Managing My Mental Health As A Creative

Where I’ve failed and what I’ve learned

Vivian Nunez


I’ve been creating stories since I was able to write. Over the last twenty-something years, I went from being 7 and putting words down on composition notebooks to twenty-something writing on the Internet. You can find my writing on this blog, on Instagram, in video scripts, or in freelance pieces. You can also find my heart deeply intertwined with every piece of creativity I’ve published.

That’s a hard job for my heart, but also a fulfilling one. My creativity is a heart tug that I have never been able to ignore, whether I was 9 or now 29, and while I’m glad I still haven’t ignored it, it’s been hard.

I’m now aware that following that tug led to many mistakes along the way.

I compromised my own personal well-being for the sake of my creativity (or for the sake of what my creativity wanted to put out into the world). I mistakingly committed to the notion that the work I would put out would do such good or touch so many people that the state I was left in didn’t matter. I was shortsighted in tending to both my creativity and my mental health.

People pleasing is necessary…in moderation

One of the biggest ways I jeopardized my own well-being was by not setting guardrails around the truth, “people pleasing is necessary.” Anyone who creates art and then offers it to an audience for public consumption knows and believes that people pleasing is necessary. You want people to feel good about your work and to want more of it. The tricky part of that truth is that it needs to be in moderation and you need to be the one who moderates it. You can’t go so far into the deep end of people pleasing that you only create what others want to see from you (this is creative abandon), but you also can’t go so far in the other direction that you only create what you want (this is a creative blindspot). Finding the sweet spot in your creative process takes missteps and self-awareness, but it is possible.

Saying no to say yes…only counts if your priorities are straight

Often people will tell you that you have to say “no” to certain opportunities in order to be able to…