Thursday, April 28, 2016

Struggling

Well, crap. I mean, "HI!!!"

It's been so long since I have posted. I know. In truth, a lot has happened. Unfortunately, almost none of it happened in my studio. To say I have been struggling in every aspect of my life would be an understatement.

I sort of hit a wall recently. I fell into a depression for a few weeks, but I think it's been creeping up on me for a while. This wasn't a case of the blues, because the blues are excellent for painting. That's the super-productive artistic type of depression, and honestly? I sort of welcome those. I watch sappy tear-jerking movies (Beaches and Steel Magnolias still get me every time, you'd think they'd lose their power over all the years) and I paint for endless hours. My output is awesome with a case of the blues!

No, this time I had the kind of depression where getting out of bed just seemed like too much. I did it anyway, because I'm a parent and I'd die before I stopped being there for my kids... but the moment they were off to school, I pulled the shades, crawled back into bed, and tearfully went back to sleep. And it wasn't even good sleep! I swear, I haven't had a decent round of sleep for over decade.

I did things to try and loosen the hold depression had on me. I exercised like normal, thinking the natural endorphins and all that would snap me out of it. I ate healthy... then I ate poorly... then I ate EVERYTHING (every. thing.) How about painting my feelings? Nope. Not gonna happen. I even thought about quitting my art entirely. After all, what was the point? I sucked anyway, so why bother? Talk to a friend? Let's be honest here, no one actually wants to hear it, not even my husband. Nothing I tried worked.

But over the last week or so, it's started to get better.

I honestly can't explain why I started to shake it off, because nothing has changed. Where I stand now, I still want to crawl back in bed every morning but it's not as hard to fight the urge any more. I'm glad it has shifted, because my next step was to reach out to a doctor to get help. I know all too well how this depression thing works, as it's been a major fixture in my family since I was a child.

I will say, I don't think that this depressive feeling is unwarranted. I've seen others struggle with depression when it didn't come from identifiable sources. Maybe that's why I am starting to come out of this round by myself without help - because it comes from a LOT of places:

  • I have moved to a state that I'm not certain I like
  • I'm adjusting to actually having neighbors and people in my face all the time because I live in a neighborhood and there are just so many people here in this state comparatively (and I'm an introvert, so this is really hard - I've had more people in my house in the last few months because of contractors and bug people and lawn people and furniture people and plumbing or whatever people, than I have had the entire 15 years I lived in Vermont.)
  • My daughter is turning 18 and graduating High School. This is the end of "parenting" as I know it. I'm thrilled and heartbroken at the same time. This one is a biggie. I probably should have listed it first.
  • My studio is NOT working out as I had planned. I'm having a lot of art business related problems. Some are entirely my fault, while others are a product of the move, or - my favorite - being the outsider because I'm new here.
  • Family problems. But I'll not be over-sharing, so just imagine some appropriately angsty kind of stuff that aren't deal-breakers, but aren't fun either.
All that is plenty, and then I've been running myself ragged with a lot of activities. For example, we went to Paris for Spring break (PARIS! I had never been, and we figured it was a make-up trip for not taking any at all for so many years, and our last chance before my daughter was actually considered an adult.) Paris was awesome, and I'll cover that in a later post, but it was also completely exhausting. We walked 8-13 miles a day doing whatever it was we were doing. Lots to see, big city to navigate, and frankly a lot of stress because a foreign country is an unfamiliar place. (It was still awesome, though.) 

I think it's entirely possible that I exhausted myself to the point that the depression could finally put me in a choke hold. And maybe, while it wasn't ideal, maybe all that crawling into bed was something I needed to do. I don't know.

Anyway. I'm not feeling great about things, but it's getting better. I'm up, exercised, showered and dressed, sitting in my studio cussing out a few canvases and finally logging in a blog. I figure that's an improvement!

So that's the update on where my head has been for all these weeks... I'll be sure to post about Paris and more going forward next time! Here is the pitiful amount of art to come out of my studio during the previous weeks:

"My Heart" 8x10, oil on canvas, for Thrice Fiction Magazine. Available in my store.

and I finished the mermaid:

"Ebb" 9x12, oil on canvas panel. SOLD

2 comments:

Darcy said...

So sorry to hear that things have been so tough for you. Sending good thoughts your way and hoping that things continue to improve in your life.

Magic Love Crow said...

I am so sorry for everything you have been going through. I totally understand, and I hate to say it, but only you can conquer the depression. Keep talking! We are listening! Never hold anything inside! You can do it!!! Remember, to always love yourself! No matter what!!! Give yourself a big hug everyday! Sending you healing thoughts! Your two new paintings are wonderful!