The Conflict of Creativity

The Conflict of Creativity

Truthfully, I don’t know how this will turn out. Right now, my brain is processing the existential crisis of life at levels I can’t quite cope with.

But, it’s been a while since I updated this blog, which is a good thing. It means I’ve felt okay. I still do, but there’s something eating at me right now and I must express it in a form that suits my hunger, my one true love: writing.

I’ve had an epiphany as of late. I think I’ve chosen chaos. I think all creatives have.

What’s a creative? The definition lends itself to several interpretations. Mine is a person that uses their mind for artistic and innovative expression, a person that wants to change something in their field, a person that won’t settle for anything other than greatness — someone that wants to be something through their individualistic thought and expression. Basically, people who create and won’t settle.

What’s settling? Settling is anything resembling the normal life, which itself is up to interpretation.

Why can’t you settle? Because settling is not chaos and a true creative must live in chaos.

Great art and expression comes from unpredictability, growth and emotion. In order to achieve those states, you must constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone, try new things and never settle.

While that may seem poetic and bold, it’s not; it’s sad, lonely and isolating.

Finding like-minded people is a daunting task that creates more disappointment than triumph. Even when you find people who can somewhat understand you, it’s never a complete understanding, as that’s genuinely impossible.

A creative also has a mix of severe egotism and crippling self-doubt combined with low self-worth. Serotonin comes from our work. It’s a mix of validation from the public and the creative’s own satisfaction after days, weeks, even months of working on a project and finally seeing the vision become reality.

It’s genuinely, a frightening dependency. It leads to writer’s block, depression, anxiety, panic and alienation, when it goes wrong. Even when it goes right, the process has moments of perceived failure. Nothing great ever came easy.

This is the path I’ve chosen.

I wouldn’t recommend it. In fact, I envy the people who are perfectly fine living a simple, normal life with a stable job, a spouse, kids, all of that. That’s just not me. I don’t want that life. Truthfully, I don’t know if that will ever change.

That doesn’t make me better, it just makes me crazy.

I’m grinding, and pushing, and hurting for this one chance, this shot at achieving my dreams. And I’m a dreamer, I’ve always had my head in the clouds.

I’m willing to make any sacrifice necessary. For me, there is no plan B. I haven’t given myself a safety net.

This is dangerous thinking, and I understand that. But to achieve your dreams, you must jump both feet in without a life-preserver. And despite all your prep, all your work and playing out every scenario in your head possible, when that time comes to jump in, there’s no guarantee you’ll swim.

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I lost the battle, but not the war

I lost the battle, but not the war

Let’s address the obvious.

I haven’t updated this blog since May despite enjoying the freedom of expression and lack of restriction talking about a stigmatized disease.

While I regret not posting more, I admit it wasn’t until this past September that the reasons for not posting had nothing to do with being “busy.”

Over the summer I had the great opportunity to report for the Chautauquan Daily and spend a summer with some of the most genuine and talented people I’ve ever met. And while I enjoyed my time, in hindsight throughout that period I battled mild depression and lack of motivation.

Then came school: Early September.

Two weeks into my senior year the stress of seemingly losing my career path, social relationships and my own disregard for myself led to a downward spiral that threatened my ability to graduate.

Missed classes, missed meetings, missed events, missed friendships, missed time; all stemming from a chemical imbalance in my brain that would not cease.

I would lay in bed, unable to get up, eat, sleep, anything really.

Depression came back and hit me like a bus. Despite all the work, all the coping mechanisms, all the insight, all the talks, all the techniques — it came back.

Depression is kind of like a horror movie villain, it never actually dies no matter what you do and is always waiting for the sequel.

And this time — it got the best of me.

It didn’t care about my responsibilities or opportunities, it just swooped in and knocked me back.

For those of us afflicted; we’ve been here before.

Sadly, it comes with the territory.

But eventually, you persevere.

When you persevere, you do something great.

Despite feeling held back, once you’re back on the horse, you thrive.

But as someone in a support group once told me;

“I do good for a month or two and then all of the sudden things fall apart.”

It’s one of the most simple, but clear, explanations of depression and mental health as a whole.

I want to be the person with answers, but in truth, I’m just as lost as anyone else, maybe more-so.

I’ve accepted that depression is and will always be apart of my life.

But I’ll be damned if I let it beat me.

See, I used to be the person that threw out cliches’ like “it gets better,” and “this will pass” and to a point, it does, but it must be managed.

If this piece seems conflicted, well that’s because depression is conflicting.

I look back at my “tips for seasonal depression,” and it sickens me. It gives off this perception that it isn’t okay to give in, but you know what, shit happens.

Sure, it would be better if it didn’t happen, but it’s difficult, especially when you’re in it.

It’s okay to lose the battle. I lost the battle. I lost the time. Many have.

Don’t be ashamed.

As long as you get up one day, you’ll continue winning the war.

In the end, that’s what matters.

Don’t beat yourself up. Continuing to stew on the “what if’s” will only impede progress.

If you get up — you’re fighting, you’re scrapping, you’re winning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contemplative Confessions: The One I Loved

Contemplative Confessions: The One I Loved

You.

You’re the only girl I ever loved.

With you, I felt like I could be myself. No games to play, no pretending to be interested in things I didn’t care for, no tiptoeing around certain subjects for fear of offending you. No, with you, I was me, the me few know.

Conversation, interaction, attraction — effortless.

Even when we fought it became a battle of wits, and you were a worthy advisory. Despite the distance, we never lost contact, and I tried to make it work.

To a point, it did.

In different circumstances, we would have been together.

But.

You didn’t love me. Because you wouldn’t do the crazy thing to make it work. You stayed practical, measurable, all business, like a CEO, ironic that was your dream job.

Yet even with that knowledge,  You didn’t want to let me go, you loved the fantasy, you kept up the mysticism of how we stayed in touch — for a while.

And yet, you didn’t want to see what could have been.

Maybe you were scared, maybe you just saw it to a certain point. I guess I’ll never know, nor do I care to.

You moved on. I moved on. It’s over. Whatever fantasy or dream either of us had has dissipated in the realms of reality.

You told me recently you don’t like thinking of what could have been — that’s fair.

Personally, I think it could have been great, but I accept the shroud of falsehood beckoned but never fulfilled.

You are no longer the pedestal I hold every other woman up to, because a pedestal’s bound to wither and break.

Consciously, I was over you quickly, but subconsciously, you still haven’t left. You probably never will, but that’s ok.

To trash you would ignore what you did for me. You showed me I don’t have to run from who I am.

In this new incarnation of myself — I’ve never felt better. Through the storm, I’ve found the sun and can finally move past you, for real this time, continuing my path with new eyes of perspective.

A Night of Coping

A Night of Coping

It started with a drink.

One drink to loosen up.

To ignore the annoyance.

To take the pain away.

 

It started with a drink.

Two drinks to let go.

To drown out the noise.

To move on.

 

It started with a drink.

Three drinks to have fun.

To interact with the crowd.

To lighten my mood.

 

It started with a drink.

Four drinks to forget.

To erase unpleasantness

To feel whole again.

 

It started with a drink.

Five to blow up.

To lash out.

To force violence.

 

It started with a drink.

Six to breakdown.

To realize what’s been done.

To hate myself.

 

It started with a drink.

Too many to count.

To lose my surroundings.

To take the pain away

 

It started with a drink.

There’s none left.

A night shattered.

Latched in regret.

To take the pain away.

Contemplative Confessions: Hindsight

Contemplative Confessions: Hindsight

You.

I’m sorry.

You didn’t deserve my games.

It’s out of my nature.

To this day I wonder why I did it.

Why I lashed out.

Why I got so intimate mentally only to pull away.

I’m sure it was difficult on you.

If I could go back, I’d do things differently.

I’d give you a chance.

But that time has passed.

You moved on and so have I.

Would I be up for another try?

Yes.

But do I deserve that?

No — I don’t.

I think its human nature to wonder what could have been. God knows I’ve had several chances with you and still something inside held me back. I was looking for perfection, but that doesn’t exist.

Left to my own devices, I feel some sort of regret.

I do believe everything in life happens for a reason, and I believe me not reciprocating your feelings was what fate decided.

But I still don’t see why I didn’t just give it a try.

I guess the lesson’s learned through the casualty of experience.

You’re the first girl I hurt, but probability says you won’t be the last.

I guess the hurt’s come full circle at the possibility I denied and the path I refused to cross.

 

Contemplative Confessions: To the confounding communicator, or lack thereof:

Contemplative Confessions: To the confounding communicator, or lack thereof:

You,

I don’t hate you. Hate’s a strong word, I couldn’t possibly think in such a destructive way.

But I don’t like you.

I did at once.

Ok, that’s not true either, you just drove me crazy. The ambiguous nature of your actions, the silence locked in your lips, the lack of awareness, care, empathy, understanding and overall obliviousness to the back-and-forth plight you put me through.

Charming, to say the least.

Sarcasm aside, your negativity drew me in. Maybe it’s because my brain’s naturally wired to embrace the cynic. I still don’t know what you wanted from me. If I had to guess, I think you just liked playing with me and enjoyed the entertainment. I’m a clown at heart, but that’s the only side you ever embraced.

I can’t completely blame you, I fell for the game hook line and sinker.

My friends knew something was up, but I didn’t heed their advice, my interest was piqued. I couldn’t figure you out and I refused to accept it.

I dug for something more under the shallow surface in vain.

But who am I to say that’s all you are. The truth is I don’t know you, I thought I did. To me, you embodied a fantasy, but my vision detracted from the reality. I’ve accepted this. I’m moving forward. I have much more important things to deal with than you.

But tell me this?

Why do you continue to linger in my life? I think you miss the clown. Sorry, but I’m not performing for the ones that constrict me to a box.

Even if the audience is beautiful.

 

Clinical Depression is not “being sad”: A transitional introduction

Clinical Depression is not “being sad”: A transitional introduction

 

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@svetz17

“You just need to buck up.”

“Get over it.”

“Quit whining.”

“Move on.”

“Be happy.”

You’ve heard at least one of these clichés in your life during times of strife and discourse.

Situationally, these cliches can hurt in the moment regardless of the problem weighing you down. Whether it’s trouble in a personal relationship, career trajectory, grief or even just the simple “bad day,” we all hurt. Due to the melancholy surrounding  you during these times, people just want you to “get over it.”

And you do.

Life goes on. You work out the personal relationship, change career paths, get through the grieving process and rebound from that one bad day. However, for people with clinical depression, these everyday challenges can become substantially more difficult to overcome because their mind actively fights to maintain the low and continue the pessimistic view.

I know this because I was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 11, but I can think back to feeling different and unhappy during preschool.

Depression is a universal trait that any living thing can succumb to. Many people experience tough times leading to situational depression, which can be worked out over time. Eventually, they get over the issue and move forward. Clinical depression comes from hereditary genetics, but doesn’t fully manifest itself unless a trauma occurs, usually during childhood or adolescence.

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My trauma isn’t abuse or a bad family life, I’ve lived a comfortable life and my parents have been incredibly supportive of my endeavors.

My trauma was knowing I was different compared to my peers as early as five years old. That feeling of isolation and alienation that sets in when you aren’t like every other five year old and teachers don’t think you’re “normal” because you aren’t mindlessly enjoying being a kid can be quite detrimental to your self-esteem and self-worth.

It creates a chemical imbalance in your brain that makes you attracted to negativity, sarcasm, cynicism and skepticism. Additionally, it pushes your view to focus on the negative and take less light of the positive subconsciously. It also leaves you susceptible to falling into feelings of hopelessness, low self-worth, low self esteem, sadness and suicidal thoughts due to the inability to see things getting better. But, it blesses you with a unique and enigmatic perspective. It grounds you in reality and strengthens your analytical view, insights, critical thinking and makes you challenge what constitutes “normal.”

While everyday challenges can become more difficult due to the chemical imbalance and pessimistic-leaning perspective, it can be managed. When controlled, mental illness fosters great creativity and other desirable traits.

 

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With that, I want to bring you into the mind of the clinically depressed.

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I want to help eliminate the stigma surrounding it and show with proper therapy, medication and coping skills how a unique perspective to challenge the world can be a blessing. I’m not saying I speak completely for everyone afflicted, but, I hope with a combination of perspective writing, poetry, short fiction and reflections I can improve understanding and showcase the different thought processes and viewpoints someone with clinical depression has to the everyday interactions of life while also expressing my joys, hopes, frustrations and fears with the world authentically. Hopefully, my writing shows others afflicted with clinical depression and other mental illnesses that they aren’t alone and there are people who feel the same way they do and have been there before.

Who I am has a lot to do with how my perspective differs from many due to clinical depression, essentially it’s an identifying trait that dually curses and blesses me.

The truth is, normalcy is all in perspective and it’s time to let you into our “normal.”

I’ll also touch on stigma and viewpoint of mental illness as a whole to demystify and improve understanding towards mental illness. Clinical depression is not “being sad,” it’s a unique perspective that happens to lean towards pessimism. When untreated, it can become overwhelming and destructive, but when monitored and treated, the depressed change and challenge our world.

If I still feel like I can’t comfortably circle on a job application that I have a mental illness or can’t openly admit to having a mental illness without fear of stigma, or even worse—pity, than despite the growing understanding and acceptance of depression and other mental illnesses, there’s still work to be done.