Entries Tagged as: depression

Work in Progress

February 26th, 2008, Comments (8)

I'm feeling like a serious work in progress today. I mean, we're always a work in progress are we not? But today I had to face where I'm fighting reality. I've read Byron Katie call it "trying to make a cat bark." I've struggled with depression for most of my life and yet I fight this constantly. I don't accept it. I miss taking my medication and feel awful for days. It's silly.  I've come off medication in a safe way before, but I end up needing to go back to it. It's time for me to stop forgetting my medication. If I want to stop taking it, I have to address that and do it with the help of a doctor. And if I'm going to accept the chemical imbalance, then I need to stop worrying about what other people think, and start loving myself the way that I am. The winter is a tough season anyway and I'm looking forward to sunnier days.

This morning I was feeling the blues, but with a few adjustments, I found some energy in the afternoon and got back to work on a painting and did some printing for art that needs to get out to buyers. Here's a peek into my studio and some of the things I'm working on.

Art and Picnics

January 20th, 2008, Comments (6)

Some new pieces, I've been working on. Still have a little touching up to do on these two and they need names still, but here's a sneak peek!

These two are 6"x6" and 8"x8". I did a lot of work on them last night when I experienced some night time energy again. The night owl in me enjoys making art in the evening hours. So, I stayed up late working on these and finishing up on the last one.

I started feeling much brighter in the afternoon yesterday and today the world feels much less heavy. Hooray for that! I think that the best thing to do with a low mood (if possible, it's not always possible), is to create with it. If I can turn that blueness into some thing, if I can use it as the paint in my brush, then I tend to feel better as a result. Sometimes just expressing that emotion can help to lift it away or at least lighten it.

If you're feeling low, try having what I call an "art picnic." I do this regularly and it's a wonderful practice. I'll set up on the floor and lay down old blankets and pillows and make myself comfortable. I'll put around me whatever art supplies I have: paper, glue, paint, cups of water, ephemera, old books, pencils, pastels and then I wait a moment to see what draws me in. What materials do I feel drawn to? What colors are calling my name? I let go of any expectation to create something "good" and just let myself create whatever I'd like to. I give myself permission to make "bad art." And I follow my intuition where it guides me. Very often I find my underlying emotions spilled across the page and by getting in touch with that deeper feeling within me, the one that might not be sitting on the surface, I feel more connected, grounded, and whole. Perhaps by working on the floor, I'm able to feel more grounded or perhaps by getting down low and meeting myself where I'm at, I'm better able to connect. Try it for yourself and see how it works for you! I have art picnics in every sort of mood, so you don't need to feel low to try having one! :-)


January 19th, 2008, Comments (10)

Catcloset I keep hearing, reading, and seeing the word, "comfort" everywhere lately. It was on the receipt of my purchase at a bagel shop this morning which was advertising a new sandwich that they called "creative comfort foods." Inspire Me Thursday this week is about moving beyond our comfort zones (and last week was also about comfort). Jen Lemen mentioned finding comfort in her clutter today. And those are just a few examples. Perhaps it is because I am seeking comfort at the moment.

I have clinical depression and the winter can be difficult for me. I've been doing o.k., but this past week has been a bit of a struggle. I have been endlessly exhausted, teary, and low energy. I say this because I know that this is a difficult time for many people and perhaps my words will help someone else who is struggling too. Fortunately, I've been through this enough to know that it will pass. I don't feel hopeless as I might have in the past. The best thing I can do is have compassion for myself, practice good self-care, and keep taking those baby steps forward.

My week at my old job ends tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to a snuggle reunion with the hubster and my kitty meows. (The picture is of my kitties, Sadie and Emma, snuggling on a box in my closet.) I hope that if you are needing some comfort today, you will allow yourself to seek it out, to relax and soak it in.

Random Shades of Gray

December 12th, 2007, Comments (4)

Le sigh. The world feels heavy today. Achey and gray. I'm having trouble getting my energy up, which means little motivation to write or interact. But I haven't quite fallen off the face of the earth. No, I'm here. Here, stringing up twinkle lights decorated with handmade snowflakes (that the best friend taught me how to make) and the two little birds that sat on top of my wedding cake. Here, continuing to remove the astonishing amount of garbage in our apartment and enjoying the space it's creating. Here, working on my newsletter in Panera (which I think of as Pandora) with earphones on, occasionally glancing up to people-watch...a reindeer sweater, a cute plaid jacket, an adorable printed handbag. Here, listening to Ray LaMontagne which maybe isn't helping my energy level, it's mirroring my mood. Perhaps, I'll shift to Scissor Sisters for a boost. Oh, that's better.

This weekend was super social and for me that often leads to a recovery period. But I did have fun with guests at our place, a holiday party at a swanky apartment in the city, and a day of celebrating my dad's birthday with siblings. I do enjoy spending time with people in smaller doses and I'm actually craving some sort of community. I love and will continue to nurture the friendships and community I have here online, but I feel the need for some person-to-person interaction, like a small support group or something. I feel like this sort of group does best with some sort of focus, like a book or goal or something along those lines, but I'm kind of lost as to where to start. I'd even start a group on my own if I had a good plan in mind.

Random stuffs in the works, working on new Subway Stories pieces and also working on a book idea that I've had dancing around in my head for awhile which is very exciting for me. I think the Creative Every Day 2008 project will be great help in this process too. I'm learning that these things can be accomplished in many small steps. I know I've learned this a thousand times over, but sometimes these seemingly simple lessons often take ages to truly sink in.  Back to work for me!


December 4th, 2007, Comments (9)

Today was busy, busy. Trying to ship art out this time of year is nutty! Everyone is sending out gifts or buy gifts and it feels super hectic every where. I also worked on putting together and figuring out a new mat cutting device I got recently, did a little bit of picking up, matted and framed a print, wrote some emails, prepped some new panels, and put two coats of matte varnish on the Subway Stories piece I was working on during Art Every Day Month. The pic isn't fantastic, but I can't scan it til it's completely dry. Here it is anyways. I'm calling it "South Station" and it's 1o"x10" with paper collage, ink and acrylic on panel.

I made a small change on the blog that I wanted to point out. I've made a new "page" on the blog for links. I realized my link list is not only not current with all the blogs I read (I use Bloglines to keep track of the far too many blogs that I keep track of), but it's also so long that it goes on way past the point of posts. So, I made a page which has a link called, "Links" (creative genius there, I know) up near the top of my sidebar. I've put a list of links there that used to be on the sidebar and I've also kept the list of the 2007 Art Every Day Month participants up there. I'd love for the link list to be organized in a different fashion, but it'll do for now.

So, I know I tend to slow down in the art production department after Art Every Day Month, but as many of you discovered, it is indeed a challenge to make and post something every day and I usually need a little break afterwards, not a long break mind you, but a break still. I can tell you that over the weekend, I enjoyed the luxury of lounging on the couch and reading a novel (which I haven't done much of lately) and it was wonderful. Sometimes, when you're doing a lot of output, it's good to take some time to fill the well. I've also done a little doodling in my sketchbook. Last night, I drew the girl in the scarf and the phoenix-like bird. And tonight while I waited for gesso to dry, I pulled out markers I'd bought for a photo album and drew a silly sketch of the cat on the bed with me at the time. It was fun to just play. 

I've been a bit anti-social in the last couple weeks (Thanksgiving gave me people overload) and I'm feeling the need to push myself out into society a little bit. Holing up like a bear during winter isn't good for me for very long. Even just going to the post office today was good for me. I'm also really needing to get my butt back in gear with some exercising. As unmotivated as I can feel about getting moving when the world gets colder and darker,  working to keep my winter blues to a minimum is so much better for my mind, body and soul. Self-care-city, here I come!

Digging into Defining Beliefs

November 6th, 2007, Comments (21)

No art for the day yet. I had wanted to write more last night, but posting art takes time and so, I bumped it to today, which is probably for the best as I feel so much better than I did yesterday. Yesterday was a little rough for me. I felt it was probably the day before my period (and today I found out it was), which is typically a rough day in which I feel extreme sensitivity, sadness, irritation, etc. It's a lot like how I feel when my depression has taken hold. This time of year can be a rough one for me and whenever I feel a day or two like this, I have this twinge of worry that it's not going to ease up. I was at my worst in late October/early November, 7 years ago, which sounds like a lifetime ago, but doesn't feel like it. It was weeks and months of feeling the way I did yesterday until I nearly gave up on life. I'm so glad I reached out for help. And I'm so grateful to be in a better place now.

I'm going through a major cleaning/purging in my home with the focus being on my office/studio space which as I mentioned earlier is frighteningly cluttered. My best friend has been helping me with it with her super organizing skills, which has been so awesome, but some of the stuff I really have to go through alone. Last night, I was pulling things out of my desk and came upon two old notebooks. I flipped through them finding budgets, a period of time where I was writing down everything I spent so I could see where my money went, writing exercises and such. This stuff was probably from about 6 or so years ago. Some of those soul searching exercises you may do from time to time are a wonderful treat to come upon years later. It brings to light the ways in which you've changed, things you've forgotten about perhaps because the transition was slow and gradual. Much like it's hard for a parent to see how much their child has grown because they see them every day.

In one small notebook from about 6 years ago, I found a few pages about "defining beliefs." This must have been an exercise from some book, but I don't know which one. On the first page, I wrote: "defining belief: I'm not quite talented enough to make it." I nod reading it, yes, I still feel this way at times, but less than I did before. Next I've written, "evidence" and underneath it: "Not having my designs chosen in high school graphic design class; Criticism in my art classes; I'm not creating much; I need projects to keep me going; I haven't sold my art or shown it in any galleries." It makes me laugh a little that my first bit of evidence was not having my designs chosen from a class in high school. I took that a little personally, eh? Then I wrote: "Price I pay for holding on to this belief" and under that, "I feel inadequate; I don't feel ready for grad school; I don't send my slides to galleries; I hide my art." Next line was titled, "Result I'd like" and then, "to be a successful artist (acknowledged.)" And then, "Evidence: I've shown my art in galleries to rave reviews and sold my art for big $." Underneath that I'd written two affirmations: "I am a talented, prolific artist" and "People want to purchase my art."   

I wanted to share this because each year when I do AEDM, there are so many creative people who think their work isn't good enough, who feel inadequate or embarrassed, and/or who apologize for their work. And I want to say, don't apologize! Life is short and there is only one of you out there who can express what you can express. So, you've got to share it while you've got the chance! Maybe your skills aren't where you'd like them to be. They may never be what you consider perfection, but you can't let that stop you. It nearly stopped me, but my urge to create was greater than my need to be perfect. I know I'm never entirely satisfied with where I'm at, but it keeps wanting to learn and grow more.

And the other cool thing about finding this note, was to see how far I've come. I have shown my art in galleries, I sold 8 pieces in the last show I was in. I've sold individual pieces for what I consider a lot of money. So, by my standards 6 years ago, I am a successful artist. Now of course, my standard of what success is has shifted, but it was great to be reminded how far I've come and that I have accomplished a lot in the last 6 years. I also feel much stronger than that voice that wrote these pages, which is wonderful to see. Take a look at your own defining beliefs. And if they're limiting you, tear them down. It really helps to write it out if you can.

And here's a little something more. I found this on the first page of another notebook. I'd written out this whole quote from the book, "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. Clearly it made an impression on me then. And reading it now, I think it's quite relevant to the journey that AEDM is. The author is talking about writing as a practice here, but you can apply it to anything really.  She writes, 

This is the practice school of writing. Like running, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Some days you don't want to run and you resist every step of the three miles, but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don't wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run. It'll never happen, especially if you are out of shape and have been avoiding it. But if you run regularly, you train your mind to cut through or ignore your resistance. You just do it. And in the middle of the run, you love it. When you come to the end, you never want to stop. And you stop, hungry for the next time.

So keep on creating, my creative friends. You are all a great inspiration to me. Thank you!

Whine, Whine, Whine

September 5th, 2007, Comments (14)

It doesn't do any good to get annoyed with myself, but every year when the days begin to darken, I feel a sadness creep in. I get annoyed with my depression (very helpful, I know.) I hold out hope each year that I've been "good enough", done enough exercise, taken enough vitamins, done enough self-care and art-making, so that this year I won't feel that heaviness. I don't want to accept it as just the way it is, just in case I'm fooling myself into thinking I have chronic depression.

I don't complain to the people in my life. Constant complaining annoys me in others, why would I want to do that to anyone else? Today the fiansor was encouraging me to whine. We both have a cold, stuffy noses and such and he's quite a whiner when he gets sick. He's told me often enough that if I don't complain, he doesn't know how badly I'm feeling. You know that thing about how the squeaky wheel gets the oil? It's so true! I've spent my life trying not to squeak. So, we literally practiced whining to each other with me resisting the whole time because I felt ridiculous doing it. He made me laugh though with his descriptions about the nuances of whining, what the different intonations meant and then he quizzed me on it. Heh. We snuggled and fell asleep on the couch before having dinner. Thank goodness for the fiansor.

Earlier today, I had a quick, but helpful chat with my best friend. I haven't had anyone, but the fiansor to talk to about all that's been going on recently with family crises and it's been really heavy stuff. The fiansor said he was surprised that I hadn't been more upset, but I was upset, I was just containing it, like you need to in a crisis when other people need you to be the calm voice of reason. But when the best friend called, I just started crying. I guess I was ready to release some of the crapola.

I want so much to vent about what's been going on, but I don't think this is the place to do it. In one of the situations, there is actual legal action being taken, so I can't lay it all out here. I'm thinking about using my vox blog which has that setting so only friends can read it to release some of this tough stuff. I truly appreciate your support and love in response to my last post. I needed it, so thank you. I'll be posting all the recent art soon, promise!