The MIND OF AN ARTIST:  THE RETURN OF THE JEDI

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 




 

A FAMOUS ARTIST BLOCK  –  GEORGIA O’KEEFE 


Sometimes I think I’m alone in my artist block.  The ability to see that others have been in this position and they have gone through the pain of not creating for a long time helps me identify and not feel alone.   Even hearing that a person has survived being hospitalized for a mental breakdown is inspiring and hopeful for me .  I’m always in fear of having a mental breakdown.  I’m afraid people will leave me for being crazy. I’m afraid of never being creative again.  

I started to research artists who have had breakdowns and blocks.   Here’s one that surprised me.  Georgia O’Keefe. 

In 1932, after falling far behind on a Radio City Music Hall mural, O’Keefe suffered an intense nervous breakdown. It was only after a period of hospitalization and NOT PAINTING FOR TWO YEARS that she was able to rekindle her life’s love of creating art. 

I was blown away by this story.   I’m in great company with my mental breakdowns and blocks.   It happens.  So what.  

I’M NOT ALONE!!!!!   HERE’S TO YOU GEORGIA!!


THE ART OF … SANITY 


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. 



WHAT WILL MAKE ME STEP OUTSIDE MY COMFORT ZONE?

  

THE COMFORT ZONE- I am very happy there. Why do I need to leave it?  
I have created a vision and I believe in it totally. I have a lot of interest in my iPad painting workshop. But I am stuck on approaching new clients.  I am fighting my past behavior of creating excitement in my project and then disappearing because I need to deal with making it happen. 

I’M COMMITTED TO BEING FEARLESS NOW.  THE COMFORT ZONE IS NOT SERVING ME ANYMORE. 

As an artist being visible is important.  My mission is to engage people to be creative.  That art can change the way a person lives in the world.  Art is not just for the talented. Its for everyone. I have been working with a mature woman who has been very depressed. She is retired and has spent her retirement hanging out with negative friends complaining about her life. They use compulsive shopping to have fun. Yesterday she told me she is buying an iPad because she wants to be creative.   She hasn’t been creative since she was a child.  She was attracted to my joy of living through art. This is a powerful action she’s taking.  She is letting go of her toxic relationships and taking a journey outside her COMFORT ZONE!

I know my purpose in life is to make people have bigger lives.  Everyone is in fear. People want to complain as form of communication. The news will make them sick. Negativity is rampant today. Negativity has become the comfort zone. This can change if creativity becomes important instead of frivolous.  When I get people to try art I see a change of the way they open up to the world. 

BE FEARLESS!  TODAY I WILL BE FEARLESS AND REACH OUT TO MORE PEOPLE. I BELIEVE IN MY MISSION.