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?

 

Early morning musings

It’s 5:20 AM. I know that I am becoming unwell. Sometimes I can just feel it. It’s making me angry. Because of this, I’m often thinking that my disorder is not real, that I am faking it. It’s turmoil. 

But enough about me. I am not worried about myself right now, I am more angry at the society we live in. A society where telling your employer about your problems can get you fired. A society where men are considered weak for crying. A society where we are told to keep our problems to ourselves, where talking about mental illness is still frowned upon. 

I am sick and tired of this, and i just want to tell you that you are worth it, beautiful, awesome, wonderful. Your mental illness is not making you weak. You deserve a medal. You are strong. I love you. I care about you. I am going to be by your side. I don’t want to see you checking out of this place. You are worth it. You deserve the best. You deserve happiness. I care. Because you and me are the same. Same stardust. This is a message for you…and it’s a message for me. 

I know that the following days are going to be tough. I know that I might need a bit more help than usual. I know all this. 

I accept it. I am a warrior and will always be one. And so are you!!

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.

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!

How do I manage?

I had a bad night last night. At least this time I know the triggers. To put you in theme, I am an architecture student, in my final year of study, I need a job, and I have bipolar disorder.

Yesterday I received my timetable for this academic year and as soon as I’ve seen that I am only going to have 2 days off my legs turned to jelly. How am I supposed to keep this strict routine I need in order to function? How am I supposed to combine work and study? How am I supposed to keep my balance on such a thin wire?

The good thing is that I have the mental health support team who can help me when it comes to deferrals and accommodations, even so, being given how unpredictable this illness can be, nobody can guarantee how I am going to feel tomorrow or in a couple of weeks. Am I going to have more depressive episodes? Am I at risk of going into full blown mania because of stress and pressure? Only time will tell.

Oh well, oh well, I am still hoping for the best!

 

Coming out of the closet

I did it. I wrote about my fight with bipolar disorder and my experience on my social media. The kindness of people overwhelmed the few mean and ignorant messages. I’ve been feeling lighter and free ever since.

I am back in my depressive mood, but it’s not so bad. The dark thoughts are not here. They left me since I started the mood stabilizer medication. I am grateful for that.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you, for keeping me going!

Talking about Bipolar

I am having this question on my mind: would it be okay to talk openly about my diagnosis and advocate for mental illness, break the stigma around it, make my contribution, or should I just not talk about it for now…

I said that I am fully accepting it. Why am so scared of how my friends are going to react? I am torn between talking about it and wanting to hide it. The thing is, I am not the person who doesn’t speak her mind. I am the person who always stands up for others, the advocate.

I guess I am going to risk it…hiding this is a great burden. I’d rather lose some of my friends and connections than keep it a secret. If they run, they were not good friends in the first place. What do you think? Which were the reactions you got? Are you able to talk openly about it?

 

The big “D”

Did I make you smile? If so, that’s great (you dirty minded people, I love you).

I am going to talk about the big D. And the big D stands for Depression. Yes…I am sorry I spoiled the fun, but that’s what depression is doing to me. Spoiling all the fun.

So, coming down from hypomania, I know that depression follows. It comes with hypersomnia, executive dysfunction, migraines, isolation. To help you imagine how it looks like, I am going to paint a picture of myself at the moment: on the couch, not enough energy to move more than a couple of meters. Baggy clothes (sometimes pyjamas I wore for the last couple of days), messy hair, plates on top of plates on the coffee table. Cups, mugs, pencils, sketching paper, lists, paint brushes. All the things I said I am going to do and then they end up in a big pile next to me. Reaching them seems like climbing Everest.

I think that it is obvious that I hate this state. I always say that I am going to be prepared for the crash. I sometimes think that the hypomanic me can sometimes make a lot of things and take care of the depressed me. It never happens, because those days of high energy seem so far away and I am so absorbed in this slow, bleak mess.

I know it’s going to pass, at the same time I can’t help it and feel it in my bones. The lack of vitality, the desaturated colours around me, the cold light coming through the window.

It’s going to get better. The luscious colours are going to come back once the depression goggles are off. Until then, maybe I can paint them…

Weekend

I have been very busy these weeks. I am back on track, or so I think. Out of my hypomanic episode, but I did not crash so hard this time. I guess the mood stabilizer is working.

I am really satisfied with the work I’ve done this week. I participated in a summer academy urban design project in a town nearby. It was challenging and my team has been the “outsider” team. I say this because we were all coming from abroad, not Germans, here as exchange students.

Very important, I managed to work in a constant rhythm while being in my depressed mood. I also managed to present in front of 200 people while my anxiety was eating at me and the constant thought in my mind was “please, don’t throw up here in front of everybody”. And I didn’t. No panic attacks. Everything went well.

I have met some really nice people. We’ve been noticed as a team and our project appreciated and the whole experience was a great networking opportunity.

I am grateful for this busy, challenging and interesting week. I am grateful for being a bit more in control of my mood. I’ll keep moving forward, and if I’ll stumble I know that I can pick myself up.