The Feels Club presents: Brainwaves & The Big Sad...
A mental health conversation project that speaks with musicians, artists, writers, entrepreneurs & multipotentialites alike - to talk openly about their creative process & mental health.
This is what singer/songwriter Josh Pyke had to say...
"To be a successful musician today involves a lot more than just creating tunes.
Since I started professionally back in 2005, I’ve been involved in creating film clips, writing articles and essays for various publications, creating marketing strategies and countless hours of social media content. I’ve come up with concept tours, collaborated with artists from many disciplines, been involved in advisory committees, am a board member for PPCA, and run and fund a grant program for emerging artists.
I love the creative freedom and expression in all of those aspects of my career, but it comes with a price. Spending that amount of time in one’s own head, dragging ideas that you love out into the world and trying to make them real, and THEN having to figure out if they can be monetised in a way that allows you to keep doing it all, can be a total head fuck. You’re also constantly balancing your desire to create and to actualise these things, with the fact that by putting them into the world, you will be judged and critiqued by people you’ve never met, people who may not understand what’s gone into making the art in the first place.
All of those things have led to some reasonably bad anxiety issues with me. I’ve suffered from panic attacks for quite a few years, but the last 3 years has seen the issue become more broad, and subsequently harder to manage. In my creative life, the ability to follow an idea down the rabbit hole and let my mind dredge up every image, every scenario, and engage with every emotion those things illicit is a real advantage. Some people call that flow.
I describe it as the “madness"... a state where I am completely locked into the creative work I’m doing and it all seems effortless and emotionally manic and beautiful. But when you apply the same way of thinking to everyday conflicts in your non-creative life, it’s not an effective or positive coping method. When that stress and anxiety actually manifests itself into a full on panic response, it definitely curbs creativity. You can’t really do anything in that state, let alone sit down and write a song. It can take weeks to get back to feeling that my mind is stable enough to engage in that rabbit hole thinking again. It’s difficult because I know that the only thing that truly satisfies me is “the madness” of creative thinking, and creative pursuits. But I also know that if I allow myself to disappear into that state of mind for long periods, then it’s quite hard to function in the way I’d like to in my normal life.
For me it’s a process of trying to find balance and actively training my brain to deal with day to day stress in a different way to how I engage with creative thinking... It’s a work in progress.
One thing I found was that talking about anxiety issues openly with other people, but particularly with other artists, made the whole thing feel less isolating, and let me take it a bit less seriously, whilst still accepting that it’s a serious issue. Everything felt less loaded when I was open about it, and it seemed that most people had had some experience with anxiety or depression which made it feel easier to deal with."