Because bipolar disorder can throw me for a loop, it can take months after an episode of mania till my thoughts are clear, my vision isn’t blurred and I am not as easily distracted as a puppy with her choice of bacon, liver snaps, a new ball and squirrels all around.
This time it’s been a struggle and sometimes the weeks feel like months, but I’m trying to relax and be gentle with myself. So until I can draw and paint, I am “hand-tinting” photographs in photoshop. I’ve always been interested in portraiture and love life drawing, so I am going to “work with people” in my current pieces. Eventually I’ll be scanning some artwork that isn’t digital or computer-based. Until I feel comfortable enough with a pencil in hand, I’ll have fun this way.
So far, I’ve worked on a portrait of my best friend, Tammy, and of my hero, Michael Stipe (from the band R.E.M.). I got the idea of make-up from his usual stage theatre type of makeup, but I don’t know if I’ll do every portrait that way..we’ll see how it goes.
Believe it or not, I took my first step by “pretending” to paint, dragging empty brushes against the computer screen. The idea sort of grew from there. You do what you gotta do! If you find you are struggling with something that seems unbearable or heavy, I don’t know what to tell you except that it is easier to give up and give in.
It is harder to accept the feelings, but push yourself hard enough to put one foot in front of the other …and then…. take it easy long enough to “fall in a new direction”. Sometimes letting go a bit can give you the answer. I think of it like when you are on a swing and you pump your legs until you’re quite tired, and then you drag your feet against the ground to slow down and let yourself swing a bit wildly and loose and twist up the chains a bit, or go upside-down or just jump off the swing altogether, to land in the soft grass.
Even when you are not struggling, it is good to let yourself break free from the routine of what has always worked in the past.