Saturday, July 7, 2018
And that's just fine. I've let so many things go in the past few years anyway, and there's no going back.
This is about expectations of myself as well. Newly, I have none. It's much better to live this way than it ever was, pushing myself, challenging myself, goading myself, even creatively. Because I've learned that just about everything I do has the potential to create anxiety for me. And I cannot handle anxiety.
What just came to mind is many of the times in my past where I had absolutely impossible expectations of myself without any idea that I had them, because I had no sense...no sense of what I really needed and wanted, no clue about personal boundaries...and because I was hellbent to prove that I could/would do what I said I would do. A lot of failures followed, and of course, I blamed myself but for the wrong reasons.
Anyway, I'm just fine now, living my contented simple life while my emotions are in equilibrium. The truth is, I have days when I don't feel so great, physically. That's what being nearly 70 will do to you. I still feel so young in my heart...but I spend a lot of time resting my body these days, often still thinking I should be able to do more. Another expectation to let go of.
There are no new mountains to climb now. (I will move eventually, to a different place in Fortuna, but likely not for 2 or 3 years yet. That'll be a stressor, but I'll handle that when I get there.) I don't need any mountains anymore. I just need peace and quiet, lots of time to read, playing in my studio when I feel like it, staring out the window at the clouds or laying in the sun and doing the same. And that's just what I've got. So I feel very blessed indeed.
Monday, July 2, 2018
Yesterday, though, did not disappoint. I recently got a copy of Nick Bantock's Urgent 2nd Class, read it through, and then found, among other goodies, the two boxes of vintage mail below at the flea market.
I'm not really sure yet what I'll do with all this goodness, other than sort and organize at this point. But finding these does make me want to go through all the various vintage things I've got here and there and group everything together somehow. I've got pamphlets of various sorts, postcards (picture and otherwise), a few of those small vertical religious cards from funerals, etc. (which, despite being Jewish, I adore), some foreign currency, magazines, advertisements, various vintage office supplies, a calendar or two, old books of course. And most of it previously collected a piece at a time from used bookshops, garage, estate and rummage sales, library book sales, and the like.
I bought myself a chaise longue recently, and have spent time nearly every day out on it. I went to the beach yesterday when I was in Eureka, and will again tomorrow, to a different beach, when I go back for my monthly trip. I'll also make a stop at SCRAP Humboldt (creative re-use shop) in Arcata to find whatever goodies I can.
It's finally July, the real start of summer here on the North Coast. I'm planning to enjoy the heck out of it.
California is already burning, though, and it's not "fire season" for a few months. It's a year-round thing these days. There's thankfully nothing burning right in this area, but north, east and south, there are massive wildfires that continue growing before they're contained. And the federal government has cut back on wildfire prevention...
Hope you're having a glorious summer. If I don't post often here again, know this time that all is well and will continue to be. I'll write when I have something to share.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
I had this "superiority-inferiority" complex, where in my cuckoo mind I thought I was better than other people because I could get along with so little -- so little stuff, so little juice, and so little (self) love.
I was punishing myself for all those years, adding insult to the previously-perpetrated injuries.
I lived in such a way as to say to life, "I can do without whatever you have to offer...I'll show you!" Instead of turning lemons into lemonade, I learned to live without lemons at all.
I lived the stripped-down barren life that was dictated to me by my past. I still expected the past to somehow make things better for my present...like, if I could dredge it up enough, somehow things would turn out differently in the present (the very definition of insanity).
But those days are over, thankfully. I've begun adding back little flourishes into my life, small things that make life more enjoyable. I've opened my heart again to the world. I'm treating myself much more kindly. I'm counting blessings multiple times every day. It's only going to get better from here on out.
Thanks for being here. xx
Monday, June 11, 2018
Realizing that the depression has been/was a thing in my life, a major blockage if you will, has enabled me to see it as an entity apart from who I really am inside. An entity that was created, by me, in response to a lifetime of grief.
I have been aware of for a long time, albeit now far more keenly attuned to, the fact that there are two Connie's in this body of mine. Were I never aware of this, it's easy for me to see that I probably would have drifted into psychosis, as did my predecessor. Instead, I've had this overly strict superego that judges everything I do or say and always has, that's rendered me neurotic. Better neurotic than psychotic, I guess.
But maybe not. You have no idea how often I've said to myself, "Ignorance is Bliss," implying that if I weren't aware of the inner workings of my psyche, life would have been so much easier. I could have just been clueless in word and deed, and moved on. Rather than inwardly excoriating myself for everything I say and do.
The me I feel is the real me is the adult inner child, that innate playful, spontaneous, spirited, loving person, who was metaphorically beaten out of me at about age five. She's still inside, but buried very deeply. If I have any life goals, one of them is to free her before I die.
The other me, the one I've taken out into the world to do my bidding, is the me who was made by my environment. This me has gotten through life by reacting to everyone and everything, defending and protecting myself, pulling a lot of interpersonal shenanigans because I never learned how to play well with other people...basically doing whatever I had to do to scrape by. Clearly, I always did the best I could at the time, given the circumstances and who I was. But there's a lot back there in the past about who/how I was that saddens me deeply. Regret would be the right word here.
I've been on somewhat of a mission over the last three or four years, to express that regret to people in my past who were negatively impacted by my words and/or behavior. I've written letters, made phone calls, seen people, with no motive other than to apologize for being who I was at the time. I'm still making verbal faux pas occasionally, and apologizing for them. All the memes say to "never apologize for being yourself." But the me I feel I need to apologize for is the me I can hardly relate to any more.
The other life goal, if I have them, is to bring the two me's into alignment. So that who I present to the world is the soft, vulnerable, real, compassionate, loving person that I truly am inside. Instead of the other person I no longer want to be.
Monday, June 4, 2018
I am feeling better. And not just in a day-to-day functioning-in-life sort of way...
I've befriended this thing called depression and its role in my life. And this is what I've discovered...
The depression is a massive boulder of personal ancient history, that has kept me stuck and prevented me from moving forward in life...until now. I created this context for my injured soul when I was a child, as a way to protect myself from bad things (toxic people, confusing situations, difficult circumstances) over which I had no control, and it served to nurture me in the absence of actual human nurturance. When I felt threatened in any way throughout my life, I would go to that depressive place to lick my wounds.
So as much as the depression has been a millstone, it was also a balm, a place of great comfort for my wounded soul despite its life-sucking characteristics.
But depression is not who I am...I won't even own it by calling it mine. It served its purpose, and now I don't need it anymore. I may always need medication because of its impact on my biology. But I don't need it anymore to hide myself from the world...which doesn't mean this reclusive introvert is suddenly going to become a socialite 😉. It means that I'm going to honor myself, be good to myself, and live the rest of my life in a joyful way, letting go of that past that is not who I am.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
But then I lost confidence, as depression engulfed me again. And I've stopped painting now...until I feel stronger.
Art, for me, has always been "something to do," a way to utilize my creative skills...but I've never felt compelled to make art, like "Make Art or Die." For many people, art is what "saves" them, especially when they're going through difficult times in other domains of their lives. It's not that way for me -- I need to be feeling good inside in order to push forward with art.
And when I say "push forward," what I mean is going outside my comfort zone. In looking back over my life as a whole, I can see that I pushed through comfort zones, virtually endlessly, in every area of my life, because I had to. The only option would have been to vegetate, to stay totally stuck wherever I was. And being a survivor, that wasn't an alternative I could have chosen.
I can't push myself right now to venture beyond my comfort zone, creatively. What I'm really comfortable with is collage, so that's where my creative energy is focused these days. Albeit I'm currently doing less here than previously, because my back and neck have been bothering me lately. Still, collage is what I continue to gravitate towards when the mood strikes.
Too, I have a couple of small knitting projects in the works, very simple scarves made with my own handspun silk yarns from 10 or more years ago. Rather mindless, but keeps my hands busy. I also sometimes have "cutting jags," where I'll spend whole days cutting out ephemera for collage, which I find meditative.
I've had to let go of my expectations for myself, regarding painting, or the making of art in general. It might even be that those hidden expectations, even though I kept trying to convince myself I didn't have any, contributed to my becoming depressed again. Other than my interactions with people, which in nearly all cases have soured with time, all of the stress that I continually experience is internally generated. I see that; I know that.
The healing is about learning, mentally and viscerally, how to do everything differently. And that is my own personal Mt. Everest.
Thursday, May 24, 2018
The meeting with the doctor, who's now my new practitioner at the clinic, went well. He's young yet seemed quite knowledgeable about depression.
The decision about medication is that since we know my body tolerates Prozac, I'll take 60mg/day for six weeks and then see him again. If I've stabilized, I'll stay on that dosage until such time as I might need to change again. Then I'll go to 80mg/day, if necessary, same scenario. We'll find a new drug if Prozac subsequently doesn't work for the long haul.
I'm fine with that, and so relieved that I've got a medical partner now in this journey.
Those of you who are depressed or have friends or loved ones who are, know that there's no cure for depression. It's a matter of finding the right drug/chemical that will alleviate enough of the symptoms that you can function in life, and feel your best.
So here's to better living through chemistry. x
Monday, May 21, 2018
I've suffered with depression for my entire adult life. I've been on prozac/fluoxetine for the past 25 years, on a very low dose. I had about three really good years, after the drug took six months to kick in, back in the mid-1990s.
The truth is, my life has always been an emotional roller coaster (if you've followed this blog for the last several years, you'll know why), exacerbated in the last 20 years, I now see, by the fact that that antidepressant wasn't really working for me, or stopped being totally effective, years ago.
I started taking it when I lived in San Francisco and had Kaiser insurance. Since then, I've self-managed the medication, because I didn't have insurance (until Medicare) and couldn't afford psychiatric care (for medication management). Also, being the self-reliant, "I can do it myself" type, it honestly never occurred to me, since I've been on Medicare, that I could seek a doctor's help with the depression.
There's also this thing when you're chronically depressed, that even if/when you have periods of emotional equilibrium, when those times end, you don't realize you're depressed again. You think it's just who you are, to feel so bad inside.
Back in December of last year, I had the inkling to increase my dosage of prozac to 40mg/day from 20mg. So January through March of this year, I felt really great, better than I'd ever felt. Then I had a depressive crash in late March/early April, that I still haven't recovered from. It was only last week, when my closest friend suggested maybe my medication wasn't working, that I had the big AHA moment. It had just never crossed my mind previously.
Now I can see just how much time in the past 25 years (not to mention the preceding 20+ years) I spent in depressive periods, regardless of taking medication. And I can see how many of my physical symptoms of the last few years are likely related either to the medication no longer working, or the depression itself, or both. Shit.
I have an appointment with the MD at my clinic this Wednesday. I can't do it alone anymore. I need help managing the depression. I also have no illusions that I'll ever stop needing ADs.
Thursday, March 8, 2018
I'm not really back...but since I've had several requests to see my collages, I decided to do this post to let you know your options.
I'm really happy not blogging anymore. Really, it's a load off my mind. It's a real hassle uploading photos from my phone to the blog, because it takes forever for them to upload. Alternatively, I can download photos from my phone/GooglePhoto to Photoshop, resize them and then upload them to the blog, but that, too, is a hassle that I don't miss.
For a while I sent collage images to a friend via Messenger, but that felt much like blogging. So, your option, if you want to see my collages, is to join Instagram. I am uploading collages there several times a week. It's just so easy -- I take the image on my phone, and I upload it to IG. Period. No need to setup my computer as I need to do if I'm going to upload images to the blog.
I've setup an IG widget on the top of the right side bar here on the blog. Or, if you're already there, find me here, @connieandbeegee.
If you want to get in touch with me by other means, email me or get in touch via Messenger. Or we could be snailmates if you want, but you have to go first. I always reply. But I can't tell you how many people have asked to be my penpal, then I wrote first, and never heard back from them.
I love you all. And I'm really enjoying life post-blogging. xx