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Boredom, Creativity, & OCD

I hate being bored. Its miserable! My biggest fear, even! Agonizing minutes that seem to take hours to pass are just not a pleasant way to spend my time. Boredom also co-exists marvelously with my over-active, highly obsessive, and slightly compulsive brain. So that when bored, I tend to spiral:

Oh look there’s a tree. Tree’s are so weird. Plants freak me out. Remember that episode of Grey’s Anatomy where that guy like became a plant? What if that ever happens to me? What if I become a plant! That would probably be the worst thing to ever happen to me. I would never be successful. I’ll never have any friends. I’ll be so hideous. Who would ever want to date a plant? Oh my gosh! What about those weird people on TV who fall in love with inanimate objects! WHAT IF I FELL IN LOVE WITH A PLANT? PEOPLE MARRY PLANTS SOMETIMES. WHAT IF THAT EVER HAPPENS TO ME?! OH MY GOD AM I ATTRACTED TO THAT TREE?!?! AHHH! OKAY IF I BLINK 3 TIMES REALLY REALLY FAST I WONT FALL IN LOVE WITH A PLANT (blink, blink, blink) *Breathe* And repeat.

So because of this predisposition, I tend to avoid boredom at all costs. If I have a short walk to the grocery store–I’m listening to a podcast. If I’m running at the gym, I’m watching Game of Thrones! On the T: book. Waiting for the bus: Instagram.

However, I’ve been told by many admired professors that boredom leads to creativity. “RELISH IN YOUR BOREDOM” THEY SAY!

And so I do!
And they’re right.

It does.

It’s only in the moments when my phone has died while waiting in line, or I forgot my book, or my headphones, or I’m just so sick of entertaining myself and keeping my brain in check and I just need a second to THINK, that I come up with a killer idea for a play! Or what the heck my objective is in that scene I’m doing for directing. And suddenly–I’m an artistic genius! I can do anything! I just have to conquer my biggest fear: boredom. Which…is harder than it looks.

But its what I have to do. Unplug, breathe, accept my spirals, and then become the next Shakespeare.

Mental Health and Art is a hard combination. But also very common. And not something to be romanticized or trivialized.

You know the old adage, “the suffering artist.” Well, it has some truth to it. Art-making is hard and sometimes sad. Sometimes its anxiety-inducing, but most of all–its fun.
I can’t be the only theatre student who’s therapist has asked, “If it makes you feel so bad, why do you continue to do it?” Right? RIGHT?

And the answer is: I DONT KNOW. Because its fun? Maybe a part of me likes suffering? Maybe I wish it didn’t have to be HARD but maybe I know that if it wasn’t than it wouldn’t cost me anything. And that isn’t to say that all art has to be generated through suffering. Seriously. No. It doesn’t. That’s dumb. I’m just saying that for me, being creative works a part of my brain that I’m afraid of.

So be creative, face fears, and have fun.

Easy, right?

p.s.:

It is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) awareness week, so I thought I’d sneak this in:

-OCD affects 1 in 100 adults, and 1 in 2oo children. Oftentimes symptoms start during childhood.

-It is often trivialized by the general population. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “Oh. Can you straighten that out? I’m so OCD about stuff like that” or  “Her apartment’s so clean she must have OCD.”

OCD is not just an affinity for cleanliness or order. It stems from debilitating obsessive, and often disturbing thoughts that cause a person to perform rituals, or repeatable tasks to ward them off. However, it often intensifies them.

Just something to keep in mind.

For more information:

International OCD Foundation
(This is also where my statistics are from^)

Or for some interesting reading:

Imp of the Mind by Lee Baer

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About mollygrev

A clumsy actor/writer/student who loves Harry Potter and bread. Allergic to penicillin.

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