I have always been a creative person. The few times I have really thrived in my life, have all occurred when I was deep in the process of creating something – music, writing, drawing, painting, coding, designing, photography, problem solving, building a business. All of these things bring me joy. A few years ago I became very depressed and stopped creating. Fear of failure crippled me. And even though I had two small children and an amazing husband/best friend, I had no joy in my life. My fire was out. My soul had grown cold.
Then came the psychotic break. What started out as slight paranoia, turned into full blown delusions with auditory and visual hallucinations, and I was admitted to the hospital. My entire life was turned upside down. I remember thinking, “This can’t be my life.” But this was not part of the delusions. It was real, and it was terrifying. And, it was best thing that ever could have happened to me.
My first day in the hospital was hell. I knew no one. I trusted no one. I wasn’t even completely sure where I was. I was so scared. I cried the entire day. The only time the tears let up a little was during art therapy. But even then I struggled to create anything. I was so deep in my depression, for so long, that I didn’t even notice I had been swallowed whole.
It’s a little over 3 months since I got out of the hospital. So much has changed for me – all for the better. I have stronger relationships with my family and friends, and most importantly, with myself. I have found connections to things that give a deeper meaning to my life. I no longer feel like I’m unworthy or not enough. I am not only capable, but capable of great things. I have passion. My soul has been set on fire. Creativity fuels this fire. I decided to start this blog to document my creative sessions.
It is my much needed therapy.
The first two drawings I made while in the hospital were of this infinity symbol. My delusions had a very distinct theme of duality. At times I felt as though my soul was at the center of The War of Good & Evil. But I began to see it less as a war, and more of a delicate balance — Yin & Yang through infinity. I also started to gain some clarity about how negative & positive are not just things that exist in opposite of each other, but actually exist because of each other. How would you define good if there were no evil? How would you truly find joy & happiness if you hadn’t also experienced sadness & disappointment? Without these opposing forces, life would be flat. Emotions would be monotone. Expressed as color, black & white would be grey and expressed in form, infinity would be a straight line. So even though we try desperately to deny or avoid negative emotions or experiences, I now believe they are a necessary part of the ebb & flow of life. They are also temporary. Sooner or later the tide will turn and everything will seek balance.
This is a very comforting idea for me. My depression came with a very heavy theme of nothing-will-ever-change-ism. I felt permanently stuck. It seemed as though Herculean amounts of effort would be needed to even scratch the surface. I had a chronic case of the “can’t”s. Of course none of it was true, but when your manipulative self-talk spins its web of lies, it becomes the truth. Truth through simple belief. Now I am beginning to understand that when I am struggling, there is something I need to learn. Some erroneous belief or idea that I need to let go. Instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?” I’m starting to ask “What is the Universe trying to teach me?”
There is a great quote from the Dalai Lama,
The enemy is a very good teacher.
If negative experiences are an inevitability, I might as well gain something from it. If I can walk away with a little more knowledge or at the very least gain a little perspective, all is not lost. The infinite loop will go on and balance will be restored.
I think our time is up. Until next session.