Lessons From YCee on Mental Health & Creativity from Ignite 2023 Conference

If you weren’t able to catch YCee live at the Ignite Conference 3.0, well, you can always watch the entire clip from his time with us below.

Ycee Talks About Mental Health at The Ignite Conference

But… if you don’t have 35 minutes to invest in a video, or you’d rather prefer to skim-read (you should take the time to read this, not just skim through it), we have pieced together some nuggets of wisdom we believe everyone should be aware of for a better mind.

1. There are more than 2 mental health conditions

If you follow the mental health conversations in the public domain, it might appear to you that there are only two types of mental illnesses: anxiety and depression. It doesn’t help matters either that these states of the mind can be triggered by psychosocial conditions and not necessarily chemical imbalances from a biological standpoint. YCee, in his conversation with TASCK, highlights why it is important to understand that conditions like mania, schizophrenia, and so much more are all under the mental illness bracket.

So when you can’t quite put a pin on your mood, don’t just assume it is one of the Big Two. Consider seeing a professional to have a look at your mind and determine what might be wrong to be properly managed.

2. Mental health conditions aren’t reserved for the rich alone

The notion that any mental health illness is a “Rich Man’s Disease” is popular in Africa because education about these conditions remains lacking. It also doesn’t help matters that access to care is heavily stunted by the cost of therapy sessions, which often require a long-term commitment for optimum management. A combination of these factors and a history of cultural indoctrination to the idea that mental health can be a sign of weakness continues to hinder people from getting help, especially when these conditions are at the beginning stages. Most people afflicted end up waiting until it is dangerously late to even seek basic help. Some never do, and that is just sad.

Mental health conditions do not care for class and can happen to anyone. If you feel like something is wrong with your mind or moods, do exactly what you would have done if it were your body aching or rising in temperature. Get help!

3. Hobbies and coping mechanisms can become addictions too

When asked about where one goes for mental rest, the subject of hobbies was propped up. For creatives, finding the line between hobby and work can be quite challenging as more often than not, most creatives are passionate about their craft. YCee pointed out the importance of having hobbies outside the scope of your work to take the mind off completely. For him, video games appeared to be the leading coping mechanism as the hobby allows him to channel all his focus on the activity. However, he warned that anyone using a coping mechanism needs to ensure they do not slip into addiction, citing an example of a day he played video games for 11 hours after losing track of time.

Ensure you have activities in your life that take you away from the pressures of daily living, but be sure you aren’t so dependent on your mode of escape that it becomes a problem in itself.

4. Doing simple things might be the medicine you need

When asked about how celebrity contributes to mental illness, YCee’s insight was the type that could only come from experience. He pointed out how rules have been created to govern the celebrity class, putting most in a position of constant pressure. A celebrity isn’t supposed to use public transportation, fly business class, or do their dishes. He stressed how identifying with these rules only put more pressure on an already fragile mental state, joking that most of his friends couldn’t understand why he had a maid and still did the dishes sometimes.

Regardless of your rise in status, do things that help you relax and give you a sense of normalcy from time to time. These activities are grounding and give one a more balanced view of life as opposed to watching from an ivory tower.

5. The culture of deprioritizing rest is killing us

“I used to think that I had to be working all the time or someone was going to take my spot.” Life as an artist is not easy. Not with new songs dropping every day and every other artist aiming for that number-one spot. This notion of the industry places so many creatives in a state of constant pressure, working their minds to the limit and beyond, constantly trying to keep up. In the “Grind” culture, with phrases like “no days off” touted as a brag, it is important to sit back sometimes and reassess our relationship with work.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but please, try and make time for rest. And no, you don’t have to wait until your mind and body have broken down with exhaustion. Rest is supposed to be a part of the routine, just like work.

In conclusion

The mind is not so different from the body. It needs nourishment, rest, and care when it is breaking down. Be kind to yourself, and never forget to talk to someone. Even if they aren’t a professional, any listening ear is a step in the right direction.

Nuel Umahi
Nuel Umahi

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