Tag: depression

Finding Faith in the Pacific Ocean

Thank you to StillGotStoke.com for publishing my essay, Faith Found in 50 Degree Water.  The ocean continues to teach me many lessons about faith in my path, trusting my instincts and how to let go.  These lessons seep into my work as an artist, my parenting style and my relationships.  I am so grateful to have been introduced to surfing.  I think, in many ways, it saved me.  Amen!  

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An Artist’s Search for Self: Dude, where’s my Ikigai?

The adventure of becoming a West Coast Abstract Artist, has led me closer to finding my Ikigai.  I have seen a few things pretty clearly over the past couple of weeks and I’m now aware of what I DO NOT want to see happen. I do not plan on being surprised by my negative thinking habits and the confusion that it can cause so here, in no particular order, are some changes that are going to be implemented immediately: 

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How Giving Feeds the Soul (even if it's inconvenient at times)

Illness, death and injury can be seen as HUGE diversions from the things we should be doing.  I challenge that and suggest that perhaps being of service when our family, friends and community needs us does more good than harm.  Service feeds the soul.

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How Writing Brings Me Emotional Clarity

Writing has become a path for clarity and understanding of my emotional challenges.  Seeing these problems in black and white and putting them into the world has brought me a feeling of empowerment and the knowledge that I am not alone in the struggle of being human.

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Tiny Buddha Blog Post #3

I am an extremely sensitive artist type person.  Fear, anxiety and self doubt can cause stagnation in my abstract art practice, and life in general.

But thankfully, I have found tools to help get past these times of sluggishness.  One of these tools is surfing.  There is nothing that puts me in the moment and shows me my place within the universe quite like being in the waves. 

Thank you to TinyBuddha.com for publishing yet another one of my essays, How Surfing Helped Me Turn My Fear and Anxiety into Confidence.    Take a read and comment below and/or share if it resonates with you.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  Don't forget to get outside and play after all that turkey and pie!

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5 Ways Self-Employed Artists Can Battle Loneliness

After 18 years of working in restaurants, hotels and busy offices, suddenly I find myself able to pursue my passion of abstract painting…working all alone in my kitchen studio and home office and well...loneliness happens.

Sometimes I talk to myself more in one day than I speak to other people.  I’m not kidding.  I talk to myself out loud throughout my work day because, frankly, I get tired of the quiet.  I listen to music pretty much constantly, but sometimes I just want to hear other people’s voices.  I’m not quite desperate enough to have the TV on all day but man, do I yearn for humans sometimes.

Before jumping full time into my career as a West Coast abstract painter, I worked in many different environments.  Happening restaurants, bustling offices, full Yoga studios…I’ve had so many different careers but they all had one thing in common: I was always around people. 

Marigny Goodyear Art Abstract Mixed Media Painting Day DreamWhile I'm in the studio, I often day dream about being outside.  Loneliness can make me wish to be anywhere but where I am.

Now I find myself alone in my house all day.  Sometimes I relish in the quiet.  Sometimes I feel the silence is WAY too loud.  As a person who battles anxiety and depression, that quiet can sometimes feel utterly stifling and although I have a loving family and many friends, I can begin to feel pretty darn lonely.

Compound the physical loneliness with the fact that my daughter just turned 16, now has a car to get herself around and a very busy school and social life…well...I’ll just say that this year has been full of more transition than I was really ready for or expecting to deal with.  Transitions are always harder than I think they will be.  I knew that working from home and being self-employed was going to be challenging to begin with.  But throw in early empty nest syndrome and suddenly I find myself alone in my work AND in my role as a Mom. 

 Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art In the StudioJust me...alone and thinking away. 

Oddly enough, the loneliness can make it hard for me to motivate to be around people.  Weird, huh?  It’s like the sadness can wrap itself around me and I just don’t want to have to talk to anyone, even though all I really want are for people to be around.  I also find that when my friends reach out to me, it’s always at inopportune moments…like in the middle of my work day.  I vacillate between irritation when my friends call to wondering “why is no one calling me?!”  Oh Lord…

I started working with a marketing firm who tells me that I should be posting pictures of me doing fun things with my friends once a week.  I guess potential collectors also like to know that they’re buying from a well-rounded popular artist.  Well guess what…I have lots of photos of me making art alone in my studio but very few of me doing fun things with friends.  Queue violins here.

Oh me oh my! Whatever should a lonely artist do?  Well, having good cries every couple of days is a release, but does that really help me battle the loneliness?  Now, don’t feel too sorry for me.  My life really is great.  I have a loving and supportive family, amazing friends, and an incredible opportunity to follow my dreams.  Unfortunately, knowing this only makes me feel guilty in my loneliness.  So now I’m lonely, sad, AND riddled with guilt.  Oy.

I am an extremely goal oriented, organized, efficient person.  My social life has never needed managing.  I used to have dinners, parties, coffees and live music dates multiple times a week.  It used to be effortless, but life has changed.  I’m older, not drinking anymore and immersed in my art work. Now, 9 months into my new business venture, I am realizing that perhaps I need to apply new strategies when it comes to being around people on a regular basis. 

 Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art In the studio day dreamingWhen THIS is what I'm thinking about while I'm working, it's time to go outside and play. 

5 Ways Artists Can Battle Loneliness:

  1. Schedule a coffee, a hike, a dinner, an anything – Duh. This is so obvious that I’m not sure why it took me so long to do.  I schedule everything from exercise to social media posts so why it took me so long to realize this is beyond me.  I now try to schedule time with a friend at least once a week even if I have to do it a few weeks out.  It’s good just to get dates on the calendar.  

 

  1. Allow social media to boss me around– I mean, I already do. I have to post to social media every day and to do that I have to have content to post.  So, I’d better be getting in my studio to make art every day or else my followers are going to get bored with me.  Since I have been told that I need a friend post once a week, that means that I actually have to be physically next to a friend at least once a week in order to have photographic proof that I’m not an isolated hermit. 

 

  1. Talk to my family when they get home – This is harder than it sounds. The 16-year-old, while she still seems to like me ok, doesn’t want to be bombarded with me talking at her as soon as she walks in…or at all really.  My husband gets an ear full when he comes home.  It continuously surprises me how many words come out of my mouth when I’ve been alone for a whole day or two.  He’s a very patient and kind man and gives me ample time to vomit words before we surrender to exhaustion, fall down and go boom.  Bless him.

 

  1. Talk to a therapist – Yeah yeah yeah.   I went back to her this week after not going for about three years.  I’ve gone on and off since I was 13.  I won’t go way into this except to say that if therapy works for you, as it does for me, every couple of years a check in is a good thing. And let’s face it, talking to a therapist is different than talking to friends or family.  I don’t have to censor myself at all, which can feel really liberating. 

 

  1. Get outside and play – I know…this is on every single one of my “How to cope with _______” lists. But it’s true.  Being outside helps with just about everything.  Sometimes, I get up and go for a morning walk before anyone else in my family is up.  Oddly enough, it’s alone time that I feel is really good for me.  I don’t have to think about work, or anything in particular at all.  I just get outside and get some exercise while the sun is coming up.  I suppose when I’m in tune with nature, I feel I’m closer to something bigger than me and that is very comforting.

 

So yeah…I get lonely working by myself.  I am getting better at applying old strategies to my loneliness, which is merely a new problem that old solutions will work for.  I’ve just never in my life been in tune with this particular issue as much as I am now.  As I’m typing this, new solutions are presenting themselves: I’ve just been invited to a meeting with 6 other professional artists this evening.  So, I can now add to my list of strategies: “Get involved with local artist community.” 

It makes sense…I mean…anyone who works alone is familiar with this particular struggle.  Why should we have to struggle alone? So, I’m going to motivate and reach out more so I freak out less.  Because even though I’m living my dream I’m also going through new experiences and transitions.  Change is hard and loneliness can happen, even in noisy, crowded rooms. 

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How Art Helps Me Manage Unrealistic Expectations

Through the practice of Abstract Expressionism, my inner control freak has loosened her grip on my life and my loved ones.

Thank you to TinyBuddha.com for publishing my article titled How Expectations Can Drive People Away and How to Let Go of Control.

I once was my own worst enemy when it came to being fixated on outcomes.  Being so focused on what I thought "should" happen all the time led to constant disappointment and a feeling of isolation.  Through the practice of my art I have found that stress truly is optional.  

Once again, I am completely humbled by the response to my writing. I have received emails, DMs and comments from people who know and struggle with the constant disappointment of expectations never being met.   Please take a read, and if it resonates with you, feel free to share.  

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Self Develop Shop Blog Post

My inner critic has a loud, booming voice.  Sometimes it can drown everything else out. 

Thankfully I have identified my Critic and have learned how to manage her so that she doesn't control my decisions and how I feel about myself. 

I want to thank selfdevelopshop.com for publishing my article titled When Feelings are Fiction - 5 Ways to Know if I'm Telling Myself the Truth.  

Please share or comment if this resonates with you.  If the response from this tells me anything, it's that I am not the only one feeling this way.  We must learn to be kinder to ourselves.  

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Tiny Buddha Blog Post

I'm a West Coast Abstract Artist who struggles with anxiety and negative thinking.

Thankfully I'm not alone.  I wanted to thank Tiny Buddha for including my article,  "My Proactive 8-Part Plan For Beating Anxiety and Negativity".   

The response to this has been overwhelming.  Thank you all for commenting, sending messages, emails, etc.  I am truly humbled.

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How to Shake the Doldrums

When sitting on the sofa, eating crappy food and feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t improve your mood, it’s time to take a different approach to attitude adjusting.

I have just come off a week-long gloom binge. I wasn’t feeling well at all.  My work wasn’t satisfying, my home life irritated me, exercise was an unattainable motivation and food…well…if it wasn’t made from sugar or high levels of sodium, I wasn’t interested.  

As a sensitive and moody artist who is prone to anxiety and depression, it can be hard at times to pull myself from the depths of my own head.  Once I’m there, the darkness can wrap around me like a blanket which, oddly enough, can feel rather comforting.  Instead of craving things that would improve the situation, I hunker down, binge on television, cry in the shower, eat ice cream for dinner and procrastinate doing anything that could possibly be good for me.  It affects my productivity in EVERYTHING.

Last week, while in the midst of a down-swing, I continued working on a painting and although I worked on it every day, I didn’t make much progress. That is kind of indicative of how my mood affects my day-to-day.  When I’m in a negative head space, everything seems to take longer and my actions don’t seem as productive as I know they can be.  It’s like everything is done in vain which depresses me even more…OH THE DRAMA OF IT ALL!

Marigny Goodyear Abstract PaintingIt seemed like every "big" change I made to this painting made no difference at all.

 

On Friday, after my 12th biscotti, 7th grilled cheese sandwich and 4th failed attempt to get to the gym, I had to do something.  I chose to take the same attitude towards my day-to-day that I take when I’m stuck on a painting.  JUST DO ANYTHING.  Seriously.  The more different, the better.  

Just as in abstract painting, contrast can also be the solution to depressive moods. Trying something opposite to instinct can help.

I decided to approve my teenage daughter’s proposed 8-person sleepover.  I know what you’re thinking: “WTF?!  You’re fighting the doldrums by inviting a slew of crazed teenagers over?!”  Yes, that’s exactly what I did.  To justify this decision to my melancholia, I told myself that I would now have the weekend to finish cracking out on crappy food, as that is what the human teenager consumes at a sleepover. 

What I was hoping is that all of these fresh faced, energetic, silly-as-hell children running around my house would totally obliterate the misery problem at hand.  You try being stuck in a funk on a Saturday night when girls are being dragged across the floor laughing hysterically, sporadic dance parties are popping up on your front lawn and THIS is standing in your kitchen:

Pig Onsie Gangster in my Kitchen

The point is that it got me out of my spin cycle.  I woke up in my van Sunday morning (yes, I gave up the comfort of my house to the juveniles for the night) and joyfully cooked pancakes and scrambled eggs for a mess of youngsters. I found it amusing (instead of frustrating) when an iphone was found under one of our cars, when I realized that two entire jars of pickles were eaten by one 90-pound girl (ew) and when I was repeatedly asked for something to eat while I was in the middle of cooking a meal. 

As it turns out, my Mother was right…it really is important to get outside and play on a beautiful day.

That afternoon, I got outside for the first time in a week and gardened (another one of those activities that is so hard for me to start, yet feels so good when finished).  Monday, I woke up and rocked that painting, continuing on in a completely different direction from where I started.  I had been painting in a pretty dark pallet so I took a light blue and painted over about 85% of my painting.  

Marigny Goodyear Abstract Painting Work In ProgressWhen in doubt, just do anything.

After a brief panic attack, (and another biscotti) I took the canvas outside and started sanding the paint down.  Layers of texture and color slowly emerged through the light blue, creating a dreamy, twisted, complicated junglescape.  Out emerged something I never could have planned or imagined and it was beautiful.

When I needed a break from that, I got on my bike and hauled ass on the bike path for about an hour.  In that time, I was able to release most of the remaining dark cloud that I had been dragging around.  It was really hard to pay attention to the blahs when I chose to engage with the outdoors for a minute.  It’s Spring, Moody Artist!  For Pete’s sake, go outside and play! 

Today is Tuesday and I still feel my bad mood hiding out and waiting for an opening to creep back in.  But instead of engaging with it, I’ve decided to write about the ridiculousness of it all.  After lunch, I will incorporate some darks back into this painting and then I’m going mountain biking. 

Marigny Goodyear Abstract Painting Detail Blue MusicDetail of the painting after working a dark blue back in.  Sometimes you just have to keep doing the opposite thing until you land where it all comes together.

The only constant mood is the changing one 

We all go through ups and downs.  If I’ve learned anything in my 40 years being human, it’s that there is no such thing as an endless good or bad mood.  They are all temporary and part of a much bigger picture.  It’s where we choose to focus that’s important.  I’m always amazed when a once huge problem doesn’t seem quite so big when I don’t stop and stare at it.  I mean, it’s Spring in Southern Oregon…I’d much rather stop and stare at the wild flowers. 

Sometimes, it seems such an easier choice to curl up on the sofa and continue on with the pity party but right now I have to take the 180 degree turn that will get the spark back into my eyes and the motivation back into my hands.  If I choose to remain stuck in my mood, that’s all I’ll be…stuck.  Just like with my painting, I have to take action and I can’t wait to think of the “perfect” solution.  Just shake it up!  Throw caution to the wind, paint onto the canvas, and when in doubt, and if it’s available to you, laugh with a bunch of goofy kids (I hear puppies work too).

Goofy selfies with a 4-year-oldIt's impossible to be stuck in the doldrums when there are goofy selfies to be taken with adorable 4-year-olds.
 

When you feel stagnation set in, what do you do to get unstuck? Let me know in the comments below.  Goodness knows I need all the strategies that I can get!

Painting at top is Blue Music, 36x36, Paper, Acrylic and Watercolor Crayon on Canvas

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