Tunnel Vision

Yesterday, when I was at lunch with Michael, we sat and talked extensively…well I sat and talked extensively about the latest rut of depression I have been experiencing. The conversation actually started through muffled cries and rivers of tears streaming down my face the second we left the driveway. Yesterday was enough, and trying to get dressed just to leave the house proved to be more than I could bear in that moment. Its been very hard for me to get dressed lately, and on top of not being able to get through that simple task I am ridden with guilt and embarrassment because of the fact that I cant get through just putting clothes on my body. I cant get dressed because if Im experiencing any level of anxiety in the moment that Im trying to get dressed, my clothes feel and fit differently. The fabric is too tight, or the shirt is too short; or the back of my shirt doesn’t hang off of my body like the front of my shirt does. The best part is knowing what one article I could wear that would make all of that obsessive anxiety go away and its usually nowhere to be found.
Story of my life.

When I finally got comfortable and I feathered my still-super-short hair into a ruffled mess we promptly left so that I couldn’t become anxious or upset about anything else. The PTSD that developed over the past few years makes handling moments of anxiety especially worse because any loud sound, or sudden outbursts trigger a panic attack you’d have to see to believe. My oldest son suffers from Tourette’s, so he is always making loud unexpected outbursts or sounds.  I cant make this shit up, this is my life. My impulsive reaction when I hear a loud noise is to grab my chest, cover my eyes, then turn and face a wall… And quite honestly I have no idea why facing the wall makes that single moment when Im panicking better,but it does. So if you hear a loud noise or someone trips over an entire sculpture made of crystal pieces that somehow magically appeared when I was around just so someone could trip over it, and its the loudest sound to ever ring out into the universe– expect that you can find me hiding against the wall on the opposite side of a doorway somewhere.

I know, it sounds utterly ridiculous and really fucking stupid.

I recently had to cut my medication in half because although its an amazing drug for depression, its make the manic side of me so much worse and again, it is so much more than I can bear. My options lately basically boil down to me being so depressed and absolutely pathetically helpless, or so over-the-top manic that I cant stand to be in my own skin and I need to occupy myself, which involves me exhausting myself in the process. I know that when people talk about Bipolar disorder there is still this massive stigma surrounding it, that all Bipolar people are really fucked up and crazy and that sucks. It makes me not want to talk about it out loud because I have watched so many people fucking turn on me, that it makes it hard to overcome. The ones of you that know me understand that majority of the time Im pretty logical and level headed. At least I work very hard to uphold that kind of personality because outside of my crazy I do believe in being a decent citizen. Thats something else that is always on my mind- the idea that because someone suffers from a mental illness others assume they dont want to be decent people. Im just not even going to get into that one. Everyone thinks it, no one wants to admit it.

When Michael and I were on our way to lunch I slowly broke down. I was trying so hard to hold it together but I knew that a quiet devastating meltdown was coming and who the hell am I kidding. I expressed to him that its not just a normal bad day, that lately I have been really lost and I sadly feel like my brain, my thoughts, and my obsessions are getting the best of me.

My soul is flickering out, and Im slowly dying inside. The depression is killing me.

I have passed the point of being positively affected by others and their support and I have no interest in a lot of the outside world anymore. Any of my desires to associate with people on any level have dissipated and I dont care to show up to another outing, birthday party, family event, or commit to anything the requires me to interact with others using happy feelings that just simply arent there. I realized just recently that I dont care–really about anything, and Im exhausted from trying to keep up with the world and all of its need & wants. I am surviving at this point because there are people that depend on me and whatever little bit of life thats left in me is hanging onto that and thats it.

I was terribly disappointed by my father recently and I was doing a great job not thinking about it, but deep down Im not one to avoid things. I usually keep everything at the forefront of my thought processes so that I am always consciously aware of everything that is taking place in my life. Welcome to the fun part of my OCD- I might not wash my hands a thousand times but I cant wear certain fabrics or use a washcloth for more than one purpose and I can think the shit out of my own thoughts while making myself fucking insane.

When Michael & I arrived to lunch we had to sit in the car for a good 20 minutes so I could collect myself because I was so visibly upset I couldn’t possibly walk into any establishment and not panic. I told him that although I am not suicidal, I dont have anymore fight left in me and I have secretly been giving up. Its one thing to recognize and accept that you have a multitude of mental illnesses but its another devastating situation entirely when you realize that it will be with you for the rest of your life and maintaining wellness is so much harder than everyone makes it seem. I manage a a wide spectrum of issues, so one medication will never be a good fit; something will always be exacerbated by something else- and this vicious cycle will be my life. During much of my alone time I think about how to explain the way I see my life with mental illness to others; and yesterday I told Michael “The rut of illness that has consumed my life is like a long, dark, endless tunnel. People come and go and from time to time that makes me feel better, but I cant leave and there seems to be no hope on either end of this.”

I’d love to exercise some super-motivated notion about turning the bad stuff into good stuff and feeling all the good things but Im a very dimly lit soul– and I cant. I cant, and Im not going to pretend to turn bad things into good things and keep my chin up and think positively so positive things will happen to me just so everyone else can feel fine. Its real. And it sucks. And Im exhausted. Ive exhausted myself trying so hard to pretend that Im dandy when Im really fucking shot. I cant keep up with you or anyone else and sleep is my only friend and comfort at this point. I have no more advice for anyone else that needs a long winded feel-good conversation and I dont give a single fuck about anyone else’s senseless drama because I have accepted I just need to work on staying alive and somewhat cognitively aware of life in general. My father has sucked the emotional life out of me and I dont have anymore care left in me to watch him cry away his shame & guilt. He will learn one day that settling down and getting his shit together are the only healthy options he las left . Not my problem anymore.

As for myself, I know in my heart that I want to live and I want to feel alive but I also know how consuming depression and bipolar can be, especially when coping has manifested into an entirely different beast. I cant walk around and pretend that I have them but dont struggle with them, just so everyone else can be comfortable. These diseases are present and very very real, and it has an effect on me every single day. Every time I put clothing on, every time I try to cook food and it tastes slightly off so I dont eat, every time I try to ride in a car and my heart is pounding twice as hard as usual. Every time I wake up and go throughout each day, they’re there and I need to deal with these things so I can function appropriately in society and in my own home around the people that I love. Forgive me father, friends and anyone else that things Im being selfish, but I cant help you anymore. I have to help myself.

-A

 

Fly Away On My Zephyr

“I feel it more than ever, and in this perfect weather…we’ll find a place together.” 

I have been hooked on fabrics lately. What I mean is, I keep having all these beautifully brilliant/conceptual ideas for images to create that center around fabric. I love the way it dances with the human body and the way those subtle waves that move throughout mimic our emotions in that moment. So today I finished the second image in whats turning into my fabric series. The tones in this image are cool but welcoming, much like my prior dress image. I feel as though I may dance along this path in temperature for a while because often times I find that looking at the final product being cool in nature is not only satisfying, but relaxing to my crazy mind as well. I hope you enjoy this image as much as I do.

This was another collaborative piece I worked on with Michael J. Huxley Photography! Exercising his lighting techniques are a sure-fire way to make a great idea into an amazing image, along with all of his other amazing talents in this realm of art. Be sure to visit his website and browse through his beautiful and evoking gallery! Have a good evening friends.

-A

Zephyr

Escaping Reality

We all have coping mechanisms… even if that mechanism is avoidance and running- its still a mechanism. Yesterday in an effort to run as far away from reality as I possibly could I did a mini-shoot. I think the neutral/cold tones and fantasy related edits speak for themselves.

 

Oh, to get away.

Long Lost Something

To Welcome Spring

Lately I have had the art itch like crazy! I have been very motivated to make so many different things, along with planning some new images. I sat down yesterday to work on a watercolor painting, and I painted for around five and a half hours- only to be sorely disappointed at the final outcome. I was trying to paint a mermaid scene, and thought the fin/tail and hand/arm (I CAN NEVER PAINT HANDS!) came out reallllllly good, the rest fell together into a heap of soggy garbage. I was so upset with myself that I didnt get it right, and at first thought “well I just try it again…”

But as the evening went on I was still too disappointed in the painting and myself that I quickly dismissed the idea. I had to force myself to get my mind off of it, or I would surely lose sleep over something of little importance. I promised myself that even though I am sick of painting this week I was going to try again until I got something I was satisfied. I decided I needed something very simply and easy to sketch, but gorgeous in element. Then it hit me… Tomorrow (now today) is the first day of Spring! I decided on something with flowers and wanted to incorporate a woman, maybe Mother Earth- the goddess of life as we know it. I wanted to do something very different with the skin, but a subtle change that was easy on the eyes. I incorporated a lot of color into an 8×10- and the final result: To Welcome Spring.

Painting by Anastasia
Painting by Anastasia

Thanks for stopping over, see you soon!

Love & Light,

-A