Friday, October 26, 2012
Since I have started doing my watercolors again, I have had such a sublime sense of peace. Several years ago I was diagnosed with OCD. It manifested itself in my not being able to focus on anything for very long, huge bouts of free-floating guilt and in forgetting things because of being distracted easily. I've taken medication since the diagnosis, but in the past few years, have grown more uncomfortable with the idea of being dependent on it.
Please understand that when I began taking the medication (10 years ago?) my whole life changed. I GOT my life. It was wonderful to be able to concentrate on one thing at a time. Guilt levels dropped (don't ask me why, but I always felt guilty). I got more stuff done. I progressed.
Recently - maybe the past year? - I've noticed a growing sense of return to the "old days" before the medication. I've been scattered and unfocused. I worried a lot. My house has become ... scary. My doctor upped the dosage a while back, but I noticed some disturbing side effects - mostly that I was sleepy all the time. It could have been related to the other stuff going on (sleep is a way of escaping) or it could have been growing tolerance to the medication itself.
Through a long a convoluted process of searching for answers to Life, The Universe and Everything, my studies led me to meditation. I'd always rolled my eyes at the idea of sitting in lotus position, chanting away. The stuff I looked into was more okay (see my gooder grammar?) and less weird for me. I tried it. Amazingly, I was focused. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.
I continued with my self-study and thought a lot about being mindful, focusing on the present (rather than dwelling on the future or the past), taking care of myself (so I could function) and not putting off doing things that make me happy (so I can function happily!). I love art. I put it off all the time for what I perceive as The Greater Good.
Unfortunately, the Greater Good is actually leading me to the insane asylum. So I started letting myself do art. I've been watercoloring. It's rather like meditating. I even involve Kenneth with me (he has his own paints). He talks incessantly, but I don't mind.
And I love what I'm coming up with. I found my watercolors from college - ones that received GREAT acclaim from my professors, but I love what I'm doing now so much more! I see now how I've developed from those early paintings (I'll try to post some another time) and have GROWN. I judge a painting of mine as 'good' if I still like it a substantial amount of time later. While I still like the older/first ones, I like these so much more... I imagine that in 20 years, I'll like these just fine, too, but will (hopefully) have continued growing and like the ones I'm doing then so much MORE, too.
A few things have happened in the last week that have troubled me. I have been touched by death in close friends' lives. I've also had a worry about my tutorials. It's funny how you can get 100 people who love your work and are so grateful for it. They might notice an error in your work and give you a heads up with no criticism - a "Hey Girl! Just wanted to let you know!" thing. Then you can get another person who notices the same error, gives you a list of other things they think you should change about your work and then demands restitution. All of this is labeled as "Constructive Criticism". And they hope I know they don't mean to offend but they want to help me succeed. Do I remember the 100 positives when that happens?
Regardless of how people choose to act towards me, I want to choose correctly in acting towards them. I have been relying on the meditation - either the quiet breathing kind or the art kind to be restorative for my heart, soul, spirit, whatever. While there is still pain, the bitter stings haven't lasted as long. The desire to lash out retreats more quickly. For that, and many other things, I have been grateful. At the end of the day, I'd rather have peace than revenge.
I've been off my OCD medication for more than 3 weeks now and I feel the same as when I was first on the meds - except better. I'm not reliant on something and I LOVE it. Perhaps I will use the medication again someday (I'm still getting the prescription filled just in case), but that day is not today and it feels good.
Now, to just get off of my chocolate habit. :)