Can I Create in Good Mental Health?

Cait Erin
Cait Erin
Jun 9 · 3 min read

matter is neither created nor destroyed — Antoine Lavoisier in 1785

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

It’s noon, on a Saturday.

I’m just now realizing I haven’t eaten or consumed my daily dose of caffeine. For some people, that may be unremarkable, but my work-week routine involves waking up at six to work or read before I continue on with my day. By ten, at the least, I’ve eaten, caffeinated, and, if we’re lucky, hydrated.

But not today.

No, today I’ve elected to suffer through nausea, headaches, and neck aches from sitting or laying hunched over in my twin sized bed. Technically, with the frame I bought, it’s a daybed — both a sofa and a bed for visiting teenagers and children. And boy, am I proving that today, hunched up in a spine-aching blanket burrito for three or four hours after waking up late.

Like I said, I usually wake up and read or write for a while before beginning my day. Today is no different, even if I did sleep in. However, without the external regulation of a job to go to, I simply continue to do this until my body insists that we must stop.

Honestly, it’s insisting on a nap (at 12:15), but I give it food, water, and tea instead, because I’ve been through this rodeo before. If I sleep now, I’ll just wake up and need the same things later in the afternoon.

Is this worth it, to finish a book or write three measly pages of a text I probably will never use?

And where is that work ethic when I’m fed and watered, like the mopey little plant I am?

For some reason I have yet to understand, I don’t seem to be able to casually create. Perhaps it’s a childhood of too many stories, but creation for me means being a starving artist. A barely functional mess is the best creator, according to my strange, anxious brain. The Van Gogh, the Hemingway, Sylvia Plath — artists are fully, completely committed.

These larger than life figures are difficult to live up to, if I’m being honest. I don’t really want to, but I also find myself struggling to continue in a mentally healthy way. Too often, my brain wants to do all or nothing. Either I’m distracted by life’s many joys, or I’m writing my way out of a funk. I don’t write as often as I should, so when I do, I don’t want to cut my enthusiasm short. I have no routine to write, no regulation on myself.

I’m not sure how to develop one either. Mostly, I just take the good days as they come. But it feels like I have to be isolated from life’s distractions and joys for hours before that creative feeling will come. But without it, I feel as though I am not myself.

I know I write a lot of articles like this, searching for balance, diligence, and self-understanding. I’m sure I’ll write far too many more.

But I know there’s a creative inside of me. One who can do her work, and care for herself.

I just have to find something she thrives on as much as desperation first.

Cait Erin

Written by

Cait Erin

Also known as FrayingPages. Strong advocate for a good life crisis and a bold cup of coffee. Weekly uploads on Sunday, and random pieces when I feel like it.