How I Found a Creative Cure for Loneliness

Filed in Boost Creativity by on January 24, 2018 0 Comments • views: 932

by Cat Crawford

The world of blogging has blown up over the last five years, with more and more people discovering how to use the platform to promote themselves, connect with others, and even start their own businesses.

A large number of millennials now blog about their passions and back when I first took to the keyboard to create my own online space, many of these blogs were based around beauty and fashion. So, I jumped on the bandwagon and started to write about all of the beauty products I loved and loathed.

I soon realized how much I enjoyed sharing my opinions on products and being creative with how I described the various products I reviewed. I loved how satisfied I felt once a post had gone live and people started to respond and interact with it.

Although I had always been a visually creative person, I had always loved writing short stories, too, especially in school. It was something I very nearly pursued into higher education, but my love for creating film and video took over and my writing took a back seat.

Even during university, I found I excelled most in the creative writing modules more than anything else. My achievements in scriptwriting in particular, made me realize once again how much I loved writing and why blogging would be the perfect hobby for me.

I Struggled with the Pressure and My Own Mental Health

Over the course of my 26 years of life, I’ve consistently struggled with anxiety and depression. Starting when I was 14 and in my third year of high school, I struggled with rocky friendships, bullying, and underlying family strains that all culminated in the development of an anxiety disorder.

I had always found it hard to find my place around others my age, having completely different musical tastes, interests, and hobbies. My “friends” would tease me about my interests and dismiss me during group conversations.

As I feared rejection by others, my anxiety grew and soon turned into depression, which made my final year of school particularly difficult to navigate. When I was 16 and in the middle of my GCSE’s, I had my first breakdown, suffering with severe anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia.

After visiting various doctors and undergoing blood tests to see if there were any other medical reasons for the way I felt, I had no clear answers. So I turned to the Internet and self-help sites and blogs for information on how to recover from my illness.

My Creative Cure for Loneliness

Soon, it was time to move on to the next chapter in my life, so I embarked on my first year of University. I settled in and let myself enjoy the full student experience, but it wasn’t long before the depression raised its ugly head again.

I was on a creative course, studying film production, but the course was dry, swapping hands-on experience with monotonous academic study.

In 2012, during the summer of my first year, I found that while others were studying different courses and had a myriad of creative coursework to do during their break, I had nothing. And despite the fact that I had met a lot of people that I would call my friends at university, I was back home, over 100 miles away.

I started to feel extremely lonely.

I didn’t feel like I was close enough to any of my friends to justify me visiting them or calling them, and many of the people I had spent time with before moving away, I had lost touch with.

To inject a bit of creativity into my life and to take my mind off my lack of real world social interactions, I decided to copy the beauty YouTubers I had begun to love during my time off. I already had a decent DSLR camera to allow me to film HD videos.

Once my first video was uploaded, I decided to create a blog to accompany my video content to give my content a narrative rather than just talking to a camera, and to expand my creative outlets.

I also started to talk to other people online who had their own blogs and YouTube channels. This helped me to connect with like-minded people and pulled me out of my loneliness.

How Blogging Became My Lifeline

Many who think of blogging will envision someone sitting in a coffee shop, tapping away on a laptop, writing about themselves (basically what I’m doing right now).

Although blogging is 80% writing, there are many different platforms and mediums to incorporate in these modern times. Blogging has become one of the most creative ways to express yourself.

During my difficult years at University, particularly my final year, I found the academic environment was suffocating my creative senses. All my projects were being criticized and put into specific curriculum boxes. Every passionate essay I wrote was scrutinized and marked as incorrect.

Blogging became my lifeline in a sea of old-fashioned and uninspiring University projects.

On my blog and YouTube channel, I could express myself. I could film and edit my videos as I wanted to. I could write about whatever I wanted to write about. I could experiment without the fear of someone telling me I was wrong.

When my mood was really low, sitting down at my laptop and editing a vlog or working on a blog post was the only way to get out of my head and do something.

I even created a number of videos on mental health and anxiety, as I had noticed that a lot of people at my university had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, but were reluctant to talk about it.

I had always been very open with my own struggles, so I wanted to talk about the subject in a way that made people feel comfortable—to help them realize that it was ok to admit when they were having a hard time.

It was also a relief to talk so openly and publically about my own issues. It helped me process what I was going through, allowing me to express myself verbally and then watch it back from a viewer’s perspective.

To this day, my mental health videos are my most watched YouTube videos and the ones I feel most connected to.

Why I Return to the World of Blogging Time and Time Again

After a while, I grew a little tired of writing about beauty and fashion. Like everyone, my interests shifted and changed and eventually fizzled out. My interest in blogging itself, though, never truly went away.

As I discovered new hobbies and interests, I always took to Blogger or WordPress to create a space where I could talk freely about my passions. In the past few months, for example, I’ve turned towards mental health and fitness to help document my preparation for my Great Wall of China trek, which I’ll be doing in October 2018 to aid the Mental Health Foundation.

I’m still finding new ways to create content to help people find their passions in life, while still sharing my own struggles. There’s something about sitting down, just my laptop and I, and getting lost in writing an article.

Time seems to move quicker the more I envelop myself in this creative bubble and the effect it has had on my mental health is profound. Blogging has become a form of meditation for me and that’s why, no matter where I may be in my life, it will always be a place I can call home.

* * *

Cat Crawford has been blogging for the last 7 years, making it her job after graduating from University.

Now she spends her time creating video content and writing articles to help raise awareness of mental health over on her blog bodywithmind.co.uk.

For more information on Cat and her work, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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