A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Growing Pains




Here are a couple of gouache paintings I've done recently. The one on top is based on a photograph I got online at a free photograph site. I was looking for pictures of dancers and these colorful African dancers (and singers) came up. The other painting is of a photograph of J.P.'s doll Hayley. It's the second painting I've done of her doll. Neither are really an exact representation of the doll because to me they look like portraits of a real, live baby. That's part of what makes painting sometimes magical to me and I am fond of the portraits of Hayley. If you want to see it larger, click on the image.

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After I sent out my cd to a few friends, I began to feel a little stressed out about it, which is why I wrote the previous blog entry. Then I had a return of a few psychotic symptoms: the voices began calling me "evil" while I sang, I thought I was being spied on by the rock star again and I had some delusional thoughts about my music becoming popular at some point. I was also listening to my music way too much trying to imagine what each of my friends' reaction to it would be. During all this I was monitoring myself. Sometimes I pulled away from singing when I was called "evil" and other times I just kept on singing and said "No." to the voices. I gave myself little pep talks "No, no one is following you and no, your music is not that good and no, you are NOT evil!"

But don't get me wrong. I'm still glad that I made up the cd of my older songs and glad that I handed them out to a few people. It was impulsive, but I felt like I needed to do it and so I did. And I still want to pursue making songs, but I have to be willing, due to my illness, to step back from it when I need to and pursue other creative activities such as painting. So that's what I've been doing the last couple of days, taking a few steps back.

You know, not all stress is bad, some of it is about growing and that's what I think I've been doing. I still want to get constructive criticism on the songs that I've done, and I'm hoping a few of my friends will have the courage to be honest with me. I will continue working on new songs so that I can make a cd of recent work (which will be different due to my experience with mental illness) and then I will send that cd out too. And will I feel stress then, too? Yes, but that is natural and it will pass just as this stress is also passing away. Also, I may do some more growing in the next few months.
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