james58.htm

    When you look below the surface at the specialty of psychiatry what you uncover is so ludicrous it is difficult to believe that it is really true. Prominent psychiatrists from all over the world gather annually for a meeting at which new diseases are invented. There are no objective findings that establish the diagnosis of these diseases. .. Among the new diseases are social anxiety disorder (everyone who is uncomfortable in a social setting has this disease) ...
    So, so true.

    Last edited by Baron Impossible; June 1st, 2009 at 08:51 AM.
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  51. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaorr View Post

    I have a friend who is a bonified depressed dude, he's not ashamed of it and talks about it, I tried to work with him but later I figured out he has socondary gains from his identity and he doesn't really want to change even if he say's so.. He's been getting laid with his act far too much to ever want to stop the act.
    How about people like my boyfriend who weren't depressive/flashpoint angry until after surviving massive head trauma?

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  53. #28
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    Regardless of what some of you think about mental health professions,
    playing internet armchair psychologist is really much worse.

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  54. #29
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    They're not making money off it.

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  55. #30
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    So if you're not making money off it you are more qualified?

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