Beauty and Other Bruises

I shared with you my poem, “The Beauty that the Darkness Brings” a couple of posts ago and revisiting that piece got me thinking about my strong desire to create beautiful things. The “Beauty” is the awakening of creativity. For me the creativity was originally in the form of photography. I would take many, many shots in search of the perfect perspective. For me, photography was a release from the darkness and the creation of something beautiful gave the darkness purpose. I do not for one minute believe that it was worth the darkness to acquire the creativity but the creation of beauty was definitely a release.

Over the past couple of years I have also created jewellery, mainly by beading but also painting. I am strongly attracted to bright colours and unusual pieces. I take great delight in seeing others wearing and enjoying my pieces.

When I felt generally depressed, I was strongly attracted to bright colours. In jewellery, I would make bold combinations and preferred big striking pieces. My choices in clothing were always bright and individual. It is almost as if though aware that I was shutting myself in, I was attracting attention to myself to make the shutting in more difficult for myself.  I’m struggling to write about this, not because of any emotions that it brings to the surface, purely because I find it difficult to analyse why I behaved the way I did or to describe the emotions I felt.

I always felt that depression was a weakness and that I ‘should’ have been able to manage. I would almost say that I hated the weakness within. I certainly never hated myself, in fact I have always felt that I was basically a good person. I just saw depression as a significant imperfection in my character and personality. And, as I’ve said before, I always strove for perfection in everything.

I remember my doctor describing my condition as major depression and wondering who she was talking about. I never actually believed that I was sick and probably did not come to that realisation until I started to feel well.

I was always very outgoing when around people, no matter how down I actually felt. Whenever I was asked how I was, I would answer, “Outstanding!” That answer would always bring a smile to the face of the person who was asking and I believed that their happiness would rub off on me. I still answer with ”Outstanding!” or “Awesome!” I still enjoy the smile it brings to the other person. The difference now is that I mean it!

I suffered extreme exhaustion at the end of each day. It was as if I had used every word that I had available for the day. This was part of the impetus to drink alcohol.  It sped up the process of switching from publicly happy to protected and withdrawn. I got to the point where I hated to go out in the evening during the week. I used to joke that ‘I didn’t go out to play on a school night’ but really it was that I was just too tired to even contemplate company in the evenings.

When I woke, often every limb would be ‘asleep’ generally because I had scrunched myself into unimaginable positions in an attempt to feel safe.

Since acquiring happy, I have a better level of balance in all areas of life.  One of the most positive aspects from a lifestyle perspective is that I no longer require at least 10 hours sleep each night, in fact I am down to about 7 hours.  When I sleep I experience rest. I get a sense of achievement from what can actually be accomplished in a day.  Clearly when you bound out of bed at 5:30AM and are still going strong at 10PM, you can achieve heaps more on any day!

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