ADHD, art, being an artist, bipolar disorder, change, homelessness, life, mental illness, poverty, quitting your job, working, writing
Sitting here at the computer, having just posted a catch-up blog for the first time since July. I’ve been depressed for that long. Sheep. No job is worth living like that; what was the point to work really hard to become mentally well if it was only to become mentally ill again?
The idea of quitting a PAYING JOB terrifies me; appalls me with its stupidity. It was only a part-time job–I knew that I couldn’t handle anything more, at least until my recovery got stronger, so luckily I didn’t lose my disability. I won’t starve, and there is a roof over my head. What amazing luck! How glorious a miracle! For reals, that sentence always makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery. I guess skipping some meals so your kid gets to eat and becoming homeless–twice–changes your perspective.
Anyway. The scary thing. I’ve just realized that–I have to write. And possibly do other art. It would be swell if I find a way to monetize that, but if I don’t, I am choosing to give up the luxuries of clothes shopping and always being able to eat out (somewhere cheap). If I don’t, I’ll get sicker; I might die. And I don’t want to die.
I have a strange little life, being mentally ill. My plans just changed at the last minute this morning, and for a few minutes my ADHD had a tantrum while it rebooted. Hate that. I would love to be spontaneous, but my brain chemistry has different ideas. I have to work around that every day. It’s a challenge to just be me, let alone living life on life’s terms. Why make it even worse?
If you’re not an artist, you may not understand this; if you are an artist, then you will: We are wired differently. If we don’t create, we wither and die. Our growth stops. Our joy vanishes. And then we start looking at knives and pills with a certain longing, as we calculate the odds: How much longer can I stay alive just for Them? Because staying alive for US is about as appetizing as the freezer-burned bargain-brand burrito you forgot about last June: A hard thing to swallow; we chew each day, trying to overlook its taste of cardboard.
I was definitely in the burrito stage, realizing at the end of each weekend that I had to go back to that place. At last the tears broke through my concrete facade and I told my boss (who has been the main thing keeping me in the job; I stay because I love her) that I wasn’t coming in this week. We have next week off anyway; by its end I will have exercised (and exorcised) my rusty, weeping brain by finishing my NaNoWriMo project, and I’ll see if I’ve built up enough residual joy to garner a few more small paychecks.
Very small paychecks: All they buy are the depression force-feeding me the bargain-brand burritos, pre-wrapped in neglect; only in my field they all smell faintly of unwashed bodies and of urine.