chronic illness · creativity · mental health

going back to work, craft markets, & the inevitable post-excitement crash that follows

It’s been an interesting week, pretty full on, requiring a LOT of my energy channelled into projects, going back to work (in fact, starting a new job), prepping like a crazy person for my first craft market (booyaah!) and have spent the last three days solid working lots and being around very socially stimulating environments.

And then I wonder why I wake up every morning with muscles burning like hell, exhausted, insomniac-ridden buzzy brain and struggling to maintain a consistent mood. Queue: rollercoaster of emotional madness descending upon my tired little brain.

Oh the joys.

The craft market was a lot of fun though, and I have to admit although it was stressful, I did really love getting my teeth into finishing new products off, making SO MANY CARDS, and making sure the final touches were saweeet in my display. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful day and Dave was with me at the market to help ground me and keep my nerves at bay. I spent most of the time wandering around talking to the other makers and ‘establishing connections’ however, but somehow we still managed to make pitch rent plus profit, which is a bit of a miracle considering how quiet it was in terms of footfall.

It was a lovely experience though for my first craft market, and it has given me a taste of what can be achieved, learning from the other sellers and picking up tips. So it was a pretty invaluable day. And at least Sunday is for completely crashing out, binge watching netflix, cleaning and sorting out the bombsite of a house that is the result of running around like a mad woman these last 3-4 days. Phew!

It does feel good to be getting out and working again, even though it brings up so sharply just how lost my brain feels with too many tasks on the go at once, how exhausted and achey my body becomes now a days, and just how much of a weak person I feel now compared with my pre-illness days. What’s difficult is that I know I appear fairly well, I can move like a normal person if I push myself, and I can keep up relatively well if I attempt to push down the rising panic at my brain fogged concentration and just keep smiling at everyone, pretending that internally I am absolutely fine. I definitely cannot keep up this pretence as well as I remember doing though, even though it was merely 6 months ago now since I last worked in a cafe environment.

I think I am just feeling this intense sense of overwhelm due to how much stimulation I have received in the last few days, that is all. In the midst of the low’s though it can make it difficult to remember that this is just a phase, and that it simply could be yet ANOTHER gentle reminder that with every up must come a down, and when everything you feel is intense, the crashes following the highs are likely to be pretty debilitating and overwhelming. But this has happened so many times, why can I never remember that I will eventually come back out of it in due time, to just be patient?

Because when it’s to do with the mind, and emotions, when you are in the midst of it, it is ALL CONSUMING. When thing’s are to do with the MIND, it completely affects the lens that we see the world through. because it is physically inside of our heads, affecting our thoughts, our mindset, our attitude, our behaviour. It’s pretty intense stuff, and is SO IMPORTANT to get a grip on it, and to try to maintain a consistent sense of self throughout the whole process, to give yourself something to cling on to when things take the inevitable dip and come crashing down after the highs of being involved in life.

*Sigh*

Sometimes I just wish it could be simpler, and an easier ride, with less debilitating crashes and some sense of security as to who you are in the midst of all of the chaos around you. Wouldn’t that be nice?

The hardest thing though is just how hypersensitive you become when you’re in the trenches of the crash; how loud everything feels, how strong everything appears and how little you can cope with the simplest of tasks, the smallest of changes. How everyone appears so much more ‘together’ than you, and you cannot help but compare yourself. I think this was an interesting part of the craft market yesterday, I was surrounded by artisans and artists who had spent YEARS beating on their craft and developing their sense of style, and yet here I was, this baby little 20-something year old who had been trying her hand at illustration and paper making for a whopping 4 MONTHS and had the audacity to try to be like them, to pretend to be one of them.

Ahh, self doubt is a magical thing, isn’t it?

It’s made more difficult when this wonderful feeling of self doubt is creating a HUGE rift in your creative process, the very thing that holds you together as a person, the one thing you fall back to when you are in the danger zone of your own sanity, the one thing you run back to when you need comfort and reassurance. That’s the dangerous part of this whole thing – it is running the risk of destroying the very thing that makes you,Β you. And this beautiful, wholesome, creatively inspired process is the thing that keeps you ticking, keeps food on the table and keeps your feet on the ground.

Isn’t that something worth fighting for?

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