Well, at the outset I have a feeling this post may get a little chaotic, so strap yourself in and hang on as long as you can.
It is part confession, part epiphany and part show-and-tell.
For me, the past couple of months have been challenging to say the least. I had been juggling a variety of stressful things for a time and managed to drop all of the balls at once. I hit bottom emotionally and experienced a complete breakdown. I reached a point that in retrospect I think about this way. At the moment you no longer have the cognitive ability to question your sanity…you are likely insane…at least in the moment.
I experienced a very serious emotional, mental and physical shutdown that turned my life upside down. Now I’m not looking for sympathy, nor will I make excuses for myself. All I will tell you is that it is a very scary place to be. It is a place where you find out that you can only depend on yourself to get better, and it is a place where you can watch “friends” run away from you so fast it makes a sound. In the throws of anxiety, you can chase people away as well. In the end you are responsible for yourself and you need to be dependable.
I lost my wife a little more than 6 years ago after a 14 month race against pancreatic cancer. I quit work and cared for her 24/7 and was never more than a flight of stairs away from her. I barley had anytime to grieve her absence when my 91 year old father took ill. I gained guardianship of him and stayed at his side 24/7 for 5 months, and lost him as well. The next 6 years brought 6 more losses of family and friends I cared deeply about and could not save. I had learned to shut off my own emotions and simply deal with the task at hand and be in the moment for those I loved.
I realize now that I was storing a tremendous amount of stress and emotion and much like a tea kettle…eventually the steam escapes and whistles. I know that now.
Fast forward and at the end of 2011 without realizing it, the kettle exploded, and I could only count on me. I broke down in a dangerous and hurtful way and no longer had the strength to hold it together. Like the tea kettle, my life exploded in front of me. It caused my mind and body to go into a shutdown mode that took every ounce of strength I had not to bring it to swift end. I realized that I had let people into my life that needed me to help them with their problems, but bailed on me when the problem wasn’t theirs. There were friends that simply couldn't help, or needed me to be strong for them and I lashed out at them. Yah, it's fun to be crazy.
I dragged myself from the ashes, desperately trying to get control of my physical and mental health. I have been poked and prodded by so many Doctors in the past few weeks; I think my nickname is “skewer”. I woke up this morning to get about the business of managing my home and found myself having to replace a part on my clothes dryer to finish the laundry. I became anxious and angry and nearly broke down again…but said, “SCREW IT!”…this is not the hill I am going to die on!
I have been an artist all of my life. I started drawing when I was old enough to know that pencils were not chew toys. I have not drawn in a few years but always thought I would get back to it. I dusted off my art table which hasn’t been used for a while other than a shelf; dug out some drawing tools and made myself start a new project. It is a drawing I promised to do for a friend a while ago (one that I lashed out at and didn't deserve it), and I am doing it now. I love old architecture and I plan to finish this over time and take the time to heal, create and enjoy the journey.
It will not be easy, but I will heal and grow from it all.
Other stuff I have drawn:
I’m just saying.