MA day 1

This probably could have used a better title, but I wanted to get as much of an initial impression of my first day at Hallam for an MA with little or no time to think about it.

I’ll come back later to insert stuff less impression but that I fond funny. I’ve been upbeat most of the day, with the promise of new things and beginnings and the unknown which will build. A constructive unknown. Knowing I can do this because I've done it before when i was less prepared. The day was really just a run down of the ins and out of the course structure the main aspects of it. The assessment stuff and how the modules will unfold.

We got to get a more informal feel for each other on the course and sense of where we ( well I did at least) we fit in. The module stuff I’ll come back to. The day culminated in a really informal meeting with the rest of the MA cohort ( there may be other students yet to arrive due to visa and travel stuff.) I got chatting to a few of the other people on the course; 4 teachers by my count which is interesting, and 3 / 4 straight from the BA and one from a non teaching background.

I knew we were going to meet the other MA students, but it took me by surprise all the same and I think my mind had had enough just whirring from initial thoughts and ideas from off the basic introduction to the various elements f the course. I get a kind of nervous energy that I expel through chat in some situations, this was definitely one of those. I had lots of odd humorous thoughts that wanted to shout out, but I knew they were just annoying and not funny to anyone but my stupid head. (oh in slips some self loathing)

At the end of the thing I stood around, feeling I don't know what. A need to do, I guess. But it was a dead zone in my head and all that was required of me was to either mingle or just go. Most people had just went anyway. I hung around for a bit said some banal shit and left. Leaving the room is where my head/mind/brain whatever my anxiety began to kick in. I was in a whirl, a mad beast in a head, looking for something to panic about. I asked my self what was bothering me. (other than getting work which definitely was not the source of the chaos in my head.)It was just my head my brain looking for an element; a threat to jump upon and blow out of proportion. A reason to say well this wasn’t right or that will be a problem. I’m aware of all the known problems and although I’m not yet on top of them all I have plans. Not great plans, but ways to at least begin dealing with the issues. If only I found my mental health as easy to deal with.

So none of theses things were in a problem. You’d think that realising this would help dissipate the noise and churning of my mind. No. Instead I found my self trying to not just break down in to tears. Having to control my self rigidly. I want a space where these things the tears the panic can just come to the surface and be done with. I'm not even sure it is a panic, it's just an intensity of everything, formless but urgently demanding; all consuming in my mind if I let it be. I’ve just had to bury it for dealing with at another time.

How did I do that. well I made a list of 3 things I wanted to accomplish today. (This was number 4 i.e. not on my list but in doing it I realise how useful this could be for me over the course off course of course. (It might even be a good decompression tool for me.) Then breaking those tasks into smaller elements, that I can work at immediately. I still want to crash and burn at time though. I need that space to be vulnerable, but I can’t do it one my own because I guess I'm worried about it spinning out of control and I want that comfort of an other human. I don’t need them to tell me it will be alright; just a presence that will allow me to know that I have someone there. Just being there would act as a safeguard to me spiralling out of control, to damage levels. I still hurt my self. Less visibly but left to my own self at the moment these overwhelming emotions emerge and a need for them to just stop, just stop, and then I get hurt.

The modules are fairly straight forward. 60 credits on ART Practice- In my understanding making things ( mistakes successes and so on) some documentation our thoughts on how and why we are making and having an opinion about it all , Art Context is 4 strands all designed to try to push the way we practice / make produce and display and to think about how we do this. each strand is 30 credits. Basically choose one of 2 choices as they are delivered. First choice is :
A) Drawing on/from the archive. or; B) Assemblage and collage.
And then:
A) Art Writing or; B) Curation - time and place.

A very rich layered course. I’m taken by all the strands like everyone on the course was, but being aware of time constraints I’ll opt for assemblage and collage, then curation.

That's me on this for now I’ll edit and move stuff around and be back for a bit Thursday.

I have a lot of thoughts to think out and this will be where I air them either immediately or after I give them time to breathe. Right now its time for tea, rice and some mysterious veg concoction I made. Tomorrow I’ll try to start moving my stuff over.

I also have therapy tomorrow and it will be the last session fora while because, I’m not finding time with everything to work on the therapy. I don’t want to be without that space as its the only one I have that is there for me at the moment. So I'm a bit terrified at the thought of being bereft of a space for a while. So until next time.

something about logic and emotion Part 1

To write this safely, I have had to use a lot of my therapy tools and hand write it out, to slow and focus my mind. 

One of my core strengths is my ability to generate a zabilliion and 5 ideas and scenarios in my mind extremely quickly. I'm not saying I'm better at this than anyone else, its just one of the things I do well. My logic and creative mind kicks in and takes my mind whirling through thoughts at speed, its too much too quickly. So a technique I developed is to vocalise my ideas this forces my mind to slow down. It focuses my mind on 1 or 3 ideas which my mind will chase and flip between. Generally from talking to my therapist I think it's fair to say that ideas cause emotional responses. Like thinking about a bungee jump conjures feelings of fear, excitement and so on. These emotional responses cause physical responses. Fear can get the adrenaline pumping and so on. This all helps us identify and respond to risk levels. 

My mind is great at generating the ideas, but it a bit addicted to the rush of new ideas and chases each idea as far as it can before jumping to  another tangential idea and running with it. Its fun, honestly it is. (If you've spoken to me after I've been painting I'll complain of a head ache, being tired and yet I  will talk about lots of ideas that my work will lead on to and where that can lead and where that....... (yawn) but I'm also quite manic in my actions being a lot more active. 

Unfortunately my emotional mind is not as quick to keep up I think. All the emotions get pushed to one side and don't get dealt with. This would not be an issue, but for life and it's general demands; I have to react to events, and the emotions from the whirling mind don't get dealt with. (I should point out that my mind does this even when I'm not  painting). I guess I use to be able to just push these things away or down and deal with them somehow - I honestly have no idea how I did it. But since the start of 2016(?) 17(?)  something has given way. And the thing I did -what ever it was- no longer functions. So instead all the emotions sit there stewing unprocessed, unlabeled, unacknowledged until some stress or event triggers the dam to burst.

This next bit is hard to write. It's how my body reacts. I've had over the past few nights this happen hourly or so -  I was really grateful for sleep last night. I'm not sure if they are panic attacks, but that's what I'm going to call them. When it kicks in my right hand starts to shake and twitch. Then I start crying randomly. It stops and starts over the course of 30 minutes or so. Sometimes that's it just uncontrollable crying. Other times it gets more extreme. I curl in to a ball, my anxiety peaks and I lose the ability to form words, both in my mind and physically. In my mind it rages.
 I have no idea what it is but it causes at its worst my throat and chest and all muscles to tense. I make a horrible tortured noise and then it reaches its peak where I can't even breathe. I become a tensed up ball of bone and flesh. My thoughts are wordless and too, too fast.

Then my body releases itself and I hyperventilate to get air and the cycle repeats. This can go on for 10 minutes until my body is sore and exhausted. At it worst I was having these for 30 minutes with little break in  between( thank fully the rethink team were there for me). My body might be exhausted but the anxiety is still there. This is conjecture, but at this point my logic mind is broken and I'm just reacting, not thinking. Maybe I see my self as a threat I don't know, but it can lead to self harming. I'm impulsively hurting my self. The unwanted thoughts of suicide will crash in again and again. It seems to be the only solution to end the nameless and formless torment. If  I fight that urge off I can end up in the panic attack mode again. Then suddenly it stops. I might get lucky and that is it for the day. WOOO!
Mostly it cycles (i'm not sure of the timings) pretty much every hour for whatever length of time. 

This is about as much as I can handle right now. My hand is letting me know I need to ground myself.  In my next part I'll be using metaphor to get ideas across.