For this piece, the starting point was beneath the surface. When I opened my eyes, I was underwater. I hand-painted each new layer on top of myself. I wanted it to be thick, and heavy. I wanted to feel the pressure of the ocean above me, the heaviness of being pulled under, longer and longer without air, not knowing which way was up.  

It was kind of like drowning.   

I didn't yet comprehend how much of my personal life I would be pouring into it.

For this piece, the starting point was beneath the surface. When I opened my eyes, I was underwater. I hand-painted each new layer on top of myself. I wanted it to be thick, and heavy. I wanted to feel the pressure of the ocean above me, the heaviness of being pulled under, longer and longer without air, not knowing which way was up.  

It was kind of like drowning.   

I didn't yet comprehend how much of my personal life I would be pouring into it.

It all came spilling out in November 2013. A deluge, a dam burst. A tipping point fast approaching over the last few decades. I wanted to remain stoic -- a character trait my therapist says is very important to me. I couldn't see the sense in falling over a cliff.  

Life became very grey. I was sinking. Everything around me swirled in slow-motion. December. January. February. March. April.  

It's hard to diagnose a million tiny little things that attack you from the inside. At times I wondered if I was a ghost. I could see the sky above me but could not touch it.  

I'm a fighter, damnit. I should be tough. On your feet! Suck it up! Don't stop!! IF I SEE YOU CUT CORNERS, YOU OWE ME FIFTY PUSH-UPS!  

My therapist also says I'm a little hard on myself.   

Just float ~ My new mantra. I began a practice of mindfulness. I worked on gaining back the 15 pounds I had unintentionally lost in the previous six months. (I'm not quite there, but it's much improved.) I cut out areas of negativity and toxicity. It was a blur of healthy eating, regular exercise, and positive thinking. I was assured relief was coming. Everyone was very understanding.   

It was unbearable.   

Then, suddenly -- wait, what was that? An… idea? For a single moment the sky was brighter and there was a distinct, freeing sensation of hope. I didn't trust it. I was afraid to say it out loud, because I knew I would be responsible for bringing this new wave of positivity into fruition. I was stunned to find so much distance between me and my dreams. Where had I drifted off to? I resolved to make up time. I was filling up with inspiration and found myself kicking desperately toward the light.  

I punched through the surface, gasping, taking in the air, the sky, feeling the light on my face.   

The worst was over.   

Slowly, steadily, I've been making my way to shore.  

Of course it would be nice to say that the worst was permanently over, but I don't like to fool myself. One of the fancy new skills I'm learning this year is to go with the flow. I don't expect anything to ever be easy, but I don't need to perpetually brace against the tide either. There is good and bad, coming in waves. That is life. It creates, and it suffocates.   

At the moment, I feel fine with that. I'm ready to move on. Now I know I can swim.

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Ian! hi!

I decided to just add a comment here because ack, 140 character increments would be painful. ;) 

I realized that you might have some interest in this, since it's me writing about my depression and therapy :: and you have shared your writing with me. :) I wrote this on Patreon, but the second part was for Patrons Only so at the very least, I know you didn't read that part! And, since there is no way for me to link it to you without being a Patron, I decided to create this page for you alone. (So ideally you wouldn't share this particular page publicly. :)) I realized that drowning/sinking feeling is probably universal for people like us, so you would resonate.

Also I have kind of a favor to ask as a friend who likes my art! There's a TOTALLY FREE way to help boost me up on Patreon. If you sign up an account (or use your facebook login)  and follow me (upper right next to the social media buttons), you can Like™ the posts and comment, which lifts me higher up the visibility rankings on Patreon, which in turn gets me more views, which in turn (!!) earns me donations! And all you had to do was chat with me occasionally about my art posts. Baddabing.  Not necessarily this recent post, but in general in the future. :D 98% of my posts are public, so the patron block would come up for you rarely.

And so you don't think I'm just trying to game the system (which I totally am!), I'm also trying to build a dialogue about my art and drum up conversation between people in general. Art doesn't happen in a vacuum! And sometimes the internet feels so empty. But really I'd like for as many friends to join me there as possible. You know, so I can form a pack. To protect against the coming Patreon wars. ;)

haha :D

So anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you are well. Much love and light to you. ♥

It must be getting cold there now. I dislike the added darkness. Stay snuggled with Mogget. 

 

- shayla