Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Why Creative Courses are Beneficial to those with Mental Illness

Hello lovely people, I hope you are all well! I thought today that I would create a rather chatty yet opinionated post about education, whether it be A-Levels, College or University and how creative courses have been beneficial to myself and many other fellow fighters of mental illness.

In today's society, there is such a wide variety of 'creative' subjects that can be chosen for an individual to participate in within education. I have also found that the higher up you go with your education, there is a much wider range of specific courses available to apply for. I am currently in Sixth Form and the creative courses that my specific college has to offer ranges from Art, Fashion and all the way through to Media, Photography and even Performance Studies. The subject that I found a passion for a few years back was Textiles Design which I took for one of my GCSEs and came out with an overall A grade. I then took this same subject as an AS in my first year of sixth form yet unfortunately this year didn't work out for me and I therefore dropped out and restarted in the following year. By this time, the Textiles Design AS and A2 Levels had changed to a Fashion & Clothing BTEC which I must admit, due to this new course being much more based on art, I was fairly anxious for. I am now in my second year of this course and I cannot explain how much I adore it, even more than I used to.

Due to the illnesses that I am battling on a daily basis, I find it extremely difficult to concentrate and I already knew that I liked Art Therapy as it gave me an opportunity to express myself and divide myself from the constant mess inside of my head. However, when I learnt that our sketchbooks were pretty much up to us to create based on just a few guidelines that we need to follow, I soon learnt that doing this coursework was not a chore at all, it was actually a really good way for me to express my ideas, become an overall more decisive individual and to distract myself from the hard stuff. 

This also applies to hobbies or activities, everybody has their own interests and talents and if there is something that you are passionate about, then please keep doing it as it will end up being so beneficial. I still sometimes find it difficult to motivate myself to do my work and to concentrate but I have managed to teach myself that when I am working in my sketchbook, it is a safe place for me and a place where my other emotions are less likely to get in the way. 

I also feel that these subjects are helpful for individuals with low self-esteem as it really allows you to find out what your true weaknesses and strengths are and a couple of years ago would have been a different story but I am now able to flick through pages of my sketchbook and come across pieces of work that I actually like. This also may take time and is a long process as there are even more pieces of work in my book that I dislike but I never thought the day would come where I actually find a piece of work that I have completed that I am proud of. I also still have issues within this subject, I am still not completely confident on a sewing machine as not only am I a perfectionist, but my head constantly tells me that I can't do a task despite all of my greatest efforts.

Being honest, if you feel that you are stuck with what paths to take with your education then I highly recommend either a subject that you know you enjoy or a creative subject which can allow you to escape the real world and stresses of every day life. Taking this course has really allowed me to come out of my shell. It is also worth mentioning that I never used to be a creative individual at all, I would find it extremely difficult to come up with ideas but with time and practice, I became better. Inspiration can be found in absolutely anything which is what I love about these types of courses. You don't have to be an artist to be good at a creative course, I am by no means an artist at all, I just have a passion for it and I express my ideas in my own, unique style. Of course, these courses aren't for everybody but I wanted to express my opinion on how they can be helpful.

What do you think about this opinion? Have creative courses benefited you in anyway? Feel free to leave any comments or even (constructive) criticism down below, I always ensure that I take the thoughts of you into consideration. I have included some pieces from my fashion sketchbook within this post to give you a rough idea of how expressive and creative you can be.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

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