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
I have taken a quiet time the last couple of months to restore my mind. As an artist and inspired individual where do I go from here. How do I use art to heal this broken world?
The world is broken because we don’t think creatively. Every person has this ability to be naturally creative. It’s suppressed and replaced with following formulas that don’t work for everything. Schools don’t engage students to think. They memorize to pass tests. The individual is lost.
Art has been tossed out of people’s lives. Not important. Today’s craze of adult coloring books is a farce. Again no creative thought is used. Just color in someone else’s creativity.
There is a fear of being creative. Being creative is not “keeping up with the Jones”. Not following the pack.
I am mentoring a young woman artist. A beautiful Latino woman who has given up her art. I looked into her eyes and I saw a spark of hope that she could do her life differently.
I’m going to get her to think like an artist.
PEACE TO THE WORLD
It happens often. I bolt up in bed look at my phone and it’s only 3:00am! Isn’t 3:00am when the spirit world is up doing their thing?
Arghh, I’m up for the count. But I’ve gotten used to it. In fact I love the dark quietness that surrounds me. It is a sacred time. The Twilight Zone episode where you are the only person left on earth. I’m in a special world with my God. Together we create future dreams. My mind can travel anywhere. The world of censorship is still sleeping!!! I journey in my journaling. Page after page of writing whatever comes out of my sleepy mind.
3:00am is Alice falling down the rabbit hole. It’s time traveling to the 1960s.
I conjure up the time I studied dance with ALVIN AILEY at the YMCA on Broadway and 51st Street, 8th Avenue. I was fifteen and wanted to dance desperately. I went and persevered amongst the other professional adults because I was fearless I WANTED TO DANCE! Mr. Ailey was a dark giant of a man. You could feel his talent was brewing in those classes he taught before the big time hit. The class was always packed. Mr. Ailey shouting out movements and then the thundering sound of the drum banging out the moves as we each danced across the floor with quick looks to see if Mr. Ailey approved. LOOK AT ME MR. AILEY. CAN I BE A DANCER?? AM I GOOD?? I didn’t care, I did my best dodging the long legs of dancers who plowed through me because they were in the dance zone and didn’t know I was there. I love the way my body felt moving and through dance I made body connection in my figure drawing. Dance was another artistic expression for me.
4:00am – I’m back from the sweaty dance studio and sitting in my peaceful apartment in Riverdale, NY.
NOTE TO SELF: a chapter of my life story; Dancing in Alvin Ailey’s Dance Class.
I experienced a future genius celebrity!
3:00am is special!
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
I HAVE BEEN STALKED AND CAPTURED BY THE DARK CREVICES OF MY MIND. I CAN UNDERSTAND VAN GOGH’S FIGHT WITH SANITY. BUT I AM A VERY LEARNED WOMAN WHO HAS SPENT A LIFETIME EDUCATING MYSELF ON HOW THE BRAIN WORKS.
KNOWING IS THE FIRST STEP IN BEING ABLE TO STOP FIGHTING THE DARKNESS AND LET IT JUST FLOW THROUGH.
DURING THESE TIMES I HIDE IN MY HOME AND RETREAT. I’M TAKEN AWAY FROM INDULGING IN LUSCIOUS OILY PAINT COLORS AND BUILDING LAYER UPON LAYER OF RICH THICK PAINT. I’M IMMOBILE TO ACTION.
I accept those times even though I shut the world out and fear I will never escape my demons. But I have to always avoid giving in to false evidence appearing real.
A month ago I experienced a new mental twist…anxiety disorder! I didn’t know that I had it. But I have to say I chased my recovery from it and sought help. I don’t have to go through pain alone anymore. And all through this I let the luscious oil paints flow on canvas and shared my experience to a troubled student in my painting class.
I don’t give in but I also don’t fight my mind…my darkness is another part of being an artist. I even used darkness in a series of paintings.
I’M BACK TO BEING JEAN. I’M BACK . I trust God and give to others.
MY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE NOT A MORAL ISSUE. THEY ARE THE PIECES OF THE MYSTERIOUS PUZZLE CALLED JEAN MESSNER.
IN REMEMBRANCE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH.
I have spent two years traveling the “road less traveled “. There’s a reason why the road is less traveled. I went from an unemployed homeless artist to a life beyond my wildest dreams. HOW??
I had a belief that God would carry me to where I would be of service. Where my talents would be acknowledged. My purpose was to be whatever change I could be in this crazy world. And I landed in RIVERDALE. THE BRONX!
I wandered the Hudson Valley and created my business “FEARLESS CREATIVITY Art for Arts Sake”.
I have made a name for myself as an artist. I’m 65 years old and feel that I can conquer the world.
I developed a painting class at the Riverdale Senior Center in February. Last month it was going to be canceled for lack of attendance. But suddenly the center loves my inspirational teaching and the work from students.
And Friday I was given a one year contract to continue my mission of everyone can be an artist.
I painted a still life (not my best work – done during my class in 2 hours). I started to play with it on my subway ride with my iPhone. Here’s the results:
original acrylic painting