Wednesday 17 October 2012

Kiln half empty

Good morning

It's about time that I updated this ever erratic blog.

I'm having a late start today as I was awake in the early hours, swallowing little pills to fend off a migraine attack and I've only just surfaced.

Life has settled down again into a new kind of normal since Luke went away to college. Thank you all for the comments that you left on my last post, they were really appreciated.

The fact that we hear from him so infrequently, tells us that he's having a great time.

With all the communication systems that the modern world brings, it would be so easy to bombard him with emails and phone calls, but tempting though it is to do that, this is his time.

As the killer line says in this poem that my Mum sent to me when he went, 'love is proved in the letting go'. I miss him though.

I've been fighting a bit with depression recently - not really terrible, I wouldn't be able to write this stuff if it was really bad, but unpleasant enough. It comes to me now and again, making my stomach churn with feelings of crippling anxiety and my confidence hits the floor. My day becomes a series of deep sighs that say everything that it is impossible for words to explain.

I need to get on top of it, the negativity is self perpetuating and I lose motivation and self belief. I can little afford for that at the moment, with deadlines looming. It just compounds the stress.

I've made quite a few pots, but all I can see are the spaces between them on the shelves that are still to be filled. Maybe I'm expecting too much of myself?  It's a tall order trying to make all the things that I want to make, in the time scale that is available. I only seem to be able to work by setting myself ridiculous targets, which means that I always set myself up to fail.

Life experience has taught me that I have to just keep on going and work my way through it to drive these feelings away. Replace the negativity with a positive mental attitude.That has always been my message to friends who have been in the same boat, so really I have to set an example and stick by it myself, difficult though it is. Sometimes it's much easier to give advice than to live by it, but I know it's either that or give up, so I have to keep going.

I know that I'm really fortunate to have this lifestyle and I appreciate that, so what do I have to feel depressed about? I work in a beautiful place and I'm lucky that people seem to like what I make, enough that they want to have it in their lives and that is amazing.

But this isn't about being grateful or ungrateful. Depression in my experience, is an irrational (and self-indulgent) feeling that casts a darkness over everything, however wonderful the circumstances may be.

Other sufferers will understand where I'm coming from and there will probably be those who don't understand, who will just think I should be happy with my lot and stop  moaning. The tough thing is, I know that the latter is true, but that doesn't seem to help.

There doesn't need to be a reason to feel this way, it is, just how it is, and therein is the problem, there is no root cause to treat. It doesn't make any sense.

I write this, not looking for sympathy, or even a response. Sharing it feels like part of the purging process, and writing it down is helping me think my way through it. I won't be defeated and it will pass, I've been here often enough to know. Don't worry Mum when you read this, I'm fine.

Tomorrow I might well be high as a kite, that is just how my brain works, which must be a nightmare for  anybody who is close to me. Thankfully they still love me in spite of it, I suppose it's just what makes me who I am, for good or for bad. I do try and keep a lid on it, I wish I had better control of it all.

Please excuse this stream of gloomy consciousness, I did say that depression is self-indulgent. This post was supposed to have been about the pots that I'm working on at the moment, but it's gone to a different place. Maybe I'll do that one tomorrow.

Marky Mark is coming up this evening and we'll work late. He's a great friend and over the years he has never failed to keep his eye on the long term vision of the workshop, when I so often lose sight of it all. This stuff is so hard to do alone. We'll turn the music up loud and have a good time.

I feel much better for writing all this down, thank you for listening, I hope I haven't made everybody miserable. It's time to put my muddy clothes on now and head to work and concentrate hard at finding the focus, energy and enthusiasm to pull myself out of this hole. I know that it's down to me to do it.

I might regret hitting the 'publish' button and sharing this with the world, but what's a personal blog if it's not about sharing the truth?

Ah well, here goes


Barbara Rogers said...

Thanks really, for sharing from your heart. Me too, unaccounted for but intermittent depressed states...and they eventually go away. As I see others suffer, I wish I had a quick fix, as well as when I'm in that funk. Stay the course, and the only thing to do is know it will pass eventually. For me, checking that I get good food (vitimins also) and some re-charging of my inspiration (nature for me). We are our own worst critics. There are people that don't have the swings of emotion, no ultimate joys or dark lows...I think I like being the way I am. I know I like you being the way you are!

Dennis Allen said...

I think that evil little voice whispers to many of us from time to time.A buddy has suffered for years but is doing well w/medication.Take care of yourself and seek some help if it persists.

Andrew Grundon said...

With you, brother. I'm riding the same unforgiving beast. We'll lean on each other, as always.

Unknown said...

Hey Doug. You are certainly not alone. I've only really started accepting it in recent years... and it's finding it's way out on blog posts too!.. that's all part of it, right? Anyway, I have found a little book that has actually made a difference in how I'm thinking about stuff... it's very good. It's called 'fuck it-the ultimate spiritual way' by John Parkin... seriously buy a copy and give it one read through and see if it works for you. It's not one of "those" books, it's just good and you get it.

Anna M. Branner said...

You for sure aren't the only one. I have my days...or weeks....and I live with someone who has those same dark times. So thankful that they rarely coincide. Know at least that even when you feel sad and dark and alone you really aren't. And I'll send a hug your way just in case that might help. :)

Scott K Roberts said...

Hi Doug, just a quick note to say the pots you sent to Durango for the " Three Cups" show are really really nice!

CMB said...

Thanks for putting that into words. Apparently a lot of us know what you mean. I had this depression thing under control when I was working with other people but for the past year I've been working on my own and it has been rough. I find it way too easy to just do nothing, when I know that working would maybeeven snap me out of it. Anyway....thanks for your blog and especially thanks for your honesty!

Stardust Memorials said...

I love the designs of these pots! They are some of the best I've seen. I look forward to following your pottery journey and seeing the rest of your creations!

Sandy Miller said...

Thanks for writing this....... As a solo studio potter who talks to the dog too much and a family scattered to the four corners I find myself in my " dark place" every so often, especially with the days growing shorter. I blog and this summer the blog went off for about a month whilst I figured "stuff" out. Still crawl'n out but getting back on top again. Watched my Dad go through it his whole life so I thought it was normal..... But then what's normal. As I sit down to the wheel I always ponder the fact that every morning I chose a profession that makes me "center" a lump of random clay. Trying to center myself seems much harder! Be well potter...... Good Marky Mark is headed to the studio.

sewa mobil jakarta said...

Nice article, thanks for sharing.

Karina B. said...

From someone who also has dealt with severe depression and PTSD, I can completely sympathise with the effort it takes to get oneself out of the well of darkness. Quite often the trick is a friend who has the ability to kick you in the behind when you don't have that ability yourself. I suspect this depression is less about your feelings of self-worth than it is a form of grief at having your son leave home. Let yourself take the time to process that through, but keep taking the time to sit on your bench and enjoy the sunrise.

Susan said...

You are not the only potter who fights with depression, and has learned that there are times when you have to stop fighting and let it be, and take care of yourself, batten the hatches, and wait until it passes.

On those days a duvet and cats are the best cure.

Anonymous said...

I don't dare to say I know how you feel. I have my own as so many of us do though how one would know how it feels compared to another is of course impossible to say. You must have a strength to be able to talk about it. I find that so hard. An act is what so much of my life is, trying to persuade the world that I am fine while inside breaking into pieces that so easily could be blown away on the wind.
Know that you are not alone. It is good that you know you are loved regardless of what your head does to you. That is a wonderful medicine.
Swiftly out to the other side.

Anonymous said...

I suffered with the big D once upon a time. Took some drugs for 6 months and never had it again. I think that was pure luck - some brain chemistry changed immediately. But - I also studied Buddha - and I think that was probably the real reason for change. Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness: Walking the Buddha's Path [Paperback]
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana - Give it a try it is life changing.

emma said...

Dougie - huge hugs. I understand a bit too from my own experience. Looking forward to seeing you in December, will bring battenburg, meantime, always here if you need someone to listen. E x

Anonymous said...

You would probably not be the creative genius you are if you didn't suffer in this way. I totally 'get' what you are saying and would suggest that you enjoy the 'highs' and ride the 'lows' difficult as that can be at times. Meanwhile never EVER doubt your creative ability. Bouts of depression often come hand in hand with creative genius. Look at all the great artists from the past, they weren't all happy bunnies all the time. The work is the legacy and yours will be treasured for years to come.

Metal Urns For Ashes said...

The designs of these pots are very beautiful. I wish to see you soon in very well & healthy condition and also your best creations.