June 2, 2022 | Blog
Why Does Creativity Matter? | May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Aren’t we all creative at something? Far be it from a group to be calling themselves ‘creatives’ because they feel that it is more important to them. Rather creativity simply is someone, or something, wanting to be heard. Beneath the layers of the diverse landscape of various humans, there will always be a rocking noise, using of spoons for rhythm, or quoting your favorite Television Show.
I think that creative outlets matter a lot. They keep us focused, when we are bored, allow us to understand the world better, develop skills we never knew, and hobbies we never thought of, and may even help us in career and educational planning. I’ve learned of the revelatory nature that creativity has played in our Reach & Teach Through the Arts Programs through Dance, Music Therapy, Musical Theater, and our Interability Chorus on individuals who are able to express themselves in unique and individualistic ways. But I also look at creative outlets as a means of survival, a means of adaptation and a means of expression if we need the tools to do so. I would recommend for individuals with autism and co-morbidities that lean into mental health challenges consider their inner creative being – no matter what it is about. Take me, for example:
When I was growing up, I may have seemed to have it all together in a way strangely copacetic but the things that bothered me were things I couldn’t explain or describe through oral communication. ‘Why did I feel lost? Who were my long-term friends? Why couldn’t I move on like my peers? Why do I feel so honest in explaining things I didn’t like or bugged me?’. I also had to get a hobby because I didn’t have one and needed one for greater mobility. At the time I was into music and my brain was really into writing, so naturally, when I needed to deal with the worst throes of my mental dystopia, I finally found salvation.
I think that what may be an unanswered mental health crisis is the lack of a creative outlet. How many people out there feel socially isolated or depressed but haven’t found a way to use an outlet to their advantage, perhaps to find a better way through such a challenging world that we live in? How many feel embarrassed by it due to the stigma or societal pressures of conforming to expectations. I would like to ask our reading audience, especially those with autism, how a few more seconds of self-stimulatory behavior, which can be a creative force, in my opinion, can help one’s life? When I was younger, I would sing to myself, in high school, whether it was appropriate or not – I would even sing while a teacher taught – which was probably the closest thing to auditory self-stimulatory behavior for me because it allowed me the ability to still myself, to concentrate and focus and to self-manage and regulate my behavior while still getting great grades. I do remember it annoying some people, though and I’ve stopped doing it.
Having a creative core is helpful but it is one part of a puzzle. My domain, www.MerrickEgber.com, hasn’t given me a living but it has served as a beacon. My practice of thinking creatively has allowed me to do well with the Foundation in my many roles. It is really up to others to use this inspiration or spirit to see how they can use it professionally or even create new paths.
Since this has been such a personal article, I would like to welcome feedback through Merrick.Egber@elsforautism.org