Creativity and Chronic Pain

photo of author

This photo of me was taken in 2014 and it pretty much sums up how I felt about my life as a video editor working in reality TV: frustrated, creatively and otherwise. 😅

I’ve worked in creative fields for most of my life (architecture, journalism and then TV) but funny enough, it wasn’t until I discovered mind-body healing — and became a therapist and chronic pain recovery coach — that I felt like my creativity energy finally became accessible to me.

I’ll explain.

Chronic pain and creative block, procrastination and imposter syndrome all have something in common: they are all stress responses.

And those of us who are creative or passionate about what we do can be especially prone to chronic stress symptoms. Why? Because when you care sooo much about what you create, the stakes can feel really high… and that can be pretty stressful. And with sustained stress comes sustained stress responses — like chronic symptoms and blocked creative energy.

It’s no coincidence that I got my first migraine attack on the first day of my first job as a video editor on a TV show. I’d worked so hard to get to that point and I cared so much about being validated as a legit creative professional. The stakes were sky high — and so was my stress level.

Over the ten plus years that I worked in TV, my perfectionism drove me to succeed in a competitive and pretty brutal industry.

But this fear-based coping mechanism also perpetuated a cycle of chronic stress that amplified symptoms like migraine attacks while at the same time draining my creative energy.

And here’s what I didn’t understand at the time. Back then, I thought that if I wanted to do my own creative work on the side, I just had to push myself hard enough to get it done. And I was frustrated that when I pushed too hard, I’d get a migraine attack.

What I know now is that pushing harder does not foster creativity or healing. Because both creativity and healing are like flowers. They bloom innately in an environment of safety, love and encouragement. They can’t be pushed or forced to bloom. In fact, the stress of pushing and forcing can prevent them from blooming.

This is why, in my opinion, the absolute key to healing from chronic symptoms is learning how to be your own best friend and supporter. It’s the number one thing that I work on with clients. And my favorite part of doing this work is watching clients reclaim their creative energy in the process of healing.

I’ve watched clients launch an art business, publish a book, change careers and find a calling. And I’ve experienced this side effect of healing myself, going from an occasional dabbler to a daily writer.

Symptoms are what call us to do the work of healing. What if your symptoms are your creativity’s way of saying, “Please stop pressuring me; be kind and nurture me so I can bloom!”

➡️ If you need support with chronic pain and anxiety, take my FREE QUIZ called “Why the *bleep* am I still in pain?!” so I can help you get some clarity.

And follow me on instagram for healing tips, inspiration and encouragement.

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