World Mental Health Day.

Some thoughts from a Designer.

I’ve found myself re-tweeting and quoting a lot of things I identify with this morning which made me think perhaps I should contribute myself.

This time last year myself and a colleague put on an exhibition to raise money and awareness for Manchester Mind. This is pretty much as far out of my comfort zone I’ve ever been, meeting new people you’re desperate to impress and having people who’ve spent their hard earned cash on something you’re responsible for is a nightmare for anyone who suffers from any sort of social anxiety.

I couldn’t be more proud of what we achieved, we raised double the amount we expected to and people from as near as Manchester and far as New York came together to contribute artwork and talk on our opening night. Yet still the mind is prone to picking out negatives, “Did this person like me?”, “Did that joke I made come across as rude?” While I think putting yourself out there and confronting your anxieties can be the greatest antidote when it goes well, theres always those little niggles you have to contest and battle against.

There can be few professions where you have to ‘put yourself out there’ as often as that of a designer. Everything you do is designed to be seen by or responded to by someone. For those with fragile self confidence, you’re always there to be shot at and the internet is a very unforgiving place. Chatting to some fellow designers last week we concluded that you don’t meet many of us who aren’t self depricating in their nature. Probably the best self defense mechanism we have for putting everything we work on out for the public to critique.

There’s no conclusion to this article or grand solution but I thought I could offer some of my own coping methods.

  • You can only do your best, be proud of something you’ve put effort into.
  • Don’t judge yourself by other people’s standards, there’s always someone better than you, enjoy the process of getting better and each piece of work being a reflection of your improvement.
  • People are nice, if you put yourself out there in public the majority of people will think you’re great for doing just that, rather than pick up on the things you’re beating yourself up about.
  • Play sport. No matter how much you can’t be bothered, or how down you feel, do it, you’ll feel better afterwards. Give your brain a rest.
  • Think how far you’ve come. Remember that project you did at uni?…
  • Talk. People are going through the same thing as you are, talk to someone, you’d be surprised how much even the most confident / talented person on the outside, shares with yourself.