It’s no surprise that as a creative, your mental wellness is bound to go through the ringer. Not only does the process of creating something meaningful tie so deeply into one’s vision and sense of self, but profitability or success in this overly competitive industry essentially relies on the external feedback (dare we say, criticism) of clients or the public. there's moments of creative block, a constant balance act of creating for yourself vs. creating for others, and periods of self-CRITICISM that stems from a deep passion for one's work.
In order to dive deeper into the mindset of a creative, for our third edition of #BehindTheFeed we interview D’ana Nunez of @itscovl. In the interview, she discusses the struggle behind allowing herself to feel personal accomplishment, her journey with PTSD and anxiety, and how she quiets her mind in the midst of it all.
Tell us a little about yourself:
Formally, I’m a digital artist and content curator – but at the core, I create stuff for a living.
I got into this field because I’ve always had an itch for storytelling. Whether it was fashion show production, graphic design, video editing, photography -- I inherently placed myself in opportunities that allowed me to tell a story.
There’s always been this urge in me to execute my ideas into the real world, but while working in retail I realized I needed to pursue my storytelling and creativity further. I just knew I had a bigger calling.
Also, I couldn’t stand the corporate-esq structure. Although I understand we all need it to a certain extent to live -- I thought, ‘if I could pave a path that allowed me to create while maintaining a sense of structure myself, then why not do it?’.
The funny thing about struggle is even when you reach that goal and overcome it in all instances, there’s always that next step you want to be at. So, in a way, it feels like it never fully goes away. For me the constant battle is focusing on my mental wellness and ensuring that I’m overpowering the negative with positive.
Through this, I’ve started to understand that the main motivation behind my work is myself.
I am my life’s work -- So I need to love myself throughout the process or I won’t be able to truly prosper.
"Even with my current track of accomplishments, I constantly am looking for more. I think that’s what’s bittersweet about being a creative – that no matter what I accomplish, I’ll always look at it and say, 'Oh, that’s cute. So, what now?'".
Tell us the most honest thing about your journey thus far – past or current.
My upbringing caused me to be diagnosed with PTSD at 12 years old. Luckily, therapy gave me relief because I was able to pin-point the root of the problem. It also helped explain a lot about who I was then, which in turn -- helps me understand who I am now.
A big part of both my past and present self is actively working on ways to not only cope, but to overcome my anxiety and PTSD without medication.
Even with my current track of accomplishments, I constantly am looking for more. I think that’s what’s bittersweet about being a creative – that no matter what I accomplish, I’ll always look at it and say, “Oh, that’s cute. So, what now?”. This is where celebrating the good moments is very important. It’s still something I have to constantly remind myself to do -- whenever I accomplish something, I catch myself immediately looking towards the next step. But I’ve gotten better at taking a moment to bask in the achievement. I’ve refused to deny myself the hard work.
From all of this, I’ve learned that even though it’s difficult at time, overcoming anxiety and PTSD is not impossible.
"When you combat a negative thought with a positive one -- magic happens. So find what works for you, find what maximizes your craft and potential, and run with it."
How do you focus on your mindset throughout the day-to-day?
Quieting my mind has always been my battle, ever since being a kid. Now that I’m older, I’m consistently working to combat those negative thoughts with positive ones as a way to educate myself and become better at what I do.
I try to use this tactic in multiple areas in my life -- like my surroundings. In order to foster and focus on my creativity my environment either consist of complete silence or likeminded individuals who can teach me something and vice versa. This is what feeds me the knowledge I then am able to finesse back into my craft.
I’ve also learned to not ask myself too many questions during my creative process because it has the potential to allow doubt or hesitation to obstruct the work. So usually I keep my mind quiet by coloring, it helps simmer down those thoughts.
Yet there are times I can’t control it. At that point, I power through and accept that the end result of my work can be something I love or something that I need to discard and try again.
And, I exercise …which is a game changer.
Any advice for your followers who aspire to do what you do?
Don’t do what I do. Do what you want to do. People have this idea that in order to succeed they need to follow those before them.
Unsubscribe from all of those negative thoughts. When it comes to work and life, our minds love to play in the puddles of negativity because it’s so easy and it’s the most familiar thing we know.
My way of living and creating is so unconventional, but it’s tailored for me and for me only.
When you combat a negative thought with a positive one -- magic happens. So find what works for you, find what maximizes your craft and potential, and run with it.
What’s one thing you hope never changes?
I have 2: My hustle and my child-like creativity because those are the two pillars of what’s kept me here for so long.