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i have no idea what i'm doing anymore

 

Drugs

I moved to erinveness.com permanently. Although I love(d) comadiary, I fancied a change. I needed to move on from who I was to who I am. Not that I know either of them particularly well. I took the liberty of moving my followers on bloglovin.  If you didn't want to be moved, I'm sorry. Feel free to unfollow. I'm still not 100% happy with how everything has settled here. I need to find a new theme that is far easier to adapt using html than this one is currently, but it'll do. The story of my life, it'll do.

What is bravery? What is bravery in 2016, the land of social media and sharing?

It's been three years since I left psychiatric hospital, I have reached what could be called stability, but that stability comes at a price and the price to pay is I've made myself small. I no longer take risks, it has been over a year since I last exhibited any art work and I have no plans to exhibit any ever again. I think about things that I could do, zines and prints among them, but I don't. I'm scared of rejection and I'm scared of letting myself down and I'm scared of failing. Most of all I'm scared that those feelings are going to consume me and send me right back to psych units and weekly therapy.

For those of us learning to live with mental illness there is a direct correlation of putting yourself out there and being resilient and brave enough to deal with disappointment and hurt and recovery. Recovery becomes easiest when there are less stressors. Being yourself and living becomes simple when the inputs of life are diluted to what you allow within your four walls.

This is obvious, I'm sure. If nothing else I do like to point out the sky is blue and the grass is green.

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 Yet all this knowledge has yet to allow me to step out of that comfort zone. The self imposed restrictions on my art, my relationships and the activities I partake in leave little room for excitement. I used to be so brave, and when I posted a status to that effect on facebook, I realised that the answer wasn't how to be brave once again, but if I was ready to brave, if I was ready to trust in myself, that I have learnt lessons and I have created a strong support system and ways of coping with disappointment.

In some ways, I am already brave. I walk home at night alone unafraid of who or what may be following or lurking. I wear what I want and embrace my (often terrible) music choices without fear of reprisal. I am politically aligned to the left, to Corbyn, and staying in Europe and feel no fear at making my beliefs and reasons heard. I have confidence in my philosophies and morals within life, providing I stay within my bubble of safety. I am not scared of men or women, if monsters truly exist; the scariest one is the one inside me. My imagination is vast and I've been in dire straits before. I'm the fawn that flatlined and I still bounced back.

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I have no answers. I only have questions and unquenchable need for stories. Every day stories of life, growing up, love, those nights and days, the ones that stick in the mind for no reason than they do. I listen to angry music and wish that I could make others feel what I feel when that guitar solo kicks in. There's a feeling to it that I've never seen replicated.

Of all the helpful posts on mental illness and being an artist, on being a 20-something millennial there is no easy way of being able to trust yourself enough. All the advice in the world can't make anyone take that leap of faith in themselves and the things that they've created. Instead it's a stubbornness that 'I will not be beaten', 'I can do this', or something. It's not the creating I struggle with, it's the putting it out there, and there is a massive difference in posting to instagram, facebook or any other social media and attempting to sell or exhibit works. Anyone who runs an online business knows that likes do not mean sales. Likes do not mean customers every single time.

To put a monetary value on what we do is to be brave, to offer it up for the buying is brave. It takes investment, of time and money. There can't be any worse feeling than watching stock gather dust. If you don't try you can't fail. If you don't try there is no waste product from hopes and dreams.

I know that, as it stands, my life can't quite continue in this vein. It's stifling and with any luck I'll break through the invisible barrier that allows me to put myself out there in a different way, one that allows me to take chances and be brave. What they don't tell you about recovery is that there is a lot of treading water. There is a lot of not fully committing incase it all ends up back at stage one, because the last thing I want to happen is to go back when I've moved so far forward.

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WEARINGErin Veness