I recently read this article
Is everything you know about Depression wrong? – Article by Johann Hari
“If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs – for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life.”
This resonated with me so wanted to say something about it.
I was struggling / pill popping for years on instruction by my GP (and diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder) until one day 3 years ago I decided to stop, look deeper into the cause and take control of my life. Sometimes I lose that control, and before I know it I’m back in the pit of despair (as I am now at the time of writing this), feeling as though I’m not in the right place, with no real connection with anyone, resenting friends and family and wanting to isolate myself further from them. Although I am here right now (and have been for the past few days), my little voice has just reminded me that it is not the lack of connection with others that is causing me to feel this way, it is the lack of connection with my SELF. If I were truly connected to my SELF I would feel content, joyful and energised, with no bad feeling about myself or resentment towards anyone.
The question is how does one reconnect with SELF?
Its hard writing this and thinking of things while I am feeling like this, so I’ll try to imagine the last time I felt well, joyful and energised.
What was I doing?
- I was writing every morning
- I was getting dressed as soon as I woke up
- Walking to school
- Eating Breakfast
- Drawing, drawing and drawing
- 2 hours per week volunteering – helping others
- More drawing, drawing and drawing
- Facilitating Workshops
Now writing this you could say that during that time I was distracted from my own mind. This is most definitely true and a good thing as I’ve come to realise that being constantly connected to my mind can bring on over thinking, which leads to anxiety which then leads to depression, fatigue and feeling of complete disconnection. Doing what my soul SELF loves – drawing, writing and helping people is what keeps me alive physically and mentally – not doing these things turns me into an empty shell that has trouble existing.
The power before the phone,
the ring before the tone,
the magic we shall atone,
our place within the throne.
These are the beat of the drums,
the swaying of our thumbs,
the lining of our tums,
filled with our ladies hums.
Along with bring inspired by dull places that I see while I wait, I am inspired by people watching.
I often wonder what people’s stories are, how they are feeling, what makes them laugh, when was the last time they cried etc
This curiousity and the artist Jim Lagasse inspired this quick painting. I wonder where they are going and what they dreamed about last night…
Yesterday I spent the entire day exploring as a tourist at home in Manchester. The day started off with a water taxi tour along the Bridgewater Canal viewing the canal banks full of street art, and further down the many tents pitched, reminding us of our cities’ homelessness crisis.
After a relaxing and insightful cruise down the canal we headed up to the John Rylands Library to engage in its amazing architecture and magical atmosphere and then wandered upto the Northern Quarter for a bit of street art spotting, followed by a walking tour around Ancoats, learning about the Cotton Mills and the regeneration and construction over the last 5 years or so.
All in all the day made me realise how much I am proud of where I am from and how much there is to learn about this ever changing city!
Here is a little watercolour painting I did today to remind me…
So it’s Sunday late afternoon and I’m waiting in the busy arrivals lounge at Manchester Airport. I’m early so I’m sat facing a not so busy Boots shop, all I can see are rows and rows of products, sun tan lotion, hot water bottles (?!), travel pillows etc the usual ‘necessary’ products…
After 10 minutes or so I’m still waiting and I’m growing bored of the view, I want to see something more so I close my eyes. When I open them I see this…
A little dinosaur wanders past, wearing flip flops, oblivious to the paradise that has now blossomed in the shop, palm trees, butterflies, heliconia flowers and hibiscus flowers in full bloom, and all he’s concerned about is gorging on his cheese and tomato wrap!
What do you see while you wait?
I was looking out of the bathroom window at my deceased grandparents house, it felt like I was in the 1930s or 1940s. It was in the middle of a rainy wet night, the sky was filled with gorgeous shiny stars and swirly shapes and I was loving what I was seeing.
However, as I looked down I was startled to see an angry pig man and a mean looking woman staring up at me. I quickly pulled the purple blind down to shelter from their gaze!
I drew this as soon as I woke up and while doing so began to think about why I had this dream. Dreams are all about YOU / Self and can highlight deep feelings and emotions and offer solutions.
How did I feel in this dream? At the beginning…happy, mesmerised and curious. By the end…Vulnerable, judged and watched.
What I take from this message from ‘Self’ is to carry on dreaming (as I was looking out of the window) and not worry (close the blind) if I see people taking notice (angry pig man & mean woman). I’m never going to please everyone, but must keep being myself doing what makes me feel happy.
Waiting can sometimes be boring, it can be frustrating, it can stir up feelings of worry and anxiety, especially if you have somewhere to be.
This was a place that I used to find myself in quite regularly, until I learned to let go of the things that were beyond my control. Learning to meditate helped this process. It enabled me to calm myself down while waiting, realising that there was nothing I could do to hurry the wait but clear my mind and avoid the worry thoughts that would inevitably kick start anxiety.
Always having a notebook and pen to hand helps. It allows an escape from the current ‘real life’ situation into that of my creative imagination, which in turn creates more creativity, rather than anxiety!
These images are the first of a series ‘While I Wait’, drawn while I wait. The one on the right was waiting in a boring, bland, soul less Doctors surgery, the other was drawn while I was sat waiting in non moving traffic for 2 hours.
I hope they inspire you to think about what you could be doing while you wait – and allow you to focus on something that is good for your mind and your overall well-being.