Mental Health, Uncategorized

Nothing Has Changed But Everything Is Different

Three weeks after my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) I sit alone in my studio apartment hovering my finger over my keyboard. My screen set to Google search. I’m hesitant to type, terrified of learning what behaviors I display that are the result of this new, to me, mental illness.

I was diagnosed with bipolar in 1993. I was so young that I never had a grieving period for the person I thought I was pre-illness, I had not yet gotten to the point of defining myself. Throughout the years, I’ve lived my life through the lens of someone who is bipolar. It is not who I am, but a distinctly undeniable part of what makes me me. It never scared me because it was always there.

I struggle with Agoraphobia, I have PTSD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. But this (BPD) feels different. All of the mentioned illnesses I’ve aquired were undeniable and obvious when they struck. When I became ill with each new disorder I still knew who I was, I still understood my own triggers, ticks, and quirks. I was still there, sometimes barely recognizable, but I never lost hold of this basic understanding I’ve formed about who I am as a unique, individual person.


Borderline Personality Disorder is not blatantly obvious, if you do not know the hallmarks to look for. It’s a lot like bipolar, not in all the symptoms, but in the stigmas. People generally understand anxiety and rarely fault you for it. PTSD is widely talked about and almost never seen as a personal fail. Agoraphobia, is basically the need to isolate, or fear of public spaces, again, not seen as a personal fail. Borderline though, like bipolar, comes with a lot of assumption and judgment. They are both often misunderstood and treated as a personality flaw.

This new diagnosis makes me feel like I don’t know anymore, who I am. I learned for the first time in over twenty years that there are behaviors I show that are the result of an illness that I know nothing about. I could not stop crying when I got home from seeing my therapist who confirmed what my boyfriend had suspected and even researched for six months prior. He kept saying, in hopes to comfort me “nothing has changed, you’re still the same person you were before the diagnosis” but, what I could not put into words was that, maybe nothing has changed, but everything is different. I may still be the person I was five, ten, even fifteen years ago, but how I think of myself has shifted. I feel upside down, as though the grasp I thought I had, of my own identity, was false. As if I have to relearn what and why I act the way I do, and learn new ways to cope, deal, or curb actions I thought were under my control, or in the very least within my understanding.

I reached out to someone I trust, who in an attempt to comfort me advised that I pay no attention to the new diagnosis. As if ignoring it would somehow make everything ok. I would love to ignore it, but this is not something I can unlearn. Now that it is confirmed, that I have this illness, it is my responsibility to understand it, because how else can I get better or learn to navigate myself if I deny the root of my behaviors?

I don’t know. I like to wrap up my writings like a present, you untie the bow, open the box, and have some sort of satisfactory ending like a shiny new toy. But today, it’s like I didn’t have time to buy wrapping paper. So here it is, in a paper bag, the price tag still hanging off the side. I don’t have an easy way to end this post because I am still grieving for a perception of myself that is now gone. Maybe next time I will have had a revelation, good news, a shiny new toy. But for now all I have to give is the truth, and it isn’t pretty. ~Davs

Image by Davs at http://www.Davs.Etsy.com

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Uncategorized

The Fourth Wall Art Studio & Gallery

Art lovers of all walks will uncontrollably shiver at the variety of talent we have here in the LC Valley.

The Fourth Wall Art Studio & Gallery is located at 832 Main Street, Lewiston Idaho. Check it out yo.

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About Davs, Uncategorized

About Davs: Update

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Well, it’s been 13 days short of a year since I started this blog. I wanted it to be a mish-mash of interests. And that it has become. Perhaps I have too many categories now. Perhaps I’m not cohesive enough. But I don’t force content. I just post when I have something to say, want to feature someone, had a fun meal, or feel like writing poetry.

So here’s my update. My son’s are a year older, still brilliant. My fiancĂ©’s still making the beautiful summer gardens during summer vacation. And currently building little child proof boxes to keep our non-verbal five year old from turning the thermostat to 90 and turning on the water-hose. He also built a six foot fence after my little guy used a chair to jump the shorter one and scared the poop out of us, after going on down the street unsupervised opening everyone’s car doors along the way. He also just completed 25 wooden frames for an art show I have coming up.

I am back to writing lyrics and relearning the guitar. I don’t think I was doing digital art when I started this blog so that is something new too.

The biggest thing that has changed is my interest in breaking stigma’s against mental illness and autism, which are two totally different things. I now consider myself a neorodiversity advocate, this blog is a good platform for that. And am working towards networking and building relationships in that world, including just making friends with neorodiverse people, hoping to learn as much as I can.

I don’t know if I mentioned my beloved gold couch in my first about me post, but it’s sadly gone now. And my audiobook fixation has died out. But replaced with singing and a new longer, striped vintage couch and matching love seat. So there you have it.

Thank you for following my blog, and or posts. 🙂

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Uncategorized

Excerpts

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……….

I have no method for perfection or success. I don’t have a picture in my mind of what I’m about to create. I move the brush with my mood. I push color until it forms it’s own identity.

……….

A blank canvas gives me the fear. It’s all the expectations, and pressure, and worries in life on a textured white surface. It’s mental purgatory. But derision becomes equanimity when I let myself go.

………

When I make art I fall into a fugue. Physical forgotten. Time suspends and becomes a blank slate for me to scribble all over.

……….

I could just be smearing colors into grey, that’s what’s so I enticing. I can do anything I want, there are no mistakes. I let go, fall in, explore. And then come back home.

……….

My art isn’t about image it’s about how it makes you feel. That’s all. The image is just a portal.

…………

I don’t name my paintings, because I like possibilities. I want the viewer to give it their own name, see and feel it in their own way. I’m releasing the moment in which it was created and giving it to you. It’s yours now.

…….

*below are separate excerpts but meant to group together*

There is something feral inside me. I have to let it out, or it controls me. When it controls me I destroy things. At some point I learned that expressing myself, let’s it out. So I create, write, sing, imagine as much as I can.

……….

The more I openly, honestly, and freely express myself, the more control I have over this wild mysterious thing inside me.

 

……..******^^end grouping^^*****……..

We’re taught, emotions that differ from contentment are meant to be private… As if they’re a sort of dirty laundry.

Why is it awkward to be honest? What’s wrong with reality that we can’t say how we really feel?

………..

*below are separate excerpts but meant to group together*

“How are you?” “I’m fine.” “How are you?” “I’m fine.”

…………….

If I told someone “I had a headache” they  would ask if I needed ibuprofen.

If I told someone “I’m depressed.” They would say sorry, and avoid me until I’m in better spirits.

………..

Would someone get a headache because I told them I have a headache? No.

Than why does my depression damper the mood? I understand people being empathetic. But truly, no one  can catch my despair like a contagion.

………..

……****^^end grouping^^****…..

Groundhog Day

My bipolar life in 7 stages:
1. Can’t find shoes
2. Frantically searches
3. Hysterics
4. Goes barefoot
5. Steps in glass
6.Finds shoes in most obvious place
7. Repeat *1-6x a day

…………..

*below are separate excerpts but meant to group together*

I want to live in a world where people treat mental illness like physical illness.

……….

I want a stranger on the bus to ask me “How are you?” and to feel free to reply “I’m depressed.” and instead of making things awkward, the stranger would treat my depression like a headache.

“You’re depressed? Where on a scale of 1-10 are you, 10 being the worst.” “I’m an 8.” “Do you have a support system?” “No.” The stranger pulls his cell phone out of his pocket. “Let me google the number for a suicide hotline, hold on, someone is waiting to talk you through this.”

 

……..***^^^^end grouping^^^^***…..

When I’m depressed, panicked, anxious, manic, or experiencing altered realities I need to to talk about it. Allowing it to consume me, that’s when I go crazy. That’s when I really lose touch with reality. When I am floundering, there is no out of bounds in my mind. I will create looping scenarios, wild and often traumatic, that play continuity to the point of inability to function.

………..

Please be aware that people with mental illness are not always experiencing symptoms of their illness. I am not constantly in emotional chaos. Most often I am very rational and logical. But keeping myself even like so, is a walk on a never ending tightrope made of hills and valleys. If I miss one dose of medication, if something unusual happens, if something triggers me… I walk the tightrope down the hill, and sometimes get stuck there for days. But there can be weeks where I’ve climbed the tightrope up the hill and am even again.

Listen though; no matter how deep and far into a valley I may go, I’m still here, I’m still valid, I’m still worthy of respect.

……….

Verbalizing emotions enables logic to enter the paradigm. In a society that welcomes honesty, we could speak candidly about our real emotions, and in return feel less isolated, we shouldn’t have our realities swept under the rug because they don’t fit into a Fabergé egg.

………..

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say “he/she’s bipolar” and watched the affect of that statement turn the person in which they are referring to into a silent agreement that it is perfectly understandable to discredit and or disregard them as a human being.

……..

I wasn’t able to talk about being bipolar. To admit that sometimes I can’t barely brush my own hair, wish to go to sleep and never wake, blackout meltdowns, racing thoughts, grandiose daydreams, and ideas, until I got help.

I don’t think, if I were out in a traditional workforce that I would feel free to reveal anything at all.

…….

*below are separate excerpts but meant to group together*

There are millions of us, who really do need psychiatric medication to function on a daily basis. One important step to fighting the stigma of mental illness is also to fight the stigma of taking medication for that illness.

……..

Would you ask someone with diabetes to stop taking insulin? Than why are psych meds a joke? Why do we laugh about ‘happy’ or ‘crazy’ pills? I’ve never heard jokes about insulin. Why would one question a clinically depressed person about taking an antidepressant, or a severe bipolar, or schizophrenic why they take antipsychotics? Yes eat raw, juice, cleanse, positive thinking, those are all nice, but truly for many of us they are not enough.

I’m so tired of people believing that I’ve fallen for the conspiratorial Big Pharma scam and “given into” taking prescription drugs. Yes, I’m aware Big Pharma is corrupt. No, I don’t like it. But I have to do what is necessary to keep myself from safe.

Have you lived my life, and watched me day by day? Are you the mother who watched her ten year old kick in a car window shield, with stop motion memory of kicking it in? Her eleven year old try to kill herself. Her twelve year old dress like Lolita hitchhiking around town with strange men? The numbers go higher, friends.

And that was tame.

…………

Is it that prescription meds are a crutch, are we over medicated, am I mentally lazy? Or possibly… just maybe, is it that we don’t want to face the fact that the brain can have a sort of arthritis, or Crohn’s, or cancer just like one’s physical body. Yes positive thinking, exercise, eating whole foods are all helpful but my brain has an illness, there is no cure. And I am tired of people thinking I’m a fool for not gambling with my glimpse of stability.

I’m pro-homeopathy, but I simply can not afford to play around with my sanity. Big Pharma doesn’t care about me. But my doctor does, and I trust him, that he wouldn’t prescribe me something that to his educated mind would hurt me. Some people can, indulge in natural herbs and such, and I’m happy if something works for them. I wholly accept what works for others. Can others finally accept what works for me?

…**^^end grouping^^**…

…….

I feel, by saying I’m depressed; I’m downplaying the realities of how I actually feel. When one is depressed don’t assume that they’re “just” depressed. When I’m depressed, I’m not just sad, and sulky. I’m drowning, I’m suffocating, I’m torturing myself. A ghost whispers reasons for why everyone would be better off without me, haunting my thoughts, overshadowing rationality.

…….

Why is therapy useful? Because it provides professional guidance. Why should everyday people listen to a friend gush about feeling hopeless? Because to be genuine is to accept all facets of our being. It enriches relationships, garners honesty, trust, and when it comes down to it, it punches holes into the wall that may be crushing your friend.

……

In my personal experience 90% of people who deny the validity of mental illness are mentally ill, that’s not meant to be an insult. The other 10% are either lucky enough to have never knowingly crossed path’s with it… or use disbelief as a coping skill, because they don’t want to face that sometimes all the positive thinking/prayer/mind over matter/self discipline can’t even out the chemicals in our brain.

………

Please don’t write us off with a simple declaration “crazy”. We go deeper than the flip of a wrist. We’re fighting hidden battles. If your significant other had the flu would you make them soup? Bring them Kleenex? We have the flu, but it’s in our brain. And nobody ever brings us soup. We’re people who are trying to navigate society with chemical imbalances that cause anything from heightened emotions, to hallucinations. We’re not crazy.

…….

How stigmatized is mental illness in 2014? I’m considered brave for talking honestly and openly about something that one in four, about 57.7 million Americans live everyday. Just think about that.

………….

I appreciate kind words and understand, when someone tells me I’m brave they’re showing support. There’s no offensive in using that word.

But the truth is, I’m not brave at all. I’m desperate, for me, for others, sick of being silenced, and frantic for change. I’m not brave, I’m weak, I’m in the eleventh-hour. Managing mental illness is still on the back burner of social priorities. People aren’t getting the help they need and that’s at the front of the line for a myriad of societal downfalls. We need education, resources, ongoing open dialog,  compassion, and understanding.

………..
Davs/s.davenport 2014 .

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Uncategorized

Time Has Ways *Original Song

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Mental Health, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Online Persona vs Real Life

Online Persona vrs Real Life | DavsArt

I was late to the internet. In the 90’s I was against the idea of interacting online, it didn’t make sense to me. I thought that interacting with people eye to eye was important. I had a pretty ambitious, idealistic, and to be honest, a very naive and one sided opinion of how the world should be. I used to say things like “I don’t read books, I write them” and “why buy a treadmill when you have the whole world to walk through” I believed in road trips and camping and coffee shops. Not a computer screen and a desk chair.

I was also a teenager.

Fast forward to 2009. Life punched me in the face really hard several times. I was now a stay at home mother, divorcee, ex food service worker, and in the height of agoraphobia. I was terrified of leaving my house, being around people, talking on the phone. But I still had that teenage girl inside me seeking for connection with the world outside. I had gone through the era of MySpace and transitioned onto Facebook. But until I started selling my artwork on Etsy in 2010, I never thought much about social media. I participated, posted pictures, commented on Facebook and all. But until I had a business that needed promoting, I didn’t realize all of the different social venues available to me.

I started off with a Facebook business page and Twitter. I started interacting with people on Twitter, and the forums and in private teams on Etsy. I started building an online persona of an artist/stay at home mom. I never talked about being agoraphobic, I never admitted that I didn’t leave my house. Not even my real friends knew that I was having problems. Some suspected it, others just thought I was busy, or always “out of town” when they’d come into town to visit. Not until December of 2011 did I finally come out in the open to my personal friends on Facebook admitting the truth about my situation.

Folks, this is how powerful an online persona can warp people’s views of you and your life. Using Social media I was able to continue the facade to people online that I was living a normal life. I was building friendships on Etsy teams and forums, on Twitter, Facebook, while never once mentioning that in my real life I hadn’t gone to the grocery store in 3 years, or that I was suffering from panic and anxiety to the extent that even a simple conversation with my own fiancĂ© could overwhelm and freeze me up.

This isn’t a self shaming post. No one outside of my personal circle of real life friends and family had any reason to be privy to my personal struggles. I believe I had every right to keep that information to myself. And so do you. But it is a testament to how Jekyll and Hyde your online persona can differ from the person you are in real life.

My situation was extreme. Thanks to therapy, my doctor, medication, and a hypnotist, I have overcome my agoraphobia. I still get a random panic attack here and there, but manageable compared to before. But I presented myself to the world using social media as if I was still that busy, ambitious teenage girl I once was, for so long, that when I actually did start getting back into real life I feared that my my online persona would clash with the real life me. And to be honest I still do sometimes.

Even now my online persona is a kind of airbrushed version of the real me. I pick and choose what information I present to the world. I post about the good things in my life, jokes, cute things my kids say or do. I tend to filter and crop my photos. You won’t ever see a sink full of dirty dishes, or me in my yoga pants and coffee stained tank top laying on the couch, drained of energy, watching my 4th episode of Bob’s Burgers on Netflix, with a bowl of ice cream on the coffee table.

This is my right, to pick and choose what parts of my life to showcase. But I think it interesting and somewhat important to point out that this online persona vs real life is not wholly the same. Not everyone may go to the lengths that I do to nip and tuck what information is available online. But believe me when I say: everyone struggles with something, nobody’s perfect. That girl always posting selfies with full face make up, has to wash her face at some point. And that guy always posting photos of himself shirtless in the bathroom mirror, has to put a shirt on if he wants to buy a beer at the grocery store. Don’t be fooled.

And with that, I think it best to leave you with the 1993 classic by R.E.M. ‘Everybody Hurts’

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Family, Uncategorized

My Dad Is Cooler Than Your Dad

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My dad having a picnic while probes land on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. Yes, this photo of him (making a sandwich) is about 29 years old, but he’s managed to stay cool through out the years. A musician, an artist, an animal lover, a poet and song writer, an entrepreneur, cancer surviver, loved by many, especially by me.

Here’s to you dad!

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