One’s true passion is often revealed throughout experiences. Art has been known, for generation, to help and rescue mental health. It allows us to express the inexpressible. It’s a constant confession. It authorises us to focus on what’s beautiful within us. It’s therapy.
Since I discovered that I live with Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD), it all made perfect sense. Without ever introducing one to another, my art was always in sync with MD. Music and musicians were in every story.
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- See more: 'Maladaptive Daydreaming: the underrepresented condition'
When I discovered that MD has a symptom called musical stimulation, it all felt strange. Sure, my daydreams are stimulated by music, but most importantly, my fantasies are always about music. I would imagine myself being around musicians or talking about it. I still do.
I tried films, photography, comic books, and novellas. The characters I used to create were highly addictive. I lost myself in some of them a few times already. They were based on this idealised self I’d imagine myself be. Instead of preparing the physical work, I’d just get lost in this near-future where everything was already done, published, at times, successful. My realistic self was left aside, left to obey others. So were my genuine passions.
Creativity can be a medium to express the inexpressible
I don’t have a single degree; I wasn't born with a passion for drawing or writing. But, I was born with a passion for music; I’ve always loved to research and study musicians. I used to find it useless when really, I could simply write about what I know. Passion is hard to find, but it usually leaves a trace, somewhere, anywhere, hidden in conversations with others, or behind thousands of thoughts. So, I have decided to pursue this passion for music - I’ve got nothing to lose.
A few months ago, a depression who started two years prior reached its ending. I started therapy, and motivation came back. I wanted to get rid of old baggage and bad habits. The right questions were being asked: What do you want? What do you love?
My idea of success, as we know it, changed. From an early age, I believed that success was material. I have gained many skills. Now, I have to find a way to use them. Changing my idea of success offered release to my mental illness.
Other people’s expectations have ruled my entire being for so long that my daydreaming is close to exhaustion. Realising that I could write music, which is very recent, taught me that I wouldn’t know all this without MD. I wouldn’t be this creative. I wouldn’t have discovered my passion.
I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m getting there. However, the fact that I’m not there doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the journey. I’m looking at the scenery outside the window, in a way. Until very recently, I felt shame and guilt.
For two years, I have allowed my mind to take over my life. I lost all the things that secured my life correctly. The art I was making was a reflection of all this. Today, the words I write are also a reflection of these experiences. While I reflect, I see things from another perspective. I realise my luck. My experiences and my mistakes belong to me. I’m the one who struggled, and I’m the only one who can turn my life around.
Art is self-expression. For a long time, I didn’t even realise that I was talking about myself in my projects. When I got lost, I would often look back, on the art I used to create. We express what’s inside. The help it provides is in beauty. Every artist approaches their own idea of beauty. I was giving my experiences to the characters I was creating.
I’d then allow myself to find some answers. Before then, the term mental health didn’t make much sense. With all this, it suddenly did - that’s what art does to you.
Without this art, I wouldn’t know what I can do with my life. As artists, we’re fortunate; it's only a matter of thought pattern. What is dear and costly, is our mental wellbeing and health in general, which is my priority today.