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Mental Health In Design

Mental Health In Design

Mike Lenhart

Maintaining good mental health in the design world is interesting to me. Although I believe that a little bit of sick or twisted mental health can be a good thing for design and creativity, I also have to say that, as in everything, moderation is the key. I hate that part. In my past and through my “upbringing” in graphic design, there were many times when my mental and emotional health was not all that it could have been. As with many of us, I developed the knack for working on a project for hours at a time with little or no interaction with the outside world. That can be OK for a little while. But, when the walls close in and feelings of dread and paranoia start becoming natural or I forget how to communicate with others, it becomes a problem. No design project is worth extended isolation or avoiding the light of day – unless it pays well.

For those of us who may be prone to isolation as a symptom of our depression, it’s a different story all together. Too much time spent on a project without a good break taken is not worth it, or healthy. It’s good to get up, get away from the computer screen, stretch your legs, take a walk outside and get some fresh air. It’s not only good for mental health, it’s also good for motivation and inspiration. If you really can’t break away from your desk (because you’re SO important), then pick up the phone and call someone, listen to some calming music, and take your eyes off the computer screen every ten minutes or so (don’t forget to stick them back on, though). Under any circumstances, if you start seeing bugs crawling across your screen or hear voices that you know can’t be real, then maybe it’s time to take a nap for a little while. Just remember to hit SAVE.

Good mental health is a must for continued work and success in the art and design world. We all know that there have been many great works of art created by those who may have been a little ‘touched’. However, the long-term payoff for them didn’t usually end up so well. So, take your medication, see your therapist, and don’t talk to people who aren’t there.

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