This is an honest and revealing post about my mental health.
For a long time I have struggled with depression and anxiety. For over 35 years or more, probably.
Sometimes it strays into very difficult-out-of-control-madness and sometimes (very, very occasionally) it's not there at all.
I am always aware of a 'paradox of art' running alongside a constant negotiation of my renogade mind. Drawing saves me, it cures me, calms me. I am re-embodied and restored when I draw. However I become ill if I am unable to make or draw or express. When I get a crisis of confidence, a creative block, not enough time or I am putting other things first I fall out of touch with myself. I disconnect with my art and I disconnect with my soul. Lack of art makes me ill and being ill makes a lack of art.
I'm not the first. It's common. A lot of people are open about it.
I am not normally able to talk about it publicly.
I have tried to hide my illness. The stigma. The shame. The self indulgence. The wrong attention. Whatever.
Now it's time to stop.
I have had to pause my studies.
I couldn't write.
I certainly couldn't make.
I was ill.
Now I am facing the shame of giving up. Of fielding the agonising thoughts that maybe I'm not good enough for this academic world. Or any world.
But I know I needed to just stop. I wasn't functioning. I was becoming sick to my being of constantly judging myself and my output and condemning us both as rubbish.
I waited so long to do this project. I want to go back to it when I'm in the right space to enjoy it. To live it and love it. Not feel constantly in battle with fear and lack of
And although it's hard, I'm digging deep to say I still like myself.
So if you read this and it feels familiar I hope it helps. Be kind to yourself. You're doing really well. x