Feta onion meatloaf with steamed butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. Yum!
Also, bought a couple of new plates at Target this weekend. Square and white. I'm planning to buy some ceramic pens and “doodle” on them at some point.
As I have pointed out a few times in the past, I have a block in my mind that keeps me from channeling negative emotions and reactions into my artwork. I'm pretty sure it's because it's easier and less painful to lock that crap away in a box in the back of my mind than to let it spew out in paint and ink. If I channeled it into my work, I'd have to feel it and face it. I have been working on this problem for years and not making much progress. Hasn't stopped me from trying, even though the end result is such a failure as both art and therapy that it ends up getting painted over.
A few weeks ago, I pulled out a scrap of black primed flat canvas and started stabbing at it with large brushes and palette knives. Stabbing would be the perfect word for it too. I turned off my brain, grabbed whatever tube of paint caught my eye, and just worked on the thing until I hated it completely. Usually, that was ten minutes. I'm not even sure at this point how many of these late-night angry art sessions it's been through. Maybe ten?
A few nights ago, I was feeling particularly full of anger and angst and cranky that I hadn't gotten to work on any art that I really wanted to feel like working on, so I toddled off to the kitchen floor to stab at that canvas some more. Two new colors added and ten minutes later, I was even more cranky, because it was a thousand times more awful than it was when I started. So I grabbed my favorite palette knife and the tube of black paint and went at it for another ten minutes, at the end of which I cleaned up my tools, and without really looking at the thing, put the painting in the space it's been living.
The next day when I stumbled into the kitchen to make the morning coffee, it caught my eye and demanded attention. I saw something in it. Something I hadn't intended, hadn't planned, and hadn't noticed while I was working on it. I can see it clearly, and now I'm going to stop stabbing at the canvas like I have been and take some care with it to try to bring what I see out so others can see it too. I normally would not share a work I describe as “angry art” and usually don't share stuff that is so far from finished, but I want to share this one, because … well, I don't know why. Just because.
As per my last post, about how I can't seem to let go of the stress and worry caused by things I can't do a damn thing about right now and how it's giving me panic attacks and making me even more depressed, well … I have had an epiphany.
I actually do pretty good at not getting wound up about things I can't really control and putting them out of my mind so I can get some work done. The problem is I have someone who calls me all the time (this week is has been multiples of times a day due to a family crisis), and that person, like the ticking of a tightly wound clock, will point out during every single call all the things I need to be doing, should be doing, and why are you not doing these things that are so very important?! After each of these phone calls, my heart is racing, my brain hurts, and I just feel like crying. I've told this person there is fuck-all nothing I can do about these things right now, and that it stresses me completely out to be nagged about it endlessly during every single phone call from them, and yet … they won't stop doing it. They even dredge up things I should have done or should have done differently decades ago, as though there is anything I can do about those things! It borders on abuse at this point.
Most of my mental health problems would be mitigated by this person seeking help for their mental health problems, but that's never going to happen. The few times I have suggested they tell their doctor about their anxiety, stress levels, ability to blow a hangnail into a world-ending crisis, insistence on controlling everyone they know, and maybe see a therapist, I was informed they don't need to “pay someone to tell my problems to, because I have you.” Yes, well … thank you for unloading your crap on me and then shoveling on some more crap aimed at me. That's very helpful for everyone! Personally, I can't wait for my shiny new insurance card to arrive, so I can pay someone to listen to my problems (and find out what health problems I don't know I have that will eventually kill me). I never thought I would consider doing therapy, but not only am I considering it, I'm looking forward to it.
And don't get me started on the rest of the people directly involved in my life. Let's just say that sometimes when you feel like it's you against the world and that no one is in your corner trying to help, it's true. That's not just the depression talking. When you tell people you are dangling over a chasm of despair by a very frayed thread and they just keep hacking away at you anyway, that's not helping. Like I said, it borders on abuse, and it's definitely mean and evil.
Meanwhile, I'm not getting any art done. Or much of anything else either. What's sad is I feel like working on art until the world starts in on me, and then my creativity locks itself in its room for the day. This year is shaping up to be even worse than last year. I had such high hopes everything would get better, but it hasn't. Yet. Maybe it will, but my well of hopefulness is running rather dry. I'm very close to packing up my art supplies and not even trying anymore and just resigning myself to the fact my life is going to suck forever. I would hope that's not true, but it's the way I feel today.
I am completely at my limit for handling stress. Seriously. Things keep breaking around the house, family members keep having medical emergencies, I never get to see my husband and when I do he's in a crappy mood, my bank card was yet again canceled for “suspicious activity”, and I have an annoying little health issue I have to suffer with for a couple more weeks until my insurance gets activated. Plus a hundred other stupid stressful things my brain keeps reminding me I need to deal with as soon as possible. I am at the very frayed end of my rope.
Since there's not much of anything I can do about any of these things, I suppose I should just stop stressing out about them. That's always the advice, right? Let go of the things you can't control or do anything about. Well, now the hell do you DO that?! Sure, when there's just one or two things driving me mad with stress that I can't really do anything about, I'm pretty good at letting go of worrying about them and getting other stuff I can control done. But right now, if I stop fretting over and trying to fix all the things stressing me out, the only things left for me to do with my time is housework and artwork, and the reminders of all the things stressing me out are everywhere. I can't get anyway from any of it! So how do I put it out of my mind?!
So I don't know what to do with myself, except sit here not sleeping and driving myself insane. I need a freaking vacation. And therapy. And a million bazillion dollars.
I had the mother of all panic attack nervous breakdowns tonight on the matter of health insurance selection. I’ve spent months learning about health insurance and reading ever increasingly tinier fine print. I had to spend months studying the subject. It’s a big decision, and since I’ve never had health insurance, I went into this process having only a vague idea of how it all worked. Vague ideas of how something works does not lead to good decision making.
What I did know was that my husband and I are at an age when things start going south. We’ve both been fairly lucky with our health, but middle age is when that luck tends to fray around the edges. We not only need health insurance, we need one that won’t leave us homeless and broke in the event of a major situation. The husband’s trip to the emergency room last year was an eye opening experience. We learned that his insurance, which seemed like a decent enough policy, sucked royally. This isn’t the sort of thing you want to learn after you’ve spent time in an emergency room. Therefore, months of learning all the many ways the American healthcare system and insurance companies can (and will) screw us when we most need them and how the whole thing functions seemed to be time well spent.
The end result of all this intensely stressful research is that I am now down to three plans, one of which will be the lucky winner. There are subtle differences between them, and likely any of them would do just as well as the others. But … I’m going to spend tonight and probably most of tomorrow agonizing over the choice. It feels like a life or death decision, and you know what? It could be! Then, I’m going to pick one and move on to dealing with other major issues that need tending to sooner rather than later. And when my brand new insurance card arrives, I’m going to use it. Immediately. The only way any of these three policies will be worth what we will be paying is if it gets used.
While I was having my earlier panic attack (which is still ongoing actually), I pointed out to my husband that I am an over-educated person with a sharp and analytical mind who is capable and willing to spend months researching health insurance, and I asked him … how are all the normal, average Americans making this decision? His answer was that they are picking the plan they can afford and pressing on with their lives. I’m horrified by this, because when I first logged into the health insurance marketplace, that was my first instinct too, and looking back at what I would have selected with the information I now possess, we would have had a nice insurance card that did almost nothing for us. We would have had completely crappy insurance. Sort of like the completely crappy insurance my husband has had the last few years. The one that hasn’t ever really paid for anything. I’m so sad for people who will be stuck with insurance like that. Hopefully, as the years go by, the healthcare/insurance system in the USA can be improved even more so no one has to be stuck with crappy (or no) insurance/healthcare.
I’m glad though that my particular journey from a life of no insurace and no healthcare into one where I might actually get to see a doctor and improve my health is almost over. Then the next part of this very scary adventure begins … finding a primary care physician and making my first appointment. I suspect there will be a panic attack associated with that as well. Hey, maybe he can help me with these panic attacks! That would be nice.