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Ste IllustratesFreelance Illustrator

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I had an idea the other day about how it would be really helpful if creative collectives had an arm of their services that were dedicated to helping with mental health. I thought most creatives suffer with anxiety and depression more than other areas and a good deal of creatives are autistic or have some form of aspergers. I’d argue a good deal suffer with all of the above plus some other forms of mental health yet to my knowledge help with these issues are only available from doctors, therapists and the self help aisle.

My argument is that surely there has to be some relevant help for creatives. My stresses can range from self-doubt, lack of self-worth and self-hatred and it pretty much all applies to my work and how well I’m doing with getting work in and the type of work. Work, work, work. Yet accessing therapy from the usual sources means you’re going into a very general field where anxieties are coming from all directions. This to me makes me think it takes longer to get to the crux of the matter. I remember my therapy it was 16 weeks and by week 15 I finally felt like I was starting to open up yet I hadn’t talked that much about work and how that stressed me.

So I know there’s the AOI for illustrators but I don’t know of any collectives for designers, musicians, photographers, dancing or any other types of creative endeavours so when I thought about it, whilst I recognise the services provided – I questioned whether they were the right services. Certainly the manpower, logisitics and know-how to offer any kind of mental health service is beyond my comprenhension right now. Is that due to not having the right people or the right amount of people, the money (most likely) or just not giving it the attention it deserves.

The human brain is an amazing thing, it can do things not many other animals on the planet can do, it can reason, it can imagine, it also knows that its there. It’s truly amazing we get to decide and choose things that most animals wouldn’t even be able to think for themselves to do. The problem with that function is the side-effects – if you take everything down the middle and we do what were supposed to do then all the functions of the brain help us great with that. But then we think over those functions, was that right? Hmm that didn’t work out? Why did that happen? Did I do something wrong? And then a load of other things happen and you’ve got the lovely makings of anxiety. Whilst this is incredibly simplisitic and probably just about right the point I’m making is – it’s part of us because we need fear and anxiety to best help us with certain situations, just some of us apply it to things we don’t need to (like every fucking thing in my case)

If fear, anxiety, stress are part of us it’s something that needs to be taken care of so they don’t overule us. How much do you spend on the gym? You may even use it! We bath, we clean, we look after our teeth, but our brain, the part of us that makes us, us – ain’t so well cared for.

We put on it a lot and don’t take the time to look after it properly, through any number of reasons. Prevention is better than the cure and it would be ace if we addressed this properly and at the age to best prepare but we don’t (for now) so when we’re older we need help fixing it, and any help would be good and surely recognising that fact would make a creative organisation that offers that help a very attractive proposition

Join The Illustrators Association of (I’ll work on that name) we help you find work, how to get an agent, help with contracts and if you’re struggling with any doubts or anxieties we’ll try point you in the right direction. Oh, also whilst it would be great if this was free I do realise it’s not 2365 and we’re not members of the UFP so I see no reason why this can’t be part of a membership package but you would at least know you’re getting some good help for your money.

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