Could use some wise words
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  1. #1
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    Could use some wise words

    Hey everyone. It's a-me, Pezz.

    I don't really want a pity party or anything but I'm kind of having a hard time with myself right now. I guess I almost need re-assurance from those who have been there before.

    I'm at a point now where I don't exactly doubt my art - I know that I am doing ok and that I've gotten better.

    However, I keep hitting these walls. Today I started doing a study of a rock formation and about 30 minutes into it I noticed I was clenching my jaw so tight from subtle frustration that I screamed and closed Photoshop without saving it. Today nothing feels like it's coming out right. My rendering looks blurrier than usual in my digital painting, everything's quick and angry like I can't slow down. I can't seem to focus and tighten up the details.

    This keeps happening. I did two roughs for a double page spread and got angry when the second one wasn't going right... I started to lose focus and started to panic and all that.

    Sometimes, all the sudden a few days later I will end up better at what I was doing. I will have made progress. My digital paintings will feel flawless. My rendering will be tight. All the sudden I will make something I love and feel energized only to disappoint myself again and hit another snag.

    I mean, I do have PTSD which is an anxiety disorder and I've stubbornly been avoiding therapy for four months (because it's god damn painful and I moved away) and I'm un-medicated right now. I have hypervigilance pretty much all the time and sometimes I'm ok... then others I just get overwhelmed by the stress flowing out of my limited cup. It feels like lightning in my head, a chaotic swarm of trauma and current stress - financial and artistic. I had to go to my school a few days ago and admit that I had PTSD because I started to fall behind on my deadlines (I also wasn't eating) because of flashback and dissociative episodes. Suffice it to say I'm looking for a therapist again.

    I can't tell the line between these being normal artistic growing pains and constant bombardment from this stupid disordered brain of mine. Just anything, any words... stories... encouragement.. please share. I need to hear something right now or connect to someone.

    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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    The experience of being afraid is worse than what you are afraid of.
    That's something I worked out for myself, and when I realised it the mother****er, whether big or small, lost most of its bite.
    Good luck Pez.

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    Not sure if you can view this in Dover NJ, but i'll post it anyway.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0175nz8


    Hope it helps Pezzle

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    "...the ideas are what matter most" Doug Chiang
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    Warm up by giving yourself permission to make a right mess.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    The only advice I can give its make it fun. If you get anxiety easily, the worst you can do its making yourself drawing like you are doing grunt work.

    If you really hate going thru certain part, try doing something you also enjoy at the same time.

    like u hate painting rocks in a scene, try painting somewhere you like in there at the same time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pezzle View Post
    Suffice it to say I'm looking for a therapist again.
    Good. As I almost always say in these kinds of threads, your problems are not art problems. That's just how they're manifesting because that's what you're doing right now. You've come a hell of a long way, Pez. Be strong.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Good. As I almost always say in these kinds of threads, your problems are not art problems. That's just how they're manifesting because that's what you're doing right now. You've come a hell of a long way, Pez. Be strong.
    Thanks. I just kind of needed that man.

    Edit: Sorry for short reply, friend was over my shoulder. I was thinking exactly what you said but it was smothered in doubt because of the way I feel right now. It's very complex and highly irrational. I guess it's healthy that I can finally consciously realize that but it does little to stop all this stuff. I'm going to stay in therapy this time no matter how much 'better' i feel after x number of sessions.. I do hope it helps.

    Right now I'm at a place where I was in the middle of inking a 2 page Apocalypse story and I started getting shakes and heart palpitations. It's a late assignment and I've been tormenting myself about missing my deadlines. At least I can make these mistakes in school.

    The hard part is where you feel like you're almost imprisoned or watching from a distance. I think it's called 'depersonalization'. I see myself struggling. I find these amazing photos and watch cool movies and see cool art that inspires me, makes me thirst to draw and yet I feel like I'm trapped in a dead shell that won't move with mixed up motor skills right now.. Literally woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and just couldn't function right. I know the feelings I have and panic/fear/cortisol release is very real yet it's nothing I consciously want to wallow in. This is the hardest thing to explain. I don't choose to feel this way

    Last edited by Pezz; November 12th, 2011 at 12:06 AM.
    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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    a friend of mine has a saying that I apply to myself a lot in similar kinds of situations... "It too shall pass" ... dealing with anxiety disorder here as well, slightly different from yours, but bleh, it's extremely annoying to have to deal with additional difficulties
    I certainly feel for ya!
    *sending a few reassuring hugz*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    Warm up by giving yourself permission to make a right mess.
    I'd like to say I honestly do this.. but do I really? I make a scribbly scrawl when I warm up yet all I can think about are looming deadlines. I just sort of fumble through them without actually trying to do anything and it's counter-productive. I just can't seem to find control.

    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenko View Post
    The only advice I can give its make it fun. If you get anxiety easily, the worst you can do its making yourself drawing like you are doing grunt work.

    If you really hate going thru certain part, try doing something you also enjoy at the same time.

    like u hate painting rocks in a scene, try painting somewhere you like in there at the same time.
    It's hard to explain but it really is fun. I enjoy doing it but it's overshadowed by a release of a chemical in the brain called cortisol. It's like an adrenailne dump except nothing worthy of it has triggered it - there's no tiger chasing me, no grave danger - just the stress of school/deadlines/every day life and the trauma I endured. I waited a long time to admit I had a problem and that is what is making me suffer so much more now.

    I never once consciously think "Fuck, I hate this!" while I am drawing - unless I'm doing a stupid project about greeting cards.

    PS: I know the magic answer is see a therapist everyone ^^; the guy I called yesterday can't see me until after Thanksgiving so I just need to talk about this. I'm going insane.

    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pezzle View Post
    I never once consciously think "Fuck, I hate this!" while I am drawing - unless I'm doing a stupid project about greeting cards.
    I only made it as far as Drawing 2, so I never got to make greeting cards, but one assignment I had was to make an anatomical collage out of construction paper. That was terrible.

    Really hope you start to feel better, I'm afraid I don't really have any advice.

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    I'm not saying I know exactly what you're going through, but I've had manic/depressive bouts in my life and the only thing I could do was just sit tight and wait it out, knowing that things were not as dire as I thought they were.

    Your art is kickass, you're a kickass person, all I can say is be cool.

    Please, help me improve by visiting my sketchbook and kicking me in the ass! ^_^

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    Try to live your best with what you have, with trauma you will never get rid off and with million other things that will do everything to put you down.

    And with people who will do everything to get you up again...its...

    So find those and be that...

    Take care.

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    If one therapist has no time for you, call all others in the vincinity and make it urgent that they see you. If that does not work, find a neurologic practice in the area, declare yourself an emergency and just sit in the waiting room till your turn comes. Get yourself help, don't just think about it. Thanksgiving seems too late.

    And you are an emergency. Your illness keeps you from working and living like you should. That makes it just as urgent as an influenza or pneumonia.

    Be strong. Care for yourself. I admire your art, and you can't go on like this.

    ETA: I differ from Liberty: You can overcome your trauma. The memories will stay with you, but you can learn not to have them run (or ruin) your life for you. But you have to work for it. Just sitting it out will not help you win your life back.

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    You don't want to make art something it should never be. If you really like art and have a need for it, then no matter what happens you will feel out of place without it, and you can not do anything wrong just by doing artwork.

    Other people can make you hate it, but you will notice that is just wrong for you.

    If you work hard your little doodles will look like blurry images of nice artwork. You can slap happy anything you know from experience. It just takes a lot of work to great great habits.

    I once quit art and move to another state to get away from fans, and everyone wanting my artwork. If you wonder what could ever make an artist run from fame? Stress.
    Not from fans, they would buy and sell your trash. But, from you, the hardest assed critic you can ever have that only gets harder and worse, and if you let it, it will eat you up inside. It dishes out pressure that builds and can make anyone crack.

    It is much better to have that laid back feeling. If people want your art make it worth your time, and that is all you give. Your skills do the rest without any effort.

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    Thanks for your input everyone. The Therapy group mentioned they could see me next week but I'd have to miss school (only morning slots available). I suppose it is worth it as I'm not doing much good there right now anyway. I will call them first thing Monday morning. I have no excuse, they are in walking distance.

    I really cant live without making art. Even if I'm angry about something I've done, I'm still scribbling, still moving my hand. Despite what Iv'e written I do promise it brings me pleasure throughout.

    Just in case anyone is confused by my 'stress cup' analogy, it is something that I picked up from Anthony the PTSD forum:

    Name:  PTSD-Cup.jpg
Views: 594
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    "Many people with PTSD struggle to understand why they fly off the handle at such little things, i.e., the toilet roll is around the wrong way, someone walked in front of you, that stranger looked at you, etc etc. The reason is actually quite simple, and easier to show than often explain, why those with PTSD tend to get angry quicker, more easily, and faster than others at little stupid things"

    Essentially everyone has good stress and bad stress. You have a limited threshold for what you can take, your 'cup'. Everyone has good stress (social life, sex, grooming/hygeine etc) and of course everyone has their daily share of bad stress (stupid commute, back deadlines, financial hardships etc). People like myself with PTSD always have a big cement block sort of grafted in their cup. Sometimes the feelings are so crazy it's like my cup is overflowing before I've woken up because of.. whatever eating at me as I sleep.

    It also explains why I sometimes have let myself go. I eliminate even the good stress because the bad stress won't stop pouring in. Stop being as hygenic/cleaning my house, stop cooking, stop caring, stop making the bed or folding my clothes, lowered sex drive and all of that are because you try to eliminate the good stress so you have room to deal with life (such as right now my mother is insurance-less and very sick and getting worse, I'm 24 and she's shriveling up... I have no job while I'm in school and my student loans are not enough to keep the lease for the entire year so I have to worry about money, my car is making awful grindy noises and I have a 16 mile commute etc)

    Rationally I think I'm silly... I feel like I'm abusive to myself because I actually make fun of myself for hanging on to multiple traumatic events for no reason.

    I hope it won't all be damage control and that one day I can live normally.

    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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    That morning appointment is a very good idea.

    Good luck and lots of strength to you.

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    PTSD is a terrible thing. I hope you stay strong and stay safe.

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    Thanks guys.

    Just wanted to throw some updates out there..

    I saw the new therapist today and I like him a great deal. He's very proactive, very talkative and asks engaging questions unlike my old therapist who just let me talk and said nothing. Right now he's having me keep a graph and diary of my moods to see if we can plot out a pattern so he can re-diagnose me. He doesn't think it's all just PTSD - he has concerns that I could have hereditary bipolar disorder OR GAD with a touch of SAD in addition, but the trauma may have been a catalyst for something inherited or ingrained in my since childhood (such as a mood or anxiety disorder that I was predisposed to) therefore making the trauma already THAT MUCH harder to deal with.

    I have no actual family history. Then I realized that my entire side of my mom's family is completely crazy and will forever be too proud to seek help or evaluation. I can count 2 textbook narcissists, 2 social anxiety/general anxiety, 1 eating disorder and one who displays psychological problems but combated them by BECOMING a christian psychological counselor.

    He is also vehemently anti-overmedicating people so he's giving me a list of psychiatrists in the area that aren't known for shoving loads of pills down your throat without need. He's authorized my records to be released to my primary care physician up here so that I can get a benzo for my panic attacks and flashbacks so I can make it through school.

    So right now I'm trying to unwind from today's session... I've got up the balls to work on one of my projects for tomorrow so I'm choosing an image to draw from. Playing Planescape: Torment for the first time to help me relax and engage my brain.

    I want to leave this thread open for now... but later on down the line will it be possible to delete some things? I am afraid an employer might see it if they're considering me for a job and see my struggles and say "Oh they couldn't make deadlines then... I bet she's still mental! no."

    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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    Good to hear that the new therapist is working out for you Pezz, and that he's against over-medication. Keep on doing what you have to to keep healthy.

    I'm sure later down the line when/if you want to remove the thread a mod could take care of it.

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    Hitting walls with art sucks in a way but in another way its awesome.thats how you know that if your patient you can improve. look at my avatar. its from 3 years ago and its complete shit lol.But it was the best i could do at the time. suffice to say I render much better today, i haven't changed it yet because its a remider for when i get frustrated now, 3 years from today i will be better still.i would recommend you get this download:
    http://theartdepartment.org/download...stile-takeover
    if you don't have it already that is. very inspirational. the guys words are so incouraging plus sales help conceptart out. i constantly listen to it while i paint.it can be very comforting hearing a professional artist pouring his heart out and relating the same stress and doubt your going through as well. im not trying to sell stuff for CA but for me personally it was the best $8 i have ever spent.

    I want to leave this thread open for now... but later on down the line will it be possible to delete some things? I am afraid an employer might see it if they're considering me for a job and see my struggles and say "Oh they couldn't make deadlines then... I bet she's still mental! no."
    personally i wouldnt sweat it if it were me. you are human after all. of course if you wanted to delete things im sure the mods would let you.

    good luck, and i hope everything goes good for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pezz View Post
    I want to leave this thread open for now... but later on down the line will it be possible to delete some things? I am afraid an employer might see it if they're considering me for a job and see my struggles and say "Oh they couldn't make deadlines then... I bet she's still mental! no."
    No prob, just let me know what and when.


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    Reading about the dry technical details of mental problem sometimes makes me feel down. I feel that it's just equipping my ego with more believable lingo to form worrisome thoughts about myself. To me it is better to be still and listen without following every fetter of ideas made by the mind. Then read about beautiful state of being like that describe by Rumi in his poems. Those would inspire me and remind me of the feelings that I knew of deep down inside.

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    i was diagnosed with PTSD about a year ago.
    for me, just knowing i have it has helped me sooooooooo much. i used to have horrible episodes while driving, talk about road rage. but now i put on stand up comedy on while i drive, so i end up laughing all the way to work. Louis C. K. is my best driving buddy. hah
    another trick i use is to give other drivers ridiculous excuses for doing what they're doing. always over the top silly things, like the bad driver in front of me has a pet squid thats biting his leg or hiding under the seat tying his shoes together. shit like that.
    but i've never had any issues with art.
    for me, illustration was such a personal emotional release that early on i decided not to pursue it as a career. i knew i couldn't take a critique. "fuck you this is my arrrrt!!!! its my soul!!"
    i went a different route; i chose design/animation.
    now, after being on this site for about 10 years, i've finally reached a point where i can take a critique without flipping out. and now i'm starting to get jobs doing concept art.
    i'm not sure how to end my post now...
    i guess what i'm suggesting is finding a way to distract yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDirtSyndicate View Post
    but i've never had any issues with art.
    for me, illustration was such a personal emotional release that early on i decided not to pursue it as a career. i knew i couldn't take a critique. "fuck you this is my arrrrt!!!! its my soul!!"
    i went a different route; i chose design/animation.
    now, after being on this site for about 10 years, i've finally reached a point where i can take a critique without flipping out. and now i'm starting to get jobs doing concept art.
    i'm not sure how to end my post now...
    i guess what i'm suggesting is finding a way to distract yourself.
    This is a valid point. I've chosen illustration as a career path and as such work cannot be the release because of the pressures and stresses that come along with it. I have admittedly chosen a very strenuous and demanding school where I have to take 10 classes a week (10 assignments per week, 7 days to do them) and I love it there, I love my teachers but the pressure is astounding. This leaves me very little room for "me time" and distractions..

    Besides playing video games, what do I like to do as a hobby/distraction?
    Sculpture. I rarely get to do it. I've only made one piece I actually like and that was 2-3 years ago. I hope I can find a way to make time for myself one day but if this school goes the way real life goes... I am not going to have any time for myself.

    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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    Today is not so great. Yesterday I felt productive and somewhat social, even went out with friends. Today I've been up for 6 hours and am still struggling to de-grog myself. I'm just sitting here doing nothing. Why can I see things consciously and rationally and yet not set myself to the task appropriately?

    It feels like my head is in a vise. I think my new counselor is right - this can't all have been PTSD from the start. I think I am genuinely broken.

    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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  45. #27
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    Black Spot is offline Pew, Pew, Pew Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Sends e-hugs. You know you don't have to do anything?


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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  47. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    Sends e-hugs. You know you don't have to do anything?
    I'm in school still and I have a lot of assignments due next week. I should be using my day off to catch up on things but I've just sat kind of stagnant all day. The school made allowances for me but I feel guilty trying to take advantage of them too much.

    E-hug received. Sending reciprocal e-hugs.

    "Twisted by the dark side, young Artist has become. The boy you trained, gone he is... consumed by Deviantart."
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    You know what? It sounds like you're doing that thing where, when you've had a good time you make yourself pay for it next day. It's not a conscious thing, but if you have depression or low self-esteem it's fairly common. Don't sweat it. Have a cup of coffee and give yourself some slack. Go for a walk or do something that makes you laugh, then get back to the task in hand when you've shaken off the grogginess.

    Whatever it has been from the start, you've taken the first few steps towards mending it. It will take time, though, just like any kind of creative work does. Measure how you're feeling in weeks or months, not days.. you're sculpting a stronger you. You can do it.

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    Can't you take a sabbatical and get yourself sorted once and all? You sound like you're getting pulled in all directions when you need to heal.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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