It was (is) long and rambly, talking about a new projects I’m working on and some other random thought dump-type stuff. I’ve rescheduled it for Monday, so keep an eye out if you want.
Today, though, I woke up to this weight sitting on my chest, like I’d fallen asleep holding a child, a pressure like fingers wrapping around my throat, not choking, but reminding me of the air going in and out in a way that is usually unnoticeable. I didn’t have a child on my chest (thank god, this would be a very very different blog post. Completely unrelated note: Has anyone every liveblogged a kidnapping? If not, I CALLED IT for 2017. You better remember you heard it here first.)
I have depression, but I haven’t actually reached its depths in a while, maybe a year or even more. Sure, I get sad, but it’s not the overwhelming emptiness that comes with a real Down Day. The kind where I can’t even remember happiness, where I’ve sunk to the bottom of a deep, narrow well and neither the idea of drowning nor the idea of looking up can move me. It’s been a while since a real Down Day. Recently when I get sad it’s just Normal Sad, and that’s good. Fingers crossed it stays that way.
But yeah. Usually, my depression… manifests? performs? as, well, depression. But recently, it’s been a lot less of that, and a lot more of an intense, constant, corrosive anxiety. If you’re wondering “about what” then I envy your gorgeous world under that rock. Stay there.
While, honestly, I’m THRILLED that it seems like the Down Days are becoming less frequent and I would take this anxiety over those any day of any week, I am also feeling a little… Well… Anxious. (About being anxious. I’m great at parties.) The thing is, I am not completely sure how to handle this new development. My coping mechanisms for depression all center around feeling less sad, but although I am sad for The World at large and also My World at tiny, the more overwhelming feeling is this constant screaming, this clawing at my belly that makes regular thought impossible, that makes my actual physical heart beat physically faster, that makes me wake up feeling like I’m being slowly smothered.
I… think the way to calm this rush is to concentrate very hard on something else, and also to relax and breathe and hear yourself talk. I say I think, because again: this shit is new to me, and although I have been driving this brain around for 26 years now, I still stumble upon new tricks all the time. Insert a driving metaphor here, I can’t think of one, but I’m sure you’ll think of a good one.
I’ve been working on a really tiny scale lately with polymer clay and paintings and papier mâché, and the level of attention needed to work with such fine details has been incredible for relaxing me into the zone or flow or zen or whatever is the cool word for “escaping a state of eternal panic.”
Ambient/dreamy songs + sculpting tiny tiny stalagmites = anxiety cure? You heard it here first! If that comes up in Psychology Today in a month and I’m not quoted I’m coming after you, punk.
Just kidding. Art therapy is a real thing already, and it’s exactly what I clumsily stumbled into while trying to self-regulate. Relax! Here’s an aggressively calming song:
I’ve been Really Really enjoying watching artists who sink into their art with the express purpose of exploring their own mind, rather than trying to entertain other’s. I recently found JooYoung Choi, and GUYS. Her process, the way she follows her own imagination wherever it wants to go, regardless of medium or audience, is EXACTLY what I wish from my own art. I encourage you to watch this, then go look through her entire portfolio, it’s wonderful. She began creating to promote self love, and pushed herself to create at the frequency of a professional artist.
“When you see other people at a certain momentum, you start to vibrate that way. I made a schedule for myself. I’d wake up at 7, get on the bus, take the train and get to Lawndale [her studio] at 9:30 or 10. For the first month, I was very rigid about that. I made a syllabus for myself. I made a list of everything I was insecure about as an artist… and said I was going to learn how to do it.” –JooYoung Choi
I’m not really sure why I’m writing all of this except… I just feel like maybe you want to read it and see someone else is working through it too. Or else you will read it and realize this is an experience you’ve never had before, and feel grateful that it’s happening to me and not you. Either are good. I hope you feel better now. I hope I feel better now too.