March 20, 2012

Creative Breakdown

So, I have this Business & Marketing class right now. It's giving me a whole lot of helpful information that excites and overwhelms me at the same time.

But in the last two weeks I've been assigned a lot... a lot, a lot.

I've had to come up with my own freelance design business name, the logo, the business card, letterhead, envelope, promotional post card, and memorabilia piece to leave behind at client meetings. I also have to bid my first job complete with an estimate worksheet and cover letter. That's on top of my web design project creating a fully functioning Lord of the Rings website by Monday. Oh, and the day job, plus blogging, while having the flu.

Dear Kristen, 
We are about to meet very soon. 
Your Nervous Breakdown

My school is a little different than most colleges since it's career training; it's very fast paced and requires your full attention. Sometimes it's a lot like drinking from a fire hose... too much too fast and I barely have time to gasp for air.

I'm having one of those moments... especially because this flu has set me so far behind on what I needed to accomplish over the weekend. It feels like everything is building up this intense pressure inside of me demanding me to produce something amazing right away.

Sometimes when I design I'm too much in my head. The deadlines are chanting at me telling me I can't do it and the worry of critique and judgement float around laughing at me.

This is when I begin to doubt myself...
doubt that I'm good enough,
that I'm not right for this industry,
that I'm completely in over my head.
I shut down.
I can't even look at a computer screen.
I hit a wall and have to figure out a way around it.

I take a break and breathe deep, allowing my intuition take the wheel. Sometimes the hard part is trusting that it knows how to drive, but when I do, that is when I'm finally able to let go. And when something beautiful emerges out of this crazy process... that's when I know it was worth it.

I hope I'm not the only one with self doubt... how do you push through it?


  1. Some typical pinterest wisdom; If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough.

    My program is very similar in that it's a fast-paced career training program. It's stress like I've never known before. But the stress is made to weed out the weak. Sometimes just finishing an assignment puts you several steps above others. Push it until it exhausts you, until you're crying that you can't do it anymore yet you're still clicking away with your mouse.

    I'm in the midst of finals and also just getting over the flu. If it's any comfort, there's someone else out there that knows exactly what you're going through. Keep going, you know you're capable :)

  2. Ugh. Trying to do work when you're sick is so, so draining. You have my total sympathy!

    When I'm full of doubt I do a couple things. First, I've been keeping a list of all the things I'm proud of, and I make myself add to the bottom of it each time so I have to scroll through it all.

    Second, I work on something I really love. The best cure for self doubt is often passion!

    Feel better soon! *Hugs.* You'll get through this. I have faith in you.

  3. Girl, I think your quote at the end is SPOT.ON. My old Director of Sales said something similar to me. He said that the really good reps are always asking for advice, feedback, and wondering what they could be doing better. The really average reps think they are doing great already.

    It's okay to aim to high. But it's also okay to accept yourself and your work and be proud of it.

    Good luck & feel better :)

  4. Oh no. I have definitely had a breakdown or twelve. I know they can make your mind go haywire. But don't lose faith in the talent and skills God gave you! Feel better my friend! Prayers to you today! Xoxoxo

  5. Oh don't get discouraged! I think it's healthy somewhat to feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. It puts a little fire under my bum and I've found that my best work is usually done under pressure. I think you just have to keep believing in yourself no matter what you've got in front of you. Don't fill your time with thinking that you can't do something or it won't work out.

    Try to be as positive as you can, all of the time.

    That is hard to do when you are sick on top of having a full workload though, hope you get to feeling better soon!


  6. hang in there! you can do it!

    It sucks that you're sick on top of it, but you can do it!

    It helps to make yourself calm down--don't try and do things in a panic. Calm down, pretend you have more time than you do, and just sit down and work. You'll make fewer mistakes and think more clearly if you keep yourself from feeling rushed, and in the end get more accomplished in less time.

  7. It can be so hard to keep plugging along, but it's always worth it. You come out stronger.

  8. Kristen, I heart you a whole, whole lot!

    Now. About this here nervous breakdown. You know, if she's going to taunt you with a letter like that (I mean, seriously -- who does that?), then I think you should just give her a good smack of "in yo'face / look at my awesome work," don't you think? I mean, come on. You're awesome. You're talented. You write and design some seriously wonderful stuff! Keep on keepin' on, dear, because YOU CAN DO IT!

    Get well soon, babe!

  9. I am very glad that I'm not the only one with self-doubt! Good luck!

  10. To be creative you have to be sensitive. If you are sensitive you are prone to self doubt. This is totally normal and acceptable... Deep breath and just do yor best!

  11. You are definitely not alone! It sounds like you have a lot to do, but that doesn't mean you can't do it all. I like to make a short list when I'm panicking, of things that I KNOW I can get done. That way, when i check them all off, there's a sense of accomplishment. You can see the work you've done.

    This is a little bit personal, but I've had pretty bad anxiety for most of my life, and I only just recently (within the last year) started taking it seriously and getting treated for it. My counselor was the one who suggested slowing down, making manageable to-do lists, and focusing on one thing at a time. Are you a worryer? It can be so hard to turn your brain off and just get the work done when your head is going in a million different directions!

    I'm sorry I can't offer much more help, but know that you're not alone and you definitely CAN do it! I really admire your hard work. I've been reading your blog for a little while now, but this is my first post.

    If you'd like, you can find me at There are at least a couple of posts where I mention anxiety, self doubt, and issues surrounding those topics. :)

  12. I sure hope you get to feelin' better! I always have the hardest time at school when I'm sick.

    I can understand and definitely relate to the creative doubts..I don't do design, but I get this a lot when I'm crafting or decorating. Sometimes I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I doubt every detail, but I just have to remind myself that as long as I try my best that's all that really counts! As long as you put your best effort in, that's all anyone can ever ask of you!

  13. I tend to feel this way every time mid-terms and final projects are due. It's like, WAY too much expected of me in way too little of a time and I end up feeling like I can't do anything right. It helps when my fellow students look at my work and say, "Wow! How'd you do that? That's really cool!!" Lol.

    This last week for all my final projects I ended up just allowing myself to ignore everything except one project at a time. I completely finished one class up, then next day did the next class, etc. Today's the last day and I am finishing up my last project and exam. Anyway it ended up helping w/ the panic feeling to just focus on one thing at a time.

  14. Oh no way girl are you alone or the only one! I wrote a poem called YOU ARE ENOUGH for this very reason and look at all that is on your plate, WOW, it's no wonder!
    Hang in there, this too shall pass and teach you along the way. I really hope and pray you don't have a nervous breakdown! how can you do all this and work FT?!

    Miss you!


    It may or may not help in a tiny way, but here is that poem!

  16. Just keep breathing and this too shall pass!

  17. What a fun blog you have!!

  18. where do you go to school?

  19. That sounds exactly like me right now. Between work, freelance stuff, the kids and the house I sometimes feel so overwhelmed that I just shut down and stop doing anything. I can't quite seem to shake it tonight so I am just going to bed and I'll just deal with it all tomorrow.

  20. kathy st.oursMarch 22, 2012

    That is a plateful..... and Kristen I don't have a lot of solutions here. Only affirmations. No matter what,you are so creative and full of life. I have always admired that in you. I believe u will get this project done by hook or by crook.and it will be it will be beautiful. That comes from me and from above.


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