I'd like to congratulate myself on forgetting to update this blog for another 2 years. If you're one of the stalkers who elected to have notifications for blog updates, I apologise, the day of reckoning has come and I sit (in actuality, lie down while eating copius amounts of fruit) before you, ready to weave a narrative of exhaustion and commitment to the unsustainable.
I'm also using this as the cowardly way to get something off my chest. I'm not shy about what I say on social media, but keeping certain things within the confines of those who actively seek a quenching sip of Matt is my way of safeguarding against the judgment of the many. This means I'm also able to acknowledge aspects about myself that I've kept smothered under the proverbial soft, warm blanket of self-abuse for far too long.
After a few particularly intense few weeks a while back, I realised that there were elements of my personality that I'm not OK with. I realised that I should not have to be the eclectic ball of stress I had come to regard myself as. I should not be OK with migraines, shakes, twitches, lack of sleep, stress eating, fits of emotion and constant, unending self-loathing. I did what any person should do upon realising they're experiencing symptoms of something and got in touch with a doctor. The doctor then booted me to a therapist, who then booted me to weekly forms where I filled out how I felt and what was going on with my life. The prognosis was severe depression and severe anxiety. It almost seems cliché that a 28-year-old would suffer from the aforementioned, but because of who I am I hid from the results and avoided telling people closest to me. I didn't want anyone to think I was weird. I even stopped sharing messages of mental health support on Instagram because it felt too close to home. I was not OK with being not OK. Having the awareness that something was off was like having a raw nerve exposed. Tooth-ache for the soul and standing on legos at the same time. Doubting your own self doubt is a whole new experience. Am I crap, or do I just think I am? What chemical can cause a spiral like this?
I'm a few months on from that and I've opened up a bit more about it since then. I've had some professional help - although that admittedly stalled for a bit, and 90% of the people I've told have been nothing but supportive, a few people less so and there are a few select individuals who have allowed it to fuel some fairly toxic behaviour. I'll admit some of it's my fault, my constant self-mocking is a source of comedy that I rely on and I've been letting everyone share the joke for a while, but let's be honest, I'm making other people laugh. I haven't found myself funny in that regard in quite some time. A big thing that I've realised is that self-harm doesn't have to be physical, you can cut your brain on thoughts if you want to, a thousand taps a day leaves a dent in any suit of armour. My partner pointed out that I abuse myself in some way almost hourly and I'm hoping that I'll be able to work on that. I'm not as much of a dick as I think I am, I'm not as awful at what I do as I think I am and maybe I deserve some happiness. I'm a heat-seeking missile who is targeted for self-depreciation, I'm not sure how many missiles get shot down before they hit their target, but I've got a laser on it, so I'll see how it goes.
My immediate plan is to enjoy life a little bit more and take certain things less seriously. My follow-up to that is to be to re-energise my creative output. I've got a lot of love for what I do, but the way I've felt has drained me. How can you create when it's difficult to even consume? I don't know the answer to that yet, all I know is I've got a decade of bad habits to unpack and some kind of self-belief to build.
I'll still keep putting work out via Edge of the Map, but I'll worry less about doing what people expect and more experiments and stuff I enjoy. I tried it with some black and white images recently, they didn't tick a lot of peoples boxes, but I enjoyed the creative expression. Seems like that's the hit I need right now. I've started a few side projects recently as well. I figure spreading a little love might help ease some of my monsters.
I hope that if you're reading this you won't think I'm some sad sack. I've had a monkey on my back for most of my adult life, and as you can probably guess, I'm more than a little weighted towards pessimism. I also don't know why I've written this, maybe because I have a session tomorrow for the first time in a while and this is helping me get my head straight before then, who knows.
I think that being a creative type goes hand in hand with being fairly self-critical, but when you allow it to become a core tenet of your identity, that toxic self-harm isn't healthy. Stay humble, sure, but don't let yourself or those around you treat you like shit. I think you're better than that and I probably don't even know you.
In the meantime, if there's a lesson to learn from 5000ish characters of gibberish, it's that everyone has got something going on, and before you mock them behind their backs, you should consider that they've already said what you're saying in far louder voice in the shadows of their minds. Maybe the best thing to do is to raise people up and not push them down, charity starts at home, so that's where I'm starting from as well.
Anyway, I'm going to take some photos today, maybe do some videos, I've got a new instagram set up for some skits I've been working on. One thing I won't be doing? Worrying about what comes next, I'm going to do my best to enjoy the ride for a bit. Fuck knows, maybe I'll try and make someone elses day as well, that'd be nice.