The problem with art

Long time, no post. I guess I’ve been caught in a web of life events, changes, and of course, bipolar swinging moods.

Today I want to reply to a question: why is my blog name ‘theproblemwithart’? Well, I am a creative person, but at the same time I am very practical and love research. To give you an idea about this, before I decided to follow the creative path, I prepared myself for medical school. I think that I would have done a good job in the field because I am blessed with a great capacity of retaining information and a hunger for research and finding solutions. I am now studying a challenging discipline and I love it,even if I had to take a semester off so I can concentrate on my mental health. I guess I kind of got sidetracked from the conversation, please excuse me, this is how my mind works these days.

So, the problem with being a creative person, or at least how I experience it, is that the capacity to create, the ideas, the productivity, they all fluctuate. When I am down I have brain fog and holding a pencil or a paintbrush is almost impossible. Some people thingk that depression can fuel your art, but it’s not the case with me. Holding a pencil or a paintbrush is almost impossible in the conditions when moving one’s body is almost impossible. When I am experiencing my highs, I have so many ideas and my creative energy is at its highest, but I can’t finish any of my projects because the thoughts and ideas are so fast and make me jump from an idead to the next and so on…So, usually, I end up with drawings, renders, and sketches that somehow contain the essence of what I wanted to express, but not being able to complete one piece of work is frustrating and sometimes makes me angry to the point I want to destroy everything I created.

So…this is the problem with art. At least with my art.

PS: I uploaded my first selection of sketches online today. I am excited, yet anxious.

PPS: I am really thinking to put a name on this blog and my story. I am thinking to disclose my identity and help advocating for the people struggling. I am afraid that I am going to be a victim of the stigma, though. Is this going to affect me in getting a job? Are people going to stalk me? I am maybe too worried, but I have to ask these questions before making the decision. What do you think? What is your experience?

 

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Decisions

Let’s imagine the following scenario: you are a twenty something years old student, in your final year, 3 months away from graduation. The field of study is challenging, but you love it. It seems that you have it all going on, that your world is perfect. You are involved, you are the advocate, you stand up for yourself and others. You are a problem solver. On top of this, there’s almost one year since you got your diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. You managed. You relapsed, you were close to being hospitalised, you kept going.

And now, you are going through hell again. Medication stopped doing much and you lost your balance. You are pushing yourself every single day, you put the smiley face badge on your coat, and you carry your materials and books to campus. People tell you “you look tired”, and you tell them that you pulled an all nighter. It’s not too much of a lie, you did, only it wasn’t because you studied, but because you couldn’t stop the thoughts from spinning inside your head.

You are feeling like you are not capable of completing your academic work. You are sleep walking through your day and spend your nights awake, tormented by negative thoughts.

“You have it all, there’s so little left, why can’t you do it? loser, you are a loser, a coward. How can other people do it? You are going to disappoint everybody. Your dad doesn’t want to talk to you anyway…he knows how much of a disappointment you are. ”

And you have to decide, do you keep pushing even if you are feeling so faint, or do you take time to rest? Why is this so difficult, you ask? Well, after a life of doing what is best for others, it’s hard to see what it’s better for yourself. In fact, you see it, but you choose to do what’s best for others…why?

Life is cruel, but beautiful

I forgot when was the last time I posted, but a lot has happened since then. I lost my job, I got out of an emotionally abusive relationship, I lost people and support, I found people and support…

It’s a lot. I am still struggling. I still need time, so much time. To recover, to live again, to love, to enjoy life, as cruel as it is, as beautiful as it is.

As a final year student, my university work has been piling up and I needed to apply for accommodations in order to be able to submit my work and projects. I am trying my best and it seems that I am getting there. The timing is awful, but this had to happen and it would have happened sooner or later. There’s no point crying about it. I am going to learn from this.

There is light in the dark. You can’t be strong if life only treated you well. You don’t know who your friends are until you are going through war. I am growing from the mud like a lotus flower.

 

Transition

What is life if not a magical combination of choice and uncertainty? So many things happened in my life recently. Tears, laughter, mania, depression, love, disappointment, tough choices. I am going in the right direction and that means going through a transitional period. Transition hurts. I am still hopeful and clawing my way up these tall walls life has put around me.

Emotional

I am and I will always be a person who feels so deeply. Tough cookie with a melting core. Because every day is a different journey, a wild roller-coaster ride, I often experience a huge range of emotions. And guess what? I can’t control it. I would like to reduce the intensity of the emotions. I feel emotions in a physical way. It’s like I wouldn’t have a skin, no way of filtering the different emotions…they are all important, they all come at the same intensity.

I will never be anything but intense…that’s it.

Patience?

I am worried, disappointed, busy. I am agitated and tired. I am living in a continuous mixed state…

I’ve been told by my GP that it might take more than 6 months to be seen by a specialist. I don’t know what to do. I am thinking about private insurance, but I don’t know if they cover for my condition and these types of appointments.

I am drowning in school work and I can still stay afloat somehow. I just need a bit of rest, a bit of rest I can’t afford…

Recovery

I am recovering…or am I?

Okay. Let me put you in theme with what happened in my life in quite recently. I had a seizure. Yes…a seizure. Epileptic kind of seizure, but I am not diagnosed with epilepsy. Think about collapsing, convulsions, not being able to control my body afterwards.

Sensory overload was the trigger. Light, sounds, smells were way too intense and disturbing. Especially light. I couldn’t open my eyes properly sometimes. Some other times, even with my eyes closed, it seemed like my eyelids weren’t able to protect me from light…

Ambulance, hospital…waiting for an appointment in a specialised clinic. Until then, I need rest. School work is piling up, called in sick at work but will have to return this Friday. I am overwhelmed and I think that I am being in a mixed episode again.

Anger issues. I started crying in the studio and had to run to the restroom where I cried for 1 hour…Back in the studio I couldn’t contain my tears. I am frustrated. I am frustrated that I can’t do the work I have to do, I am frustrated because people are irresponsible and lazy, I am frustrated because I tend to take responsibility and then everybody tends to step back.

When you are high functioning, you can’t properly rest. The world is burning all around me…

Depression makes me clumsy

Depression makes me clumsy and slow. It gives migraines and permanently teary eyes. Movement seems alien today. I am not able to hold a cup without spilling the contents. My hands are shaky, my vision is blurry, I can’t concentrate.

I want to stay in bed all day but I can’t afford it. I have so much to do. I usually don’t work weekends but leaving all I have to do for Monday it’s going to make me feel overwhelmed. I am going to tackle a couple of things, something is better than nothing.

Do you get brain fog? Because I do…the thing I hate the most is that I can’t read. I have to go over a paragraph over and over again. Books were my escape. I love to read. Depression is taking this joy from me. It traps me, leaving no way out…

This too shall pass…but when?

Frustration

I am not stable. I know that I am not stable because my mood swings every couple of hours. I was convinced that I am hypomanic, or that a hypomanic episode is about to start, but it seems that I’m really mixed.

Some recent events exacerbated these emotions and moods. My housemate, who also has bipolar, had a crisis two days ago. I called the emergency services for her, took care of her as much as I could (I was really agitated and truly hypomanic that day). She then ended up waiting for 5 hours in the emergency room…

The system is a mess, besides the support I have from university, I don’t feel like I am being supported at all. I am still on the waiting list for seeing a specialist.

I can say though, that today I had a small victory. I accompanied my friend to the doctor and then convinced her to go back on medication. It’s the first step.

I wish I could get involved more and help more people struggling with this vile disease. I certainly have to take care of myself first, to get back my strength, to find balance again.

I hope you are all doing well! Big hugs!