Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The creative mind and feeling blue

I was feeling Blue when I made this in college - when I felt the most depressed

I just read a post on one of my favorite blogs - Scoutie Girl - and Tara wrote a wonderful, brave post about being stuck, feeling fear, and not giving into depression. It was quite a relief to read through her post to know that I am not the only creative person out there that struggles with this.
I can't tell you the exact age I was when I began to feel depressed or even feel the debilitating fear and anxiety that sometimes keeps me from getting out of bed and feeding my kids. Yes. Somedays are THAT bad. I do what I have to do to survive and keep my kids alive and well but that is the minimum. On 'those' days my kids know I am not 'fun mommy'. I am a person they don't recognize; a person that cries when she spills the milk for their cereal and a person that just can't handle all the toys on the floor. 

And when I pull through that terribly dark time and I start to see the light and feel a smile touch my lips again, the guilt sets in. The horrible, eats away at my insides, guilt. Guilt for not being 'perfect' all the time. For feeling that way. How can I? How can I feel SAD when I have so much to be happy about? I have a dream job, a roof over my head, 2 beautiful kids, a gorgeous husband, wonderful friends and a supportive family. 'WHAT is WRONG with me?', I say to myself. 'SNAP out of it!' Then I go through a frenzy of creative activity. AFTER an episode is when I usually feel the most creative, of course. All that brooding and sulking and thinking is good for something at least. And the THINKING! I can't seem to turn it off!! I think about things I need to buy, things that I need to do, stuff going on in the world that then sets me off into worry mode. What is the future going to be like for my kids? What if I die tomorrow? What if there is another terrorist attack in NYC? And on and on and on it goes and where it stops, nobody knows. Not even me. But I'm glad when it does. Because when it finally does I can breathe easy and actually SLEEP. But my sleep is fitful. All my thoughts turn into horrible dreams. My fear become reality in my head until I wake up in a panic, realizing that it was just a DREAM.

Then I get the feeling that I must MAKE something - ANYTHING. I can feel the creative energy flowing through me out of my fingertips. And I have to let it out, just like you have to let out a sneeze. But then the kids interrupt my flow and I get angry. And I resent them being around and then I feel guilty for even THINKING about FEELING that! Crazy, isn't it? At least that's what I thought I was, for a long time. There was an article that Tara posted that explained it all - that made it all make sense. And for once in my life it dawned on me. I am NOT crazy. Even though I AM Puerto Rican and Dominican from the Bronx and there IS the element of CRAZY in my family. I am NOT. I am an ARTIST. A designer. An illustrator. A CREATIVE. All my struggles within myself are what make me who I am. If I didn't have them I might have nothing from which to create. I wouldn't have the base that I have. I feel so blessed to have the talent that I have - the means of expressing myself that I do. It's both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because of all the people I touch with what I make and the pride I feel, a curse because I am forced to look at everything so intently and deeply that it literally 'does my head in' - as the Brits like to say. 

Yes, I wish I could have my creativity without the side order of mania, depression, fear, and/or anxiety. But would I gladly give it up to be free of it all? 

Not for anything in the world.