i’ve been thinking recently. a lot of people i know in real life and through things like twitter are regularly saying things like they’d like to do one thing or another but they’re scared it’ll fail or be shit. they’re basically letting their insecurities take over and prevent them from doing something they’re clearly passionate about.
so here’s the thing. when you see a successful artist, author or business you’re seeing what worked. you’re not seeing what they’re keeping hidden: the stuff that didn’t work. it’s very rare that you find someone who does something perfectly the first time, but they improve by doing it more often and learning. maybe your first attempts will be awful but if you’re enjoying it and improving then who really cares? if any of your projects ever make it big it’s unlikely it’ll be the first project you ever took on because, since then, you will have done more and improved vastly in that time.
learn, grow and expand.
i exhibited at a ‘yard sale’ of sorts over the weekend and the turnout wasn’t as high as the organisers had hoped and they came over at the end to apologise, but it was their first time. these things take time to build momentum and word of mouth. their confidence was knocked and i understand that but it reflects so much of what i’ve been saying on a very small scale.
it’s very easy to try something for 6 months to a year and have a level of success that doesn’t match what you’d hoped for, then think it isn’t working and drop it to try something new only for the same pattern to repeat itself. even more so when you do something once and it doesn’t meet your initial expectations.
i tweeted the other day that my monthly income vs outgoings have finally started to balance out. it’s been just over four years. for some people this will take even longer. it depends on the industry in which you’re operating and your own personal outgoings. take those things into consideration before giving up and trying out something else. if you’ve got the support and finances you can even try to do a couple of things at the same time.
I always find talking about my mental health weird and difficult, particularly in this kind of capacity. I’ve been meaning to do this forever though, and I guess some form of insight into what I’m like in my head wouldn’t go amiss. It’s often pointed out to me that I’m quite a closed off person so it’s going to be a bit of a push for me to open up.
I think one of the most difficult things is to say what exactly is “wrong” with me. I’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety but the longer I’ve gone, the more I’ve researched and the more treatments I’ve tried I’ve begun to realise they’re probably part of a wider spectrum of things. Before I was discharged from therapy I asked my therapist if they thought I had OCD as, from reading into it (the invasive thoughts among various other behaviours), it seemed almost certain to me that it was the case. We did a brief assessment, agreed it’s more than likely the case but I manage to control it to a decent level the majority of the time. The little things I do to control it go largely unnoticed now.
So to reiterate, I know some of the symptoms but I’m not totally sure of the exact illness. I’m ok with that, I don’t think it needs a label aside from if anything goes horrible again and I end up back in therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I benefitted a lot from therapy, I’d just really rather not go through it again. And that isn’t even really for the actual therapy element. My main issues were based in having to deal with my GP. They weren’t mental health specialists, which I understand. But my initial meeting was about anxiety attacks, feeling suicidal etc. You know, that old chestnut. They nodded along and wrote a prescription for Citalopram. I didn’t react well with Citalopram. It made my invasive thoughts a lot worse and I had uncontrollable urges to harm myself in a variety of unorthodox ways. After a couple of weeks of freaking out, hoping I’d settle into it, and doing my own research I discovered that with OCD and other “control based” mental illnesses, Citalopram is generally quite a bad fit. So I went back to change my medication and had to tell the GP what I needed, which was Fluoxetin/Prozac. I still didn’t get along with Prozac, it basically turned me into a zombie for about a year and I have very little memory of my time on it, but I wasn’t having panic attacks or freaking out every day so I stuck with it. In that time I was on a waiting list for therapy.
Therapy was good for me, even though I’ll admit I get really paranoid of people knowing things about me so I held back a fair bit of information. It’s odd but even though my therapist was there to help I still didn’t want them to know how violent my invasive thoughts can sometimes get. That’s the other thing, I’m not a violent person so to have thoughts like that really scared me. The line between what is just an invasive thought and what is an urge is sometimes very blurred and it’s distressing to think I was/am capable of such creative and aggressive thoughts. Right now those thoughts are very much under control because I’m generally in an ok place in my head. At the moment I’m just the kind of standard depressed person who doesn’t have the energy to do things I need to do (I write a to do list almost every day, with little things like household chores and even reminders to shower and eat included in it) but also never wants to sleep. I’ll literally stay awake until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. I’ve found Pokémon Go helpful with that, it means I’m out walking a lot so I end up more easily worn out and sleep better/more.
But yeah, I don’t really want to waffle on too much but I guess if you have any questions just ask? I’m usually quite open about it but I don’t like it being all over social media, so where possible I prefer to do it in private.