Creator’s Psychosis

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Where to begin?

This article has some strong opinions in it, that are vulnerable to discuss. What is important to ruminate on is that everyone faces these obstacles, negative feelings, intense spirals, or depression. Perhaps even fantasizing of our own demise to avoid pain, or the mundane/important choices we have to continually make… This feeling somehow worsens when we think we are alone. However vaguely morbid, this pressure is somehow released when we remember that everyone has felt this way, others even right now. That even your greatest heroes have at one moment or another have been caught in this swirl.

It is not so much morbid, not so much that we take pleasure in the idea of others suffering, but that we in fact need each other. And the idea of being alone in this taboo, seldom talked about (least of all embraced) vulnerable topic, distances us from one another and allows in shame.

As artists we are on the forefront of our feelings, taught to stay in tuned, needing to stay sensitive, and open, and expressive to create at the level of our full potential. This existence has many lasting benefits: honesty, vulnerability, passion, and courage. But with it comes the other emotional side of the coin –and all to often, a sense of shame that precludes it.

Its not really these negative emotions that are ‘the problem’ they, like any other emotion, come an go as they are expressed freely then washed away as other feelings emerge. This process is halted when shame mixes in, which is really a feeling that regrets what IS, that somehow we shouldn’t be feeling these feelings. That we’re wrong or ungrateful. It is the shame that traps the feelings there, which can turn your mind into a cancer—eating itself.

The cure: releasing those thoughts and ideas not by shunning them, but indeed, by going toward them. Do not fear them. They hold no candle to us. I use the word us because again, we are not alone. It is this illusion that is the origin of shame, and it is shame that keeps us there, not outside forces. A study has shown that emotional pain  can only last for 12 minutes, all else is self-inflicted. As I think back over the most depressing moments of my life this is true. Sure there are challenges and out right horrors, but they are never as bad as my mind makes them out to be. They can’t be. Isn’t the purpose of this entire series of articles to demonstrate and highlight our limitless imaginative power? It is. And in doing so we remember not only our creative power, but our destructive.

Part II The Resolution

Both creative and destructive forces are real. And the healing aspect, the savior, in both is the other. Whether its that you realize your creative hero has sat down and felt the blows you are experiencing, that you call someone to talk, or write a letter to some  future fictitious person in doubt– all will give you perspective. We give each other perspective. And perspective we need when dealing with such high, creative forces in artistry (and their inevitable flip).

Often my most negative spirals are on the heels of some big outward success, career or otherwise; they seem to bring these destructive forces up, keeping things in check. Instead, of welcoming these feelings as an old reluctant friend, recognizing it as the self-habituated flip– I’ve run from it. But one can’t outrun their shadow.

A recent bout of suicidal delusions left me with an entirely odd realization: to grow larger than theses feelings, we need each other. I reached out to a friend, someone who I saw as strong and sound, and to my surprise he had gone through these same thoughts a year prior. I never could have guessed. He had almost taken his own life.  Surprised, I saw how this unspoken shame, this hidden stigma, stays tucked away like a misshaped step-child, but we al have it. It varies only in degree, not in essence. And if we are all equipped to understand these destructive thoughts that visit our lives, is it possible for us collectively not to judge it? Is it possible for it to have importance without indulgence? And to shrug away the social stigma, so it becomes like having a running nose (unpleasant, but a part of life, just grab a tissue). Does it have to mean we are crazy?

Because then with the idea of shame out of way, we can get to the purpose of these feelings and grab root to the creative thread that will connect us to the other side of feeling — which is to say that we recognize that we want something to change; that change is ready to happen. Can this notify us that we are on the brink of change? That that is why these feelings are there. And can we welcome it even though we don’t know which shape it will take, but clearly it is needed otherwise we wouldn’t feel so depressed? Can we see the breakdown as the breakthrough, can we boldly share it with each other like our days of the week underwear when were seven? Even when the undies didn’t match the day?

Posted: 10-11-13 11:11am

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