Do you ever wonder if it all matters? I sure do. I try to be positive most of the time when I think about the things I do and whether they make a difference, but when I get depressed, the voices of doubt tend to get louder. They say some pretty mean things:
Are you just wasting your time writing and making art? Who really cares?
Why would anyone care what you have to say? Who do you think you are?
You try to support others, but do they even notice? Does it even help them?
You only focus so much on art and writing because you can’t keep a REAL job.
Your own family never cared that much about you, why would anyone else?
If you died today, barely anyone would notice or care. Your funeral would be empty.
You are selfish and everyone sees through you.
You are a drain on your husband and society in general.
I know these are very negative (some would even say abusive) thoughts, but when I am feeling low, they play in my head like a stuck record. By writing them out, I am hoping they will finally shut the hell up. Do any of these thoughts (or similar ones) ever haunt you?
Today I was inspired by a blog post from Judith over at Artistcoveries, in which she asks the question – Who do I want to be as an artist? I love thinking about stuff like this, so I wrote the question down in my journal and brainstormed my own answers. Here is what I came up with:
Who do I want to be as an artist?
- Unafraid to experiment
- Unafraid to offend
- Unafraid of mockery
- Confident in my creative abilities
- Willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of my art
- Use the materials I love, not feeling forced to use what is considered artistically “professional”
- Confident enough to charge what my art is worth (probably one of the hardest parts of being an artist in my opinion)
- I want to be loved and respected by other artists and art lovers, especially those in the autism, bipolar, and outsider art worlds
- I want to create what I like
- Overcome my fear of doing in-person art events (currently hindered by my crippling social anxiety)
- Monetarily successful enough to rely on my art for my general income
Do you relate to any of these wishes? Who do you want to be as an artist?
Just like with my thoughts and feelings, my self image changes so wildly with my mood. A good example of this is my view of my looks and/or attractiveness. Most days I think I look average when I look in a mirror. I’m not delusional, thinking I am some kind of supermodel or show-stopping beauty, but I also don’t feel like I am a troll or a goblin.
Once in a while, when I am slightly or fully hypomanic, I look in the mirror and think I am beautiful. I will never be gorgeous in the artificial Hollywood kind of way, but when my mood is just right I can see a kind of classic or wholesome beauty in myself that I like.
But then there are days, like one I had recently, when I feel as if I am sitting in the rock bottom level of despair and gloom. On days like these, I may accidentally catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror (because I wouldn’t intentionally look), and upon viewing my reflection, I feel down to my very soul that I must be the ugliest thing in existence.
Bipolar and other mood disorders can skew our view of reality so much, sometimes I feel like I am living in different realities from day to day. Today isn’t too good, but it ain’t too bad either, so I guess average wins out again.
Yesterday I had to make a choice to unfriend someone on Facebook, a choice that I hate to have to make, but am finding more necessary as time goes on. The person I ended up unfriending was an editor and small publisher I had worked with in the past, so there was a little bit of sadness at the loss of a professional relationship as well as a personal one, but to tell the truth, this person had always come across as rude, selfish, and impatient…so have I really lost all that much?
As I am getting older, I am just getting to the point that I am tired of being the kindly doormat that lets others walk all over me because I have a desperate desire to please everyone. I don’t at all mind people who have different opinions and beliefs than I do, in fact, I hope we can learn from one another, but when someone repeatedly shows a clear cruel streak and lack of empathy or compassion for others who are suffering greatly, it pisses me off. I also find it extremely hypocritical when someone throws a fit every time someone criticizes their viewpoint, but they refuse to even listen to any other point of view but their own, even going out of their way to silence any reasonable objection.
Sometimes I think that maybe all the therapy is helping me, because at one time I would have stressed greatly over unfriending someone because I would feel bad about it. But this time, I honestly only feel relief that I won’t have to be a witness to the negativity and mean-spirited vitriol anymore.
- I don’t owe you anything!
- I’m nothing like you.
- You don’t own me and you never did.
- You deserve what you got.
- Sometimes I feel nothing for you.
- You are at fault for so much.
- You have no one to blame but yourself.
- You are lucky to have anyone who still cares.
- I’m a saint for forgiving you.
- Without me, you’d have nothing!
- I hate you sometimes.
- You’ll never break me.
- I’ll never crack.
- I am a much better person than you’ll ever be.
- I’m smarter than you.
- You fuel my creativity with anger, disgust, frustration, and grief.
- I’ve made something good out of your mess.
- I am superior – by actions and attitude.
- Your religion doesn’t hide the truth.
- I found love and success in spite of you.
- I’m the person you always wanted to be, but couldn’t.
- Toys have always been better company than you.
- You helped me find and lose faith in God.
- I will heal.
- I’m STRONGER than you.
*By the way, BetterHelp has a great article on emotional abuse, I would recommend it!
I am not the type of person to typically “toot my own horn” or brag about my achievements, but my psychiatrist and psychologist both say I need to “become my own cheerleader” in a way and learn to celebrate small victories, so I figured I would take the time to mention that my YouTube channel, Maranda’s Toys & Books, just passed the 1 MILLION views mark! To me, this is huge!
I simply can’t believe that over 1 million people have wanted to watch something I created! That is simply crazy. I know for huge YouTubers, 1 million views is probably what they get on one single video, but for me, I am just so proud that I hit such a benchmark! So, just for today, I’ll say “Go me!!!” and do a little happy dance in my mind (since my body is too tired to do it with me)!
Sorry I haven’t written much lately. I’ve been focusing on other things, like trying to get back into vlogging on YouTube and starting up my Instagram. By the way, if you aren’t already following me on both of those, feel free to check them out!
Today I’m feeling pretty bad. I’ve had a high amount of anxiety, which seems to be partly left over from the weekend. Mother’s Day is always a little stressful because of the complicated relationship I have with my mother. I did go visit her in Indiana Sunday, which was a good time, but the trip and socialization really wore me out, not to mention all the mixed feelings I have whenever I spend time with my mom.
I experienced a variety of emotions, including sadness, regret, and sorrow. And as always, I feel a deep need for love from my mother, even though I’m not sure if she can always fill that need the way I desire. The last few times I have seen her, I have also been rather saddened to see her aging. I don’t know what it is, but seeing your parents visibly aging is so depressing.
I saw my psychiatrist today and it went ok, but left me feeling really down. Perhaps because we talked about my relationship with my mom, or maybe because he seemed hurried today and didn’t have a lot of time, which is easy to convert into feeling rebuffed when you are insecure like me. I often feel guilt about taking up people’s time anyhow, so when they seem in a hurry, it makes me feel even worse. I guess that is just my lousy self-esteem. It is funny that millenials are often described as so “entitled”, but I am completely the opposite! I don’t feel entitled to much of anything, including people’s time and attention….even when I’m paying for it!
It is hard for me to be emotionally vulnerable about things that hurt my feelings or make me feel worthless, but my #1 goal with this blog is total honesty, so I’m going to share what I’m struggling with right now.
Yesterday I lost at least 5 blog followers. I gained 2 I believe, so the net loss was only 3 followers, but it still made me feel really bad. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was what I posted yesterday. Maybe it came across as too negative and whiny? I didn’t mean for it to, I was just trying to express my feelings at the moment. Sometimes maybe I can come across as a little too dramatic, but I believe that is part of the mood swings aspect of bipolar. I feel things so strongly and emotions can wildly dip and rise so quickly that it is hard to find a good sense of balance emotionally.
Of course, I tell myself that the unfollows might have nothing to do with yesterday’s post, but then that leads me to think I just must be generally boring and annoying to others. I know that is probably just my lousy self-esteem talking, but it is a genuine feeling none-the-less.
I’m not sharing this in hopes of obtaining pity or sympathy, but more to just show the inner workings of my mind and how little things can affect me so much more than they should. Does anyone else relate to this? Are there any other bloggers out there that feel really bad when they lose a few followers all at once?
I saw my therapist this past weekend and it went ok, but I honestly think sometimes my therapist gets kind of annoyed or frustrated with me. I feel like she sometimes wants to see more progress than I’ve made, especially in the self-esteem/self-loathing area. To be fair, I haven’t always been the best about following up on actual practices to feel better about myself. I have done affirmations and things like that in the past, but I always end up kind of feeling ridiculous and giving up pretty soon when I don’t see immediate results…even though I know that immediate results aren’t likely.
At the end of the session, the therapist gave me the homework assignment of looking up some affirmations that I genuinely liked and related to and giving at least a few of those a try every day, so here goes. I did a google search and found some affirmations I actually kind of related to on a Huffpost article. Here are the ones I’ve actually decided to work with:
- I am courageous and I stand up for myself.
- I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.
- I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.
- My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.
- Many people look up to me and recognize my worth; I am admired.
- I am a powerhouse; I am indestructible.
- I am conquering my illness; I am defeating it steadily each day.
Most of these spoke to me because they were just simple and straightforward, or because they address issues I deal with constantly (like health issues or past trauma). #5 may seem a bit conceited at first glance, but I think it is important for those of us who feel really bad about ourselves to realize that others don’t share that negative view. If any of these affirmations speak to you like they did to me, feel free to use them for yourself!