By juck, Oct 25 2017 09:23PM

25/10/17 21.42

Today I have PMT and am feeling pretty crappy. Lonely, Worrier and Negative are in the driving seat at the moment; Addict is trying to help in the only way he can. As I sit with my cigarette Lazy is trying to encourage me to just go to sleep and forget about today. I have had a fairly average week, the shifts I am on this week aren’t great as they cut right into the day meaning there isn’t much time to do anything before or after work.

I am trying to live off of the little recent highs. Last Friday I had my photograph taken for Great Central which is an arts magazine; the photographer was quite cute and probably either taken or not interested. It was a good session and despite my feeling exhausted I had managed to do my hair and put my war paint on – my hair is usually an unwashed, un-brushed bun on the top of my head and for the most part I walk around without a stitch of makeup on. The photos were good but I hate my double chin and for some reason to me it looked huge in the pictures.

I had a really good weekend as well. Saturday I went for a lovely walk with a good friend at one of my favourite local places. Foxton Locks are lovely this time of the year; I love the crisp air, the autumnal colours and the absence of the summer crowds. It was quite a windy walk but very lovely. That evening I went to see one of my other best friends; we enjoyed watching a British movie about murder and ate fish and chips – my cheat meal of the week.

Sunday I went exploring for the first time in months; I rarely see my exploring friends and we don’t really keep in touch very much as everyone has busy lives and without meaning to be nasty we don’t have close relationships with one another. It was truly exhausting and showed up my huge lack of fitness. The buildings were vandalised but pretty cool and there was occasional good graffiti which I photographed. We had a laugh as always and met a group of grime artists from London who were making a music video which I found quite funny.

I didn’t really want to go to work on Monday; I think after such a good weekend not many people would feel like it, it is a bit of a shame that it is necessary – I have lived on benefits before and to be truthful it is no fun having to watch every penny, even down to things like the household grocery shop, minding when the heating goes on and trying to be careful not to spend too much on travel.

The other happy thing this week is that my Mollies have had babies; here were five little ones swimming around the tank on Sunday. I am a little worried as when I checked this evening I could not see any of them – they have probably been eaten, it has made me feel a little sad.

Today I made the mistake of looking up local arts jobs; surprisingly there are a fair few around. I should learn to never look because it always comes with disappointment. The good, well paid jobs want a level of skill which I can’t match up to. They require knowledge of financial software and a level of arts admin experience I just don’t have, they are also a fair commute away. For the pay rise I would get with the job I would lose a fair amount on travel itself. The others are part time hours and only short term contracts. I could try and drop some hours at work but I value the financial security I have of being employed full time.

Creative and Hippy fancy a change, they really want me to get into the arts scene and work my way up. Investigator is sceptical and advises against it; he values the consistency of a regular wage and the security of a permanent job. Negative uses this conflict to lower my mood and Worrier is concerned that I am not following my true calling – she simultaneously thinks that if I did get the arts job I always dreamed of that it wouldn’t be that great after all.

This week Lonely has popped up as well. Since the weekend I haven’t had a lot of human contact other than a few short phone calls, text messages and messaging over social media. She misses human contact and would like someone external to just be there to talk to. Lonely has persuaded me to look on my free dating site again although the responses I get to my advert are at best disappointing. At the moment I have a couple of people looking to have a good time messaging me, also someone with Aspergers. Without trying to be nasty I would rather not date someone who has a disability; my reasoning behind this is at times I need a lot of emotional support and I can be quite dependant. I would prefer someone very stable and rational in my life as a positive influence.

Over the last few days the Lonely, Negative, Worrier team have been picking over something a few people have said to me in the past. A relative and a few close friends have commented that I rely on others too much for emotional and practical support. Every now and again this makes me feel bad. One of my coping mechanisms as an extrovert is to reach out to others as the relationships and interactions make me feel better and give me energy. I suppose I am quite a dependant person. I don’t know how to make myself more self contained and more independent. My friendships mean the world to me and I would equally be there for my friends when they want me to be. It’s getting to me again today which is why I am writing rather than calling or messaging anyone.

I am skint until payday this Friday so I am trying to cobble together meals out of the remains in the fridge and cupboards. I really want a big fat pizza and some chicken but know it will need to wait until I have been paid. I am also trying to lose weight at the moment and have managed to drop half a stone in two weeks, I still feel fat though and unhealthy. The plan I am on can get quite tedious and I am slowly getting sick of having the same meals all the time. It is weigh in day on Saturday so I am hoping for another loss although I realise that after dropping half a stone really quickly the rest will be difficult to get rid of. Ideally I want to lose another seven and a half stone, I want my nice figure and tiny boobs back. When I was skinny it was such a wonderful feeling to just pull any old size 10 garment off the shelf and have it fit perfectly. I am not a size 22 and hate looking at myself in the mirror, I hate clothes shopping even more as the changing room lights show up every lump, bump and stretch mark.

This weekend I am going to see family; it should be nice but I always get a massive feeling of inadequacy whenever I am around them. They are a lot more successful than me in employment and relationships. On Sunday I am going for a walk with people from work – I am trying to set up a monthly walking group to try and improve fitness levels but have no idea who is going to come if anyone.

On that note I am off to weigh out more bran flakes and honey, I need another fix of sweet stuff and it is lower calorie than a load of chocolate. I am hoping to be able to relax a bit in a few days.

By juck, Sep 18 2017 05:28AM

18/09/17 06.04

Over the last week part of my life has changed. I am a long term hoarder and haven’t had anything close to a proper throw away session and deep clean since my sporadic efforts of 2014 – the house was a state! I was starting to become sick of comments from family and friends and sick of certain people either making excuses to not visit or just plain not visiting - At this point I would like to apologise if my writing today seems a little off, I am on my first night shift of a short row and haven’t slept that brilliantly beforehand - I have completed all of my work prior to writing.

Before last week the cleanest part of my life was my studio space which I tidied fairly recently. I find the plain white walls and the “studio smell” comforting, also the peace and quiet as my two studio mates seem to be non-existent. I am getting too used to having the whole room to myself and am not looking forward to either of them starting to use their spaces regularly.

I am not just scruffy at home; I am also scruffy at work and have been pulled up on not wiping my desk after use and the crumbs I tend to leave on the floor.

I had decided a number of months ago to book the last week off and really make a go of the house; I had become unable to settle there to read, relax or make art and would more often than not be in the studio instead as the atmosphere is a little more calming and constructive. At home I usually get distracted with the levels of mess and clutter everywhere. One small skip, around 13 boxes, around 13 bags and around 15 recycling bags later I now have my house back. I have been that busy last week that I have had no time for any studio work or creative thinking. Today my friend came and removed his sewing table and also took me to the studio briefly to drop off some stuff, he also let me show him around which was nice.

At home at the moment I am left with a large bag full of shredding to do and various piles of stuff which need to be put away. I am able to get into a room I haven’t set foot in for three years however am still left with a reasonable amount of deep cleaning to do – I wish I had booked a week and a half off to complete all of this, being on nights now makes it virtually impossible for me to do anything much other than go to work, eat and sleep.

I am proud of myself although I have had help from friends who have ferried me to and fro from the charity shop and the coin star machine at one of the local supermarkets. At the moment I want to just hurry up and get it all finished. I can now offer my models an actual changing room and my studio/spare room is a lot clearer and looking a bit more professional.

Tonight I have been watching a design series on Netflix which has got me thinking about my own creative work again. I would love to be that good! I have been hunting around for creative courses and as usual have no money or time to put myself forward for any of them. Working shifts means I can’t commit to an evening class and anything meaning I have to drop hours at work is a no go financially.

I supposed I am bound to watching shows on the internet, reading online and buying books in order to try and educate myself however I learn better being directly shown and doing things my-self. I have actually thrown away the majority of my art books – I only kept my Dali, Munch, Emin and Pre-Raphaelite books. These have either been given to me at significant points in my life or I find the artists in some way relevant to my own practice at this point. All of my other books seemed a little pointless to keep and have largely gone unread so it was time for me to move them along.

I hope to be back in the studio at some point next week after work however it depends when I finally get this house completely up to scratch. At the moment my household chores which I hate have to be a priority. My fish tanks are also asking to be cleaned, I haven’t touched them in two weeks as I have had a lot to do already - they are due another date night soon.

I am going to go and attempt to upload this at work, my graphics card has broken in my home pc and I am awaiting spare parts and for my brother to be free to come and fix it for me, until it is fixed I will be unable to write or upload anything from home which is a bit annoying.

By juck, Sep 5 2017 10:22PM

05/09/17 22.55

This writing is to go with my video piece ‘Art in the dark’ which is on my Facebook page this page acts as my virtual sketchbook where I regularly check in with video diaries either from the studio or from home. I love journaling and making these diaries as I find it quite cathartic although I never watch or read them back once they are posted. Art in the dark is an extension of this.

Since around 2008 I have been interested in urban exploring, going through several phases of being interested in getting inside derelict buildings and drains. I don’t go so much these days due to a lack of transport, time and my friends living fairly far away. I suppose since I moved into my studio I have been a lot more interested in spending time there rather than wandering around watching my step and keeping an eye out for security or the police.

I can’t remember if I was in the studio or at home when the idea struck me to involve an exploring element into the way I view art. At the time it sort of sprang into my head out of nowhere. Quite often in the evening I am alone in the building which in some ways is a little scary; the roller shutter doors move whenever cars go past, I can hear people talking from outside which somehow works its way inside and there are odd bangs and strange noises of feelings of a presence here and there.

To counteract this I have my little radio on in my space and quite often leave the lights on upstairs so I can see my way properly up there to the tea making area and the toilets. In some ways these small things make me feel less alone.

I was thinking about all this alone time and quite often walk through the gallery in the dark by my self using a small, cheap torch. The video screens and projecting screens are flat and silent and the spotlights on the work are switched off. Sometimes I would look at the work with torchlight and realised there were elements of the pieces that I had never noticed before under the main spotlights.

The current show in the gallery is ‘A Medieval City’ - here the artists look at the modern day through the eyes of the Medieval. As I am a bit rubbish at art history and remembering information about other people’s work please see the following link where an explanation of the show has been published in Frieze magazine

After a brief glance over at the exhibition leaflets and struggling to remember the information I had just read it was time to go and do some filming, just talking about and doing whatever came naturally to me. I had a few viewers while wandering around and tried to describe the video pieces as best as memory and a brief viewing beforehand would allow.

I did take a walk into the smaller gallery space but can’t remember which artist was showing now; I liked the painted road lines on the floor the best although the photography was also good. The images were printed well on a sort of plastic/fabric and held with eyelets and nails on to the walls.

After filming I posted a second video which was picking through what I had just posted. To be honest I am not keen to watch myself back as I hate my voice and don’t think I am that attractive to watch. I was thinking of how I could improve the next one and am pretty sure that if I read up on the show and tried to retain a little more information it might work a bit better. I am also not sure if I should invent a character as a presenter and dress like her/act differently.

Usually when I watch programmes about art set in a gallery, there is usually a smartly dressed, middle aged man with a very BBC voice talking very dryly about the work. To me I find this a bit unapproachable and somehow my brain starts to switch off. What I want to see is a real person in their natural clothes, talking in an accent that comes naturally to them and displaying some signs of being a regular human being, not just someone who has stepped out of the history books. I want to try and be this small change, mainly for my self and as a bit of an experiment. If other people like this then great, if they don’t then I have only lost a little time.

The current exhibitions in the gallery are due to be changed around soon so it will be interesting to head back in there by torchlight and to start all over again with new shows. I think a handful of people have viewed the original video and in some ways I find that this process entertains me.

By juck, Aug 30 2017 09:14PM

30/08/17 21.01

I haven’t been about much over the last couple of weeks because I have been quite busy. I had a family visit not last weekend but the weekend before and I have also been on holiday for a week having a break away from my usual day to day reality.

Today I woke up a little late and rushed into work un-showered. It’s not that unusual that I over sleep however I had an early night last night reading a bit of ‘Happy’ – I still haven’t bought a new keyboard – I then did half an hour of meditation and slipped into a lovely, long sleep which was actually a little too long.

Work was an average day; I wasn’t on the phone that much - thank goodness - but was doing Direct Admissions, admitting patients to community hospitals from their homes. I also did some of daily checks and fax co-ordinating. After my break away I wasn’t that ready to face upset people on the phone. I like talking to the patients however sometimes am not in the mood to be shouted at, slagged off and sworn at.

After work I got myself a little bit down. I was walking home listening to some of my favourites – ‘Blue Monday’, ‘Rock the Casbah’ and ‘Wildfire’ to just name a few. I started thinking about my early childhood and the unintentional psychological wounds my parents gave me. I remember my Dad would often call me a ‘stupid girl’. This happened quite frequently whenever I did something stupid and has stuck with me for my whole life. I remember at about age 5 I started to believe that my Mum, Dad and Brother would make the perfect little family without me. My brother was always the golden child, more intelligent, better behaved and more of the favourite. I don’t think this was intentionally drummed into me during my early days but it is something that has stuck with me for the rest of my life. At 5 years old I first thought about killing myself. I would construct basic nooses out of a skipping rope and pretend to hang myself from a door handle or from the edge of a radiator; at that age I was eyeing up the stair banister and trying to figure out a way of doing it properly. I remember one day my mum caught me and was obviously upset. She asked me what was wrong and I told her that I was always getting told off and called stupid no matter if I was in the right or wrong – my brother used to sometimes set me up to get n trouble and my Dad believed that I was a liar. After she had caught me and talked to me I think she spoke with my Dad and things got better for the next couple of years.

I made an art piece about this during my Postgraduate Diploma. It was a white pillow case with a skipping rope noose tied around it so it took basic human form; I then hung this construction from an appropriate, low fixture. I displayed this at a London gallery and for our interim show at Byam Shaw where I was attending. I was hoping at the time in constructing this piece that I would somehow exorcise these feelings and re-process these early memories into something a little less upsetting. The original artwork no longer exists but in its simplicity this piece could be easily reconstructed.

The thing I find the most upsetting is that this construct of being a ‘stupid girl’ wasn’t entirely in my head. I visited some family members not long into my recovery from Schizophrenia. At one point I was sat in the conservatory and they were both in the kitchen. One whispered to the other so I could hear ‘well John said Tim was the one with all the brains’. This did upset me but I didn’t confront them about the comment as I am not very confrontational and figured I should just leave it considering I was staying with them at the time. It just saddens me that they didn’t see me for my own merit and hadn’t considered what I have had to live through as a person and how it has affected me in terms of my personality. The choices I had made in getting to the place of being ill were an attempt to escape from a situation I wasn’t happy about, accidentally stumbling into another situation I wasn’t happy about being in.

One family member tells me that I am already successful however I don’t feel it. I have my own house and a steady, permanent job however it doesn’t make me feel very successful. My house was left to me after my parents passed away so rightfully I haven’t had to work for it and in some ways it makes me feel like a fraud. The job was my first job back after recovering from my illness; it is a good, steady job but the longer I have been there the less challenging it has become. Ideally I would like to do something creative but I don’t know that if I got that kind of job I would necessarily feel any happier within myself.

The family visit before my holiday was ok. It began with an instant go at me over the house. I am a hoarder and really struggle to keep things clutter free and to the level of tidiness that other people want. I am also quite over weight so the usual swipes about that and my smoking happened. It does upset me but because I don’t love myself – a realisation that made me feel suicidal around two years ago – and I feel that if I were to learn to love myself things might be different.

I struggle with self care, things like brushing and washing my mane, cleaning up after myself, eating properly, exercising and not smoking. These things sometimes feel impossible to do. I was told that my whole family say nasty things behind my back and that I should be grateful to have a family member who actually says it to my face.

I went to bed early and cried for a couple of hours. I have no idea to live up to these standards and even if I did I am certain there would then be new things that would crop up as points of contention.

The next morning was different; it began with an offer of help to do some of the clearing out. A few hours later and I had filled my bin and got together a big pile of stuff for the tip; I had filled a couple of recycling bags and had two boxes and a bag for the charity shop. I tend to always bat away the swipes as I feel I don’t need the negativity in my life and I try not to take them seriously because they are negative no matter how upsetting it is. However a genuine offer of help is the first positive thing I have heard from that person and because I felt it as a positive thing I responded positively.

Once the house was clean I sent her out for an hour’s walk. I was going away the next day and needed to tend to my aquariums. I put ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magic’ on by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and set about wielding buckets, cleaning filters, scraping glass and changing 20 litres out of each tank, I then put holiday blocks in each of them so the fish would be well fed while I was away.

During that evening we set off as a small group of four, headed out to one of my favourite Italian places nearby then went to watch the proms in the park. They were playing songs from the movies followed by a few proms classics. I tried to practice my mindfulness while I was there and found myself genuinely happy in the moment.

My holiday was great. I had warned pretty much everyone I am in regular contact with not to contact me at all unless I contacted them first and my phone spent most of its time switched off. I wanted to live in the moment for a week and just focus on the friends I was with as I don’t get to see them very often. I don’t sleep well n a tent at all as I have claustrophobia and get anxiety and insomnia when confined to a tent. I wanted to camp because I spent money on all the kit last year so want to make regular use of it to get my monies worth. I was very tired all week due to the lack of sleep however felt genuinely relaxed, happy and in the moment.

On my return I just tried to make the most of the rest of my holiday time, heading to the studio to relax and clearing out another part of the living room. I also had one of my best driving lessons ever and managed to perfectly handle a roundabout I honestly hate – it is on the test route so I need to be able to drive around it perfectly from anywhere and going anywhere.

This evening I am listening to ‘Awaken, my love’ by Childish Gambino and am really enjoying myself in this moment of quiet reflection.

I have been thinking about how I impact on other people, mainly when I talk about my mental health and lean on them. I try not to impact however everybody in some way impacts on everyone else so I can’t help but leave that with them. Also when I am feeling down I have a really big urge to reach out to my network of friends and family for support. More recently I have tried not to do that so much but it is a huge coping strategy and it is hard for me to avoid. I have been told I am self-centred and that I impact in a negative way on people. Also when people meet me in person I have a really strange voice and my mannerisms are strange. I am not so sure about what I can do about these things or if I really need to change them all to fit in more. After all I value interestingness and uniqueness a lot and I am not sure if I would be comfortable becoming very run of the mill and too ‘normal’. I am not the first person to enjoy being a little eccentric.

I have hit the part in the book I am reading about identity, I still have a bit more to read about it. There was one part about people who have had/have a mental illness adopting being ill as their entire identity and how in its own way it is unhealthy. For a long time that’s how I identified with myself. At the time I found it helpful as I was trying to figure out a way to get through it and to reach my goal of becoming well again. The schizophrenia cleared up with a combination of medication, good therapy and time. The depression and anxiety still linger and turn up every now and again. For the last few weeks I have been thinking about them; I am not sure if they are a genuine chemical imbalance or a set of conflicting ideas which I have.

Tomorrow is therapy day and as usual I am looking forward to it. ‘Community of self’ is one of the better therapies I have experienced; ‘Person Centred’ is the other good one. I like these both because they give me a lot of creative space to consider and explore things which I find really engaging. I think officially tomorrow is my last session. To be honest I would like to have a few more sessions as I can see real changes happening for the better and I am able to articulate myself a lot more using the characters of my personality. I am really hoping that tomorrow is not the last one. As I am growing mentally stronger and getting well I am not sure that my whole identity is ‘mental patient’ any more. I now have my studio so I feel I can regain my artist identity again in its own way.

It’s starting to get late now so I should really think about heading to bed to read and sleep. As usual I won’t edit this down before posting, I edit a little as I write and quite like having a ‘free writing’ element to what I am doing. At the moment I feel quite pleased because my studio is very clean and organised; because I am a bit of a ‘sad’ person I am looking forward to my desk tidies coming in the post so I can organise my materials more effectively and have a clear space to work in. Goodnight x

By juck, Aug 16 2017 09:17PM

16/08/17 00.32 and 16/7 21.19

t’s late and I should be in bed but I picked the wrong book. I haven’t read before sleeping in a very long time, usually it’s novels and things that just switch my brain off; tonight I chose to make a start on Derren Brown’s ‘Happy’ – sorry for incorrect punctuation, the whole upper number line of my keyboard is broken so I am having to make do at the moment. I haven’t read much of it so far and don’t know if my brain has really registered it properly at the moment, what I have picked up on is that it’s all in my head.

I have removed a lot of my writings from this site because it’s mainly meant to be about my artwork and it was doing a bit too much having all sorts of random stuff lurking around. Following my last post I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I am my artwork. I keep a couple of video diaries; one in a closed group which is reserved for mental health only, the other is on my artist’s page and it’s meant to be about my work. Recently I have noticed more and more of a cross over – some people like this and others have un-liked my page and moved on.

My art is about my own experiences, perceptions, thoughts and feelings, no matter how skewed these can be. It is how I explore new ideas and try to come to terms with things. It is also a way of trying to find myself and grow as an individual human being. My mental health videos are about relating to others, I am hoping that in my own, small way I can help someone else, even if it is helping them see that they are not alone in their ways of thinking. I want it to be a progressive thing and as I evolve, get better and move forward, it will give encouragement to others to seek help, get to know them selves more and move forward.

I have found myself sitting in my pants on my sofa with a cup of tea and a pack of rolling tobacco next to me. My eyes are watery through tiredness, smoke and maybe a bit of a realisation. The mental illness and my way of seeing the world could all just be a construct in my own head. I am on medication and am by now dependant upon it; it stops the symptoms of Schizophrenia and allows me to live a normal life of going to work, going to my studio and seeing friends. The depression and anxiety come as they may and can be triggered by different things.

I am not saying ‘it’s all in my head’ as a way of minimising the symptoms or as a way of saying that mental illness isn’t real; it’s more that I am questioning my own perception of my problems and I am feeling that a huge shift in my way of seeing myself and the world might be beneficial to my happiness. The thing is that I don’t feel there is a switch I can click which will automatically change all of that for me, it feels like it should be a long road of getting to know myself, trying new things and taking the scenic route around the inside of my head.

I am not and will never pretend to be an A to B person. In my mind A to B while being the quickest route is always the less interesting. I like learning things for myself from experience rather than just doing what I am told with the reason of ‘because I said so’ or ’it’s the way it’s always been done’ as an excuse. I suppose in some ways I am stubborn. Tonight the main questions I have for myself are ‘am I afraid of being happy?’ and ‘If I change my outlook that dramatically will my art suffer for it?’ also ‘If I change will I suddenly become less interesting?’

Sadly no images of my past work still exist. I have had a number of computer failings over the years where I have lost everything and the web pages where I did have some work are also long gone. My work has always been a bit dark.

One of my favourite pieces was a set of three photograms, the process for this was just as important as the finished pieces…

I had felt upset about the UK going to war with Iraq; I am not hugely politically minded but it struck me on an emotional level that there would be a lot of suffering involved for the people living there. I have never visited Iraq so my own perception of the place was formed through what I was seeing in the media. I began by painting an A canvas in red, then I stuck on top related newspaper articles. Next I found a long list on the internet wit the names of dead Iraqi civilians; I began to stitch each individual name into the canvas using white thread. This process took hours and one of my studio friends asked me why I was punishing myself in this way. Looking back I felt guilty about all the suffering that was coming to them from us, in some way I was blaming myself just for being a citizen of my own country. I decided to stop eventually, cutting the strip of canvas I had used from the stretcher. After some thought I took it to the dark room and started experimenting with moving it slowly over photographic paper. I had seen some work by Wolfgang Tilmans around that time where he had done a similar thing. After developing the paper I found the dark strands where the light had been to be really visually appealing; in some ways they reminded me of the dusty remains of human beings, these small traces seemed to move like distant memories and could be swallowed up should they escape the paper by dark corners. I thought about the souls of the dead leaving the bodies and where they would go to next. That evening I took my work home and sat alone on the back step of the bungalow smoking a cigarette. The moon was full and bright. I realised that I needed to make one of these photograms into the shape of the moon – to me the moon in universal, something visible to all, something forging a connection between places and people. Making this piece made me feel better; it made me feel that there is something out there that everybody shares no matter what the distance or the situation.

The above work was made before I had a mental illness. Was living in a stressful situation and my escapes were my studio time and my job.

I don’t know what bothers me more - the fact that I haven’t made anything else since my illness that I can be quite as proud of or the fact that I haven’t really tried. Getting sick changed my whole life.

I remember that just after finishing my Degree in 2008 I had a few months of true happiness. I was living in Leicester, well dressed and never left the house without makeup on. I was a size 16, went to the gym, went running and felt that I had really accomplished something. I had a lot of good friends, the weather was warm and sunny, I had no mental illness and I was in a very stable place mentally. Some days I long to go back there, then I realise that I can’t. I am where I am now and the only way there is for me to go is forwards.

My current therapy is good; it is helping me learn more about myself and is helping me know which parts of my personality come forwards at different times. The problems I have when I like someone in a more than friends’ way seem to be dieing down, annoyingly this means that whenever I like someone I tend to fall into a bit of depression straight away. For me this is better than getting obsessed and making my self look like a real mentalist.

My problems with self care are still ongoing; I still smoke, I am still over weight, my hair hardly sees a hairbrush let alone shampoo and my house is still a mess. I am hoping that over time I will be able to change these.

I still get lonely. A lot of my friends and family are in serious relationships. For a long time I thought that once I had a studio space things would change. I would have somewhere to go when nobody was around and I could really start to invest myself into making art again. After a long wait it finally happened for me, I got a good space in a local studio and have started to make art and make a few more friends. The thing is that the big mental shift I had hoped would come hasn’t, I still get lonely and I don’t know why. I see people regularly a work and talk to friends on the phone or via Facebook every day. The feeling comes and goes, sometimes I even feel lonely when I am around other people.

The lonely side of my personality tends to come forward a bit more than I would like, quite often she brings negative and worrier with her. I can get into some states sometimes but my writing and video diaries seem to help in their own way of letting these emotions out when nobody else is around.

This evening I have been thinking about my own measure of happiness. I had a conversation with a friend quite some time away that has just sprung to mind. He was asking me how I would know if I was successful or not and what could I do to make me really happy. Today I feel that my measure of things is somewhat unrealistic. I would love to be well known for being a good artist and I do dream big. I would love to do new and exciting things all the time and to travel around making art, taking photographs and writing.

These things come within constraints. I am a regular person who earns a standard wage, I have bills to pay and I have things that I am saving for. I have a studio space to keep going and the cost of materials. Realistically speaking between all of this I don’t have the time or the money to get out there doing all of this stuff yet my measure of being happy is still quite high.

It is good for me to have these dreams but I also worry somewhat that I don’t study hard enough and that I am not putting enough hours into creative practice and marketing to get anywhere. I suppose a lot of the time I can be a bit afraid to learn new skills by myself; I want to go to photography and design classes however they cost a lot of money and more often than not I hit the end of the month and realise I have gone through my savings and that I simply don’t have enough cash to see it through. I tend to apply for courses now and again at my local college - I bottle it at interview time because I can’t afford to drop hours at work to do the studying.

On top of all this I have to try and go steady metal health wise. The depression and anxiety aren’t always present, sometimes I have a really good run of things and manage to accomplish up to six months without symptoms, other times they snap at me and lower the mood in my internal community. It can take a matter of a couple of weeks up to a couple of months for me to fully pull out of a bout of depression.

During my low times the house work can go untouched for up to a week, sometimes more and my fish don’t get the care they deserve. I am prone to over thinking and sometimes it can take the slightest thing on my mind for me to get insomnia. Of course being a creative quite often sees me up in the middle of the night writing, thinking about things, chain smoking roll ups and drinking either Roobis tea or hot chocolate.

My work is emotionally stressful. I have Laryngitis at the moment so my strange accent has been topped off by a really husky sound. Today I was in a bad mood and was a lot less patient with callers than I usually am. My throat felt swollen, I felt stressed out by the way they were either speaking or shouting at me, I just wanted them to give it a rest. It can be relentless and is a bit like being in Groundhog Day. I remember a couple of months ago, a well known regular called me a stupid c#~+. I try to cut her a bit of slack as she has learning difficulties but I still told her off nicely saying that it is rude to call people that – despite it being my favourite swear word I value politeness and don’t want to encourage her to be rude to my colleagues. Some of them are less tolerant of language like that and tend to put the phone down on her when she starts swearing.

All in all I have to try and be realistic. Maybe one day the hard creative work that I manage to get done where I can will pay off although I realise I have a long way to go with this. One of my university art teachers said that eighty percent of any artists work is going to be rubbish, however you have to make the eighty percent to be able to get the twenty percent of good work, he told me I would need to be making work constantly if I wanted to get somewhere.

Sometimes I feel that the time between 2009 when I graduated and the time now in 2017 where I am trying to get back into practice has been wasted. I had an abusive relationship, suffered and recovered from a mental breakdown, got myself back into full time work again and quite drugs for good. Through a lot of that time I have kept a journal and have moved onto video diaries over the last couple of years because it’s a bit quicker than typing things out or writing by hand. I also don’t really edit much so my journals either in video or writing tend to be a pure stream of consciousness rather than anything structured.

At the end of the day I want to keep dreaming big and keep following that dream. I hope I am lucky one day and well practiced enough at making my art to make it. I also hope that one day I will have worked my way out of having mental illnesses – I have invested a long time in various forms of therapy and do notice continual improvements. It might be a bit unrealistic to think that I will eventually be free from anxiety and depression but I do my best to try and overcome them - on some days I do my best to just cope and get through the day. I like to entertain the thought that what will be will be and what is meant to happen will happen; realistically speaking the universe wouldn’t care what happens to me however in some ways this belief keeps me going, it helps me to focus at times and makes me feel better on the low days.


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