When I began thinking about this week’s post, I toyed with the idea of having a painfully open discussion about how awful I’m feeling, but it serves no purpose to dwell on that darkness. I’m not afraid to reveal I’m struggling, that I have struggled for many years. It’s part brain chemistry and part circumstance, i.e. life. I’m a creative, passionate person who is far too sensitive for the world. I feel immense joys and sometimes suffocating lows. I also have an empathy dial set to maximum. It’s just who I am.
Sometimes, I think I’m overly connected to life–all life on this swirling marble. You can imagine now how I’ve been feeling these last seven days. It’s not something I can turn off. I’ve done that with medication (many different medications) and all it achieved was numbness and an inability to create art. So I deal with the up’s and down’s in my own way. There were many times as a teenager I dreamed of just leaving. I wanted to pack a bag, walk into the woods and not look back. Not so easy to do. I probably would have died of exposure or animal attack. Here are five things I can do and they’ve helped me pull through the dark times (and those times do always pass).
1. I’ve stopped watching all television news. So much of the media has become toxic and even untrustworthy. I know what’s happening in the world–I try to focus on knowing and not feeling. This doesn’t fully work, but it tones down my tendency to internalize the death and suffering going on in the world. It hurts but it doesn’t bury me.
2. I get out of the house. I go for walks. When I can, I go for walks in the woods. I collect feathers, stones and other bits of nature. I watch the clouds drift in the sky.
3. I take a break from Facebook. <– Everyone should unplug from that hell mouth from time to time. I fully support social media holidays.
4. I listen to music while I paint. I didn’t always do this. It’s something I began doing about 5 years ago and I’ve been happier for it. Preferably I like to pop in earbuds so I can completely shut everything else out.
5. I try to focus on happy distractions. My daughter. My cats. A video game I love. A book. A movie. Fan art. Fan fiction.
So, if you see me go quiet on social media it’s because I need to take care of myself for a bit. If I don’t comment on humanity’s obsession with hate and the mass murders going on around the world, it’s because I’m drowning in the pain. I have to process that pain. Channel it. Let it move through me and past me, so I’m left in one piece.