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Creativity in the dark

News and comment

It feels as if we’re in a time where the whole world is realising its mortality. This is something that many children, young people and their families experience daily, due to the nature of their life-limiting conditions. Obviously, at the moment, I am very nervous (as is the rest of the world), but can tell you the unease you feel will one day pass. That this unease is actually you grieving aspects of your life that will be changed forever. That’s okay. Allow yourself to feel these things. However, I’m going to share some tips about being creative in the darkest of times – hopefully helping to ease the heaviness that our days now contain.

Firstly, only watch the news once a day. I watch the afternoon briefing, which contains condensed facts, figures and things as the Government sees them in a 20-minute period. The virus is one of few things news agencies can focus on at the moment, and so extend the story for as much of the day as possible. By only watching the briefing you’re getting all the information you need – which is a great way to allow your headspace to open up for other reasons, such as creativity.

If you’re a writer, just start writing. If you’re an artist, just start drawing. I often start writing – not sure where I am going to end up. This release of your stream of consciousness is important at a time like this. We all have things bubbling beneath the surface which could be damaging in the long run. Do this for a few minutes a day, think of it as releasing the valve on a pressure cooker.

If you use your work as a distraction, it’s okay to ignore the whole thing and provide escapism. I have been reaching towards more hopeful content to consume, and am very thankful for this method of feeling a little more normal. The ‘This is Me’ project was the perfect escape from the mad world in which we find ourselves. Delving into the submitted pieces from across the UK took me away from the constant stream of negative and sad news.

Recognise the value (personally, politically and socially) of creating art. Art is it’s own record that no statistics or Government body can measure. Creating something beautiful at a time of darkness will surely help us all shine, even a little brighter, at such a horrendous time. Art is needed for both consumption (Netflix! Blogs! Games! Articles!) and expression right now. It is hugely important to take time for yourself.

These are the things that I, and so many others with life limiting illnesses know, because existential fear isn’t something that goes away for us once this is over.

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