coming up for air

As you may have noticed, things have been pretty quiet in Shinyland lately. So far this year I've had two nasty respiratory infections that left me basically bedridden for a week at a time, plus my pain levels have been shooting off the charts every time the weather shifts dramatically, and we're having a late winter with more moodswings than I had during IVF and pregnancy combined, which is saying something. 

I was interviewed about being a disabled working artist and single mom last week for a project that I'm very honored to be part of (more on that as soon as I can share it) and I was asked to provide some photos of what my day-to-day life looks like, and I realized as I was putting these together that I show lots of photos of my studio space, and being out and about doing things... and none of where I actually spend the vast majority of my time, which is in bed. So I took these. 

(Few things annoy me more than the oft-cited "your bedroom should be for sleeping ONLY" sleep hygiene rule, because it's incredibly ABLEIST. My bed doubles as an office, and a place to eat dinner and watch movies and play card games with my kid, and a recording studio, and a desk, and whatever else I need it to be on any given day.)

I've been fighting my way back up out of depression, which I haven't wanted to talk about, except that I think I do need to talk about it because see also "mental illness stigma" and "fuck that noise" and... maybe somebody else needs to hear that they aren't alone in this struggle, so. Here I am. Talking about it.

My brain ain't right. I mean, you knew that already, but in addition to the brain damage, I've been living with depression and anxiety for... pretty much as long as I can remember, actually. I have a weird sort of imposter syndrome about it, because I can hide it well enough and it's easily managed with medication and it usually doesn't completely debilitate me, but it's there, and sometimes it gets heavier than usual.

This winter has been one of those times. I've been aggressively fighting it with medication and self-care, but it's been a struggle just to keep moving some days, and it's hard to be creative when all you want to do is sleep and watch cat videos. 

This very timely Twitter thread popped up on my timeline today, and that's actually what made me decide to talk about this - when I was much younger I bought into the "tortured artist" trope, but as it turns out, I do my very best creative work when I'm on antidepressants or mood stabilizers. (See also "hard to be creative when all you want to do is sleep and watch cat videos.")

I pre-ordered the Bloggess's latest book somewhat on a whim (okay, it was because I could get a free tote bag, and also she makes me laugh and it looked interesting) and... it arrived at a good time. I've been calling friends and reading them bits of it, and eventually I'll have the energy to figure out where my colored pencils went.

(I'm not sure where I was going with that tangent, because people keep trying to talk to me while I'm working today and JUST NO STOP I AM AVOIDING EYE CONTACT MORE AGGRESSIVELY THAN USUAL PLEASE GO AWAY NOW I AM TRYING TO WORK HERE. But anyway. I digress. Again.)

Tuesday was a snow day, and some friends invited me to get snowed in at their house so our kids could play together and we could try to avoid losing our minds, and I sat on their sofa for most of the day and put my hands on autopilot while we talked and mediated squabbles between the kids, and it was actually really good for me. I made a bunch of new shinies, and today I finally got around to uploading them. 

This has been a super rambling blog post and normally I would go back and edit it into something a little more linear and coherenty, but I need to go get the Short Person from school shortly, so I'll leave you with a song. The first one isn't directly about depression, but I've listened to it a bunch this week since it popped up in one of my playlists on Monday, and it keeps hitting home in all sorts of ways. Maybe somebody else needs to hear this too today, so here you go. 


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