My goal this week is to cruise, slowly and mindfully, through a state of anxious and depressive dis-ease.
I don’t feel that great. Life has been challenging. It’s one of those weeks where tears flow easily and at inconvenient times. I am sitting in it. I am not frantically looking for escape. I want clarity. If the brain tornado must spin, maybe I can make it spin slower, just slow enough so I can actually see what’s happening.
I feel bad sometimes that I end up talking to you, more often than not, about how crappy I feel. I feel like I’m bitching and moaning and complaining with no end. I try very hard to stay positive. I attempt nearly every day to do the things that I know will make me feel better.
Anxiety and depression are my default.
I don’t choose to be like this…or do I? That is the mind fuck that goes through me every time I get depressed. Is depression comfortable for me in some way? Like a warm blanket wrapped around my shoulders that closes me off from the rest of the world? I don’t want to think that could be true but I actually don’t know any other way of being, so perhaps it is. Anxiety and depression are my default.
If this is my nature, what can I actually do about it? If this is how my brain works, is there a solution? Or just ever-changing coping mechanisms as I choose to focus on one anxiety and depression buzz word or another. “Strategies” is what I refer to them as.
“Strategy” is defined as “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim”. I adapt different strategies in my life to achieve a peaceful mind. I meditate, exercise, eat well, surf, write, make art, recite gratitude lists and “I will” statements, and talk to my anxiety like it’s a person, all in an effort to find calm.
It doesn’t always work. Sometimes there are things happening outside myself that are completely out of my control that make it very hard. I feel it would be easier if it were just entirely up to me, but there is a whole world out there constantly throwing situations my way that are unpleasant. I am not an island.
What I have to remember is that same world is also throwing a vast amount of beauty my way as well.
What I have to remember is that same world is also throwing a vast amount of beauty my way as well. That for all the bullshit that brings me to my knees, there is kindness, love, and chocolate. I didn’t remember that until writing this, right now (which is why writing is so powerful for me).
I was hoping to have like 30 paintings finished to offer to you in March. Yeah right. The issue is that I’m attempting to make paintings that feel like a deep inhale and exhale. Relaxing. Calming. That feeling will not make it through to the painting if I am panicking to meet an unrealistic deadline.
The first painting of the series is coming along painstakingly slow. While I’m doing it, I’ll feel myself speed up, wanting it to be further along than it is. I have to take a deep breath and remember that slow is the key to these paintings. I’m now hoping to have them finished by May.
One thing that does make me feel better is knowing that I’m not alone.
One thing that does make me feel better is knowing that I’m not alone. That you are here with me. Whenever you tell me that my writing or painting resonates with you because you know the struggle, it makes me feel better.
I’m glad that we are open to receiving the imperfect message that mental health issues deliver. If nothing else, maybe it brings us together. If you know the struggle, you know that it comes with a hefty side of loneliness so that’s pretty dang powerful. I’m grateful for you.
I’m going to put away the computer today and get straight into the studio. I’m going to put positive music on, and my studio tiara, and try to rock out the rest of this first painting…in a slow and mindful way, of course. I’m excited to share it with you and I hope that the paintings bring across a feeling of calm. It may be forced calm, which seems like an oxymoron but sometimes that’s the best I can do.
Do you know this feeling? I’m so sorry if you do. Perhaps a bombardment of joy will help. In the comments, tell me something good. Something that makes you feel better when the struggle is real.
Hopefully next week I’ll feel better and be able to lift you up. Right now, I need some lifting so thanks for anything you can give. Much love.
Up top is a detail of the first “Breathe” painting. Creating this painting is like an active meditation. I hope when it’s done, that is the feeling delivered to you.
I am an artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes. To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.