Has Anxiety Been Interfering With Your Artistic Or Personal Life?
by Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Psy.D., LMFT
Is anxiety not allowing you to navigate the complex world of arts and entertainment? Do you find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships, both personal and professional, because of chronic anxiety? Have anxious thoughts been blocking your ability to create or perform? Perhaps you are easily agitated and prone to feeling anxious or having panic attacks—particularly before a performance, audition, or an art gallery show. Or maybe you are becoming too anxious when you attempt to create, not being able to make your art.
Often, you may experience more than just the ordinary jitters or butterflies. Maybe you feel so nervous that you’re not able to function. You may also have shaky hands, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dry mouth, shaky voice. You find yourself unable to function onstage, or show who you really are as an artist. Perhaps these symptoms used to only affect your performance, but are now affecting you in your off-stage life as well. Or perhaps your anxiety is not allowing you to express your creativity in order to write, paint, dance, etc.
Sometimes, anxiety can be turned into creative energy to create or perform, but other times, it can become paralyzing. As a result, you may feel out of touch with your creativity skills, and talents. Your connection with the audience may feel fake as you struggle to complete a performance or create your art.
Maybe being an artist used to be a source of excitement and joy for you, but now it’s starting to make you feel stuck and overwhelmed. You may be so over-preoccupied with upcoming creative opportunities or auditions that you second-guess your talent and over-think how you did long after it’s over. This over-thinking is even making you dread participating in upcoming events, causing you to lose out on opportunities to build your career.
Are you tired of avoiding opportunities and interactions with people that could advance your career as a result of your anxiety? Do you want to address your anxiety to become the performer or creative that you want?
Degrees Of Anxiety Are Normal For Artists, Creatives, And Performers
It’s natural for creatives and performers to have competitive personalities, seek approval, and have a low tolerance for making mistakes. Many artists are also naturally sensitive or shy and have difficulties interacting with people off-stage or away from their art. The pressure of being a creative or performer in a competitive, artistic world can be difficult. But when normal anxiousness starts affecting your ability to practice, create, and perform well, or manage your personal relationships, it may be a sign that the problem is too big for you to handle on your own.
For some creatives or and performers, anxiety may be triggered by stressful life events, loss, negative performances, and big auditions, but the root cause behind the problem is often childhood trauma or a history of abuse. Not confronting the source of your anxiety can result in creative blocks, performance anxiety, and heightened challenging emotions, making it difficult for you to succeed.
You may have been coping on your own for a while, but perhaps the methods you’ve been using have acted only as a Band-Aid over the real issue, without tackling the root causes. This can result in an ongoing cycle of frustration—you end up stuck in place, never able to move forward. Performers or artists with anxiety need more than just coping mechanisms to thrive. You need to heal and live with the emotional freedom to create your art and experience the joy of being alive.
Fortunately, there is a specialized form of counseling available for unique performers and creatives like you. With a licensed anxiety therapist, you can learn how to successfully face your anxiety and heal from your traumatic past so it doesn’t control or hinder your creative work. Therapy can help you with your anxiety so it doesn’t end up controlling you or wrecking your artistic career. You have it within yourself to be happy and successful in your personal and professional life.
Anxiety Therapy Can Help You Live With Emotional Freedom To Create Or Perform Your Best
I developed a therapy model specifically for creatives and performers like you. My practice is devoted to helping artists and performers with anxiety work through the issues that are stunting personal and creative growth, hindering good performance, and threatening their ability to do well at auditions or other creative events.
Therapy will enable you to start a journey of discovering more about who you are as an artist, undo unhealthy or destructive coping mechanisms, and help you function in a more authentic way. You can have better responses to past trauma as a result of inner growth and channeling difficult feelings into your performance. I can help you develop a healthier relationship with your art and performance as an extension of who you are, not as a way to mask trauma and unpleasant emotions.
To get to the root of your trauma, some of the strategies I use include EMDR therapy techniques (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and a psychoanalytic approaches combined with the neuroscience of psychotherapy and relationships. Using these approaches, I will help you work through painful memories and patterns that fuel anxiety and keep you stuck, so you can move forward. By bringing unhealthy or painful memories into awareness, you can face them head-on, overcome them, and heal. These memories don’t have to control you. You can live with emotional freedom. I have worked with several artists and performers who have found great professional and personal success after confronting their anxieties with an anxiety therapist.
You work hard to hone your craft and touch audiences with your talent. The same way that practice makes perfect on the stage or in your art, therapy for performers and creatives can also help you hone emotional skills to use when anxious thoughts start creeping in so you don’t have to fall victim to them. With practice, you find happiness and fulfillment, in your creative life, on the stage, and in private life.
You May Have Some Concerns About Anxiety Therapy…
I’m afraid of stifling my creativity or performance.
Therapy targets suppressed memories that are at the root of your anxiety symptoms. Doing so can unleash even more creative potential and greater ability to be in touch with your talents, abilities, and your performance. Therapy can also help you access different parts of your brain from which to draw creativity. You will end up feeling happier and more at ease with yourself, your creativity, and your performances.
Isn’t therapy expensive?
Therapy can be an investment—but think of it as an investment in both your personal and professional future. You can stop repeating self-defeating cycles and heal emotional pain. Reducing your anxiety and learning better coping mechanisms will lead to a happier, healthier inner life, which can only help your creativity or performance on set.
I’m very busy, I don’t have time for therapy.
Your mental health is too important and too vital to your professional success to put on hold. Once you target the anxiety that holds you back, you will be a better performer, remove creative blocks, and achieve new career opportunities. Consider making time for therapy the same way you make time for developing your talents.
Schedule Your Appointment For Anxiety Therapy
If you are ready to begin the road to recovery and become a better performer, I offer a free 15-minute consult by phone. You can reach me at 310-424-0292, or through the contact page.
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