Professional performance artists live a lifestyle that few people can comprehend. For a living, performance artists get on a stage in front of an audience and dance, act, sing or do a number of other performative talents for the audience’s entertainment, amusement and enlightenment. Preparation for these performances includes grueling rehearsals and many hours spent at practice and memorization. The work is hard, the wages are often sporadic and inconsistent and the performance schedule often involves travel. This is why the number of performing artists who are thriving is considerably low. Performance artists lead very challenging lives, with hardships that include mental disorders, stage fright and rootlessness.
Mental disorders that affect performance artists may include depression, anxiety, addiction and more. Artists in general are more prone to mental disorders than people in other vocations because their craft requires sensitivity, empathy and emotional depth. The performing arts are one of the most high intensity art forms because they are live, so they frequently make performance artists high strung and susceptible to breakdowns, which are symptoms of an anxiety disorder. It is strange to think of a performance artist with stage fright, but it is a very common form of anxiety that performance artists deal with. Many performance artists also resort to addiction in an attempt to self medicate, and make themselves much worse off. All of these things and more can cause debilitating depression.
The rootlessness of a profession in the performing arts can have negative effects on a performer’s mental and physical health as well. A number of live shows travel around specific regional areas and the performers that tour with it may not see their homes for weeks or even months. Many performers work for a local venue and have the luxury of staying in one place, but many become absorbed by life on the road. This can lead to disorders and addiction as well because it leaves a person separated from their support system, routines and familiar surroundings.