In another galaxy away from my blog for many months, I have been reclaiming my true self mentally. I had to withdraw from the world in order to get off a very powerful and destructive antidepressant I had been on for 16 years.
DISCLAIMER: This is my story and I am not endorsing that antidepressants are bad and everyone has to stop talking them. Please follow your doctor’s advice. Never stop cold turkey. It’s extremely dangerous.
Okay so I have been on psychiatric medication since the 1960s off and on. The reason was I had childhood trauma. They have been helpful for many of those years. However, I’m 65 now and many things physically are different. The last 16 years on the last medication was actually too long and I was becoming less productive in the last year. I started to experience more fear and anxiety. Less creativity. Withdrawal from people. More drugs were added and I got worse. I was under the drug spell. Believing that the drug was better than no drug. Until I went to pick up the latest drug and the pharmacist said the co-pay was $283!!!! For one month!!!! Faced with maintaining the suppression of depression or paying rent and eating I pushed the drugs back to the pharmacist and said “I don’t need these thank you “. Called my psychiatrist and said I’m over all these chemicals that are making me feel numb. I m over being dependent on meds that have me spellbound. So she didn’t try to change my mind and she agreed to wean me off.
It took 5 months of being dizzy, having brain zapping, leg pain, insomnia, anxiety, days when I couldn’t leave my house because I was not able to feel grounded. But today it’s 46 days clean!!!
46 days and I am seeing that I am not a depressed person. I stopped being depressed after I went back to doing my art. I do experience down times which is life but I embrace them. I am using exercise, diet, mindful practice, and walking in nature as my antidepressant. Another thing I became aware of was the depression I experienced had a lot to do with the anxiety of my untreated ADHD. So now I’m just treating my ADHD with less medication since I have stopped the antidepressant. I’m a different person today.
I did accomplish some wonderful things last month. A successful art show and sale. Preparing a iPad art workshop for the National Association of Women Artists for June. And this summer I am mentoring a 10 year old girl in art. And I negotiated a workshop for young men leaving prison to learn to create art on their iPads. The organization is called Getting Out and Staying Out.
I am the Jedi Artist who has returned!
THE ART SHOW
THE WITHDRAWAL PAINTINGS
In my teen years during the 1960’s, if you put a piece of paper in front of me it was instantly covered by some drawing from my imagination. The 1960’s were turbulent times. Race riots were explosive headline news daily across the country. There was fear and hate I didn’t understand but was fed.
It was the time of school busing and I was to be bused to a junior high school far away with a lot of black teens. I heard about knives in the schools and being told to carry extra money to pay off bullies
I ended up being sent to a boarding school because I was a truant for a year and left back so my mom sent me away to have the nuns deal with me. And I would have to go to school.
Actually I ended up doing well with discipline and I had company with a lot of wealthy girls who were problems to their families. We were misfits trapped in a nunnery in Sag Habor Long Island. But I have to say I did well in school. I only tried to escape once!
Anyway, back to this post of the racial issues. I ended up being accepted by the High School of Art & Design in NYC. My major was fashion illustration. And I always was doing a doodle or drawing every day. My mom rescued boxes of my work and that was the tip of the iceberg.
So one day I had my markers and paper and in my imagination I saw two young black girls and it started with a doodle and became this small drawing. I called it “Sisters”. It was in my mom’s apartment.
In 2005 I found it and showed it to my friends at work. The paper was old but the drawing was strong. One of the secretaries loved it and she offered me an excellent price for it. It spoke to her as a black woman. It was how I related to African Americans in 1965 as a teenager who despised violence and hate. I didn’t want to have fear and in a doodle I saw love.
I purchased Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go ” 15 years ago. It’s my favorite inspirational book for what life is about. So this morning my daily writing practice turned to the voice of Dr. Seuss.
“OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO…”
Oh the people
It’s a journey worth taking
But it’s not a small feat
Though you may want to quit
Hide your head in the sand
If the fear takes over
You can hold someone’s hand
So be courageous and go towards the light
Never use avoidance
To deal with your plight
This world isn’t pretty
In fact it is sad
When you keep giving to others
It negates some of the bad
As an artist standing at the turning point
Not knowing how far
Keep being creative
Be the artist you are
People think art is not for them. It is only for talented artists. Art is mysterious. It’s messy and too much trouble. The bottom line is art has become a unnecessary part of life. And we have separated people into creatives and non-creatives.
I’m determined to address this myth and encourage people to engage in art as a way to create a balanced mind. It can be visual art, music, dancing, singing or writing. Creativity and imagination can improve the quality of life.
Stop listening to the news and start doing ART!!!
I have created a very inspirational painting class in the Bronx.
I created a painting class for the Riverdale Senior Center. I’m making them unblock the way they think of painting. This is not your ordinary art class!
YOUR BLOG IS NOT WORKING AND YOU NEVER SHOULD HAVE STARTED IT.
I don’t know what other bloggers do or think but I am working with a ADHD mind that drifts a lot. Also my ADHD mind started to change my theme and I finally got it back to a sane appearance. That being said I am ready to post today.
I want to talk about how I told my story to the Executive Director of the National Association of Women Artists. This is a 127 year art organization for women artists who have always been shunned in the art world.
I told the story of how art saved me as a child growing up with mentally ill caretakers. I als was sexually abused for a year when I was 5 by a neighbor. I never was taught how to live and I raised myself. But I escaped into my room for hours drawing and playing Barbra Streisand records. When I say hours I mean 6-7 hours. I also played hookey from school hiding in the attic drawing. I was famous in my room. I was interviewed by Johnny Carson in my room. I designed beautiful clothes for myself. I always knew my family was crazy and I would never be the nasty people they were. My house was the Adams Family house. Except the Adams family were a nice family.
Susan, the director, listened and after telling my story she looked in my eyes and said, “I am going to do something for you that I have only done twice since I have been director here. I am offering you a free membership to NAWA so I can help you and promote you. “
She finished by saying I was a good person and my story is powerful enough to help a lot of people.
And I will be giving a workshop at NAWA May 10th showing how iPad art apps are a powerful artists tool.
The following pictures are from the days of 1966-1970 living in the house.
1969 one of the many cats in my life
1966 Mod Look in doorway of house
1970 H.S. of Art & Design Yearbook
A lot has been revealed in the past weeks. I faced a lot about myself and how my purpose was morphing again. I’m not making things happen. There was the ADHD gear box. I was in neutral. Thinking of so many great things but not being able to engage and complete the ideas. The result was what I created an artist block. I stopped my art and got lost in the distractions to avoid my vision.
AVOIDANCE!!! A corrupting thread in my life based on fear.
I’m facing the fact that creating an art business is work. I can’t wait for the perfect action to take and have the expectation that it will be the answer. I need to keep being a doer. Every day.
One thing I started to do was paint again. An artist has to keep honing their skills. Also I am embarking on going back and renewing my drawing skills. I’m playing with creating a character of myself in drawing. Art has to come first and then I will be able to create my art business.
The last few weeks have challenged who I am and where am I going as an artist and blogger. It was not pretty but definitely enlightening to say the least!
Crashing and burning is a sign for me something needs to change. That thing is usually ME.
I was trying to learn how to be a successful blogger and business owner. After listening and researching hundreds of podcasts and listening to an overload of coaches who had different versions of the basic idea (you need them to get it) I found myself concluding that I am a definite loser at the game.
This morning was the culmination of my life as an artist blogger business owner. . . “I’m a recovering starving artist!!
I froze and lost all belief in my vision and gave up on everything that I have done successfully.
So Fearless Artist Blog is really about getting my courage back. Acknowledge my imperfections of learning disabilities and ADHD but not let them take me down.
I will keep challenging and celebrating ME. Face the world and speak my truth. Define my success of perserverance and let my voice about art is for everyone ring out.
I have been on a journey in the last year plus creating a business that promotes art for arts sake. I am a 64 year old woman artist who came out of the cave in 2009 when I was laid off of a 20 year job as a legal secretary. I didn’t know that this was the start of being reborn.
I was a slave to the belief that art would never support me. I was 50 years old when I finally broke my 30 year artist block and came back to joy of who I truly am. I have not gone back to the security of a corporate job since.
THIS IS NOT AN EASY TASK!! Especially with ADHD and learning disabilities. However, I finally became the artist I was meant to be. I didn’t think twice as I took the actions to be showing my work. There were many times I was the only woman and the oldest artist in a group show. But I knew I was a good artist. I never compared myself to others and was able to engage all the artists as comrades.
For the first time I stopped trying to be better than others. I am an artist among artists. So I can be connected with people whatever age they are. I feel I can be any age in my mind. I have the joy of living.
So my business is about engaging people to be creative. I’m teaching iPad painting classes around the Hudson Valley in New York. I got my first iPad in 2011 for my 60th birthday. I found art apps and my world of creativity exploded. I have become a more prolific artist with this technology.
I’m the Pied Piper of iPad art and I’m finally being heard. I was co-curator at an exhibition on digital art with a focus on iPad painting. I’m teaching workshops at gallery. The Riverdale Press gave a good review of the show. The community is aware of my name.
Here is my mission statement for Fearless Creativity Art for Arts Sake:
“FEARLESS CREATIVITY is about art is important for everyone. Creativity is not just for the talented. The mission of Fearless Creativity is to engage people who believe they are not creative by participating in non-judgmental art classes using traditional art mediums and technology with iPads and smartphones. In doing art for fun and expression they will experience a psychic change in how they are in the world. Today’s world is a fearful place. More than ever people experience worry and depression. The result is high levels of cortisol consistently destroying health. Art soothes the mind and helps us solve problems creatively. It reduces stress and lowers cortisol so are health improves. Our lives expand, love increases and we have hope. “
Created by Jean Messner on iPad using ArtRage app