Wednesday, 31 August 2011

On being flat

Like the 12,000-year old planet Earth, I am currently as flat as a pancake. Yesterday I finished a painting I've been working on for the whole summer, more or less. Whilst there are always decisions to make with a painting, there does come a point where it's more like process than creation. So finishing it, I thought, could prove to be a liberating experience. I can start to create something new again!

Of course, now I can't, because the old black dog was sneaking up behind me even as I finished the last few brush strokes. It's been brought on by any number of little niggling thoughts, upsetting things and worries, whipped up by a (really very mild, actually) head cold. I suppose this is what sea trawler fishermen would call the perfect storm. Sea trawler fishermen with clinical depression, anyway. I am unsure if that would be a particularly beneficial combination, but who knows? Perhaps Captain Birdseye was laughing to hide the tears.

I have any number of new things I want to do, but it's as much as I'm able to do at the moment than to scratch away forlornly at pieces of paper in hope rather than expectation. Of course, when these turn out to be rubbish - and they almost always do, an inevitable consequence of the combination of a sad drawing arm and a hyper critical, self-loathing, perception filter - it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The frustration and panic bubbles up further, completing the circle.

The only person putting this sort of pressure on me at the moment is me, but I am a particularly intransigent taskmaster. I keep remembering my friend's words to me, be good to yourself. It's not a particularly complex mantra, but it's one that I am glad has seeped into my thought processes nonetheless. However, doing anything much starts to seem elusive at moments like this. Depression is a funny thing. Ha ha. No, what I mean is, it manifests itself in any number of physical symptoms, because the brain controls the body. The most common effect I feel is this great force pressing down, down, down on me. Flat as a pancake.

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