not only, but also

the existential crisis i was kind of vague about in previous posts was regarding my work. i’m so dramatic. it’s amazing what a few weeks of perspective can achieve. even in these several days, i can look back and see where perseverance and vulnerability to change has gotten me over a hurdle into the centered environment i have longed for myself. what i’ve tried to articulate in previous posts is that i was passionate about my last job. i felt important. those brands resonated with me, because i took ownership and responsibility of all i could. i value the people i worked beside every day. 

for five years i had the same bosses. for five years i had the same career responsibilities. for five years i had the same mental projections about the future based on those essentials. again, i’m framing this very dramatically. i sought the ends to all of these things. even though i still get to do some part-time work with my old company, i can’t be as immersed i once was. for me, when i transition into a new role, i’m all in. my mind begins to soak in and soak up. i start noticing the world from that perspective, and the old point of view fades. it’s still there somewhere. it’s just not in the forefront. 

to be real and raw, it all just happened fast. i knew my marriage was ending far before papers were filed. we both did. that’s how we’re able to be friends now and raise our daughter together. but right after i filed, i decided i was moving to a new, clear space. and to a school zone for V’s future. then, i felt a prompting to look for jobs. i applied for two. i got called for this one, and i prayed for a specific offer. i told my mom if i got that, i was accepting it. and here we are.

that kind of faith leaves room for doubt, and it got to me for weeks. i picked up and left a lot of comfortable knowledge and command behind. for weeks, i only saw my parents and vayda. i didn’t even really tell them about work because i was too tired to articulate what i was learning. we finally got to the week before i moved and packed up the whole house, my mom, dad, and grandma. that was the turning point for me. it felt so light to give away all that burdened me, organizing it beautifully into a place that is mine and Vayda’s only. without realizing it, i was performing all my tasks with my own flair at work and feeling like a team member. i had gotten through a big event and two grants while maintaining my marketing functions. 

i was doubting myself in certain moments, but ultimately i knew in my core that my belief in myself and my values is what landed me in this position. in the past month since moving and having this realization, i am overcome with more peace than ever. i wasn’t suffering in unrest before. i was simply enjoying solitude while i meditated on the right direction for my life. but now that i have this peace, i find my productivity has increased tremendously, and i attract great opportunities in areas that i desire. i have several commissioned painting projects in my queue which brings my heart so much joy. i have graphic design clients i work on in my free time.

and i simply love my career. my job with the agency is something i am passionate about. it’s fast paced, i design all day, write grants, talk to the press–there is always something going on. it’s something that makes me proud. i can visualize a future now that makes me prouder than anything i previously imagined. 

wanting for nothing feels excellent. blessed is really all i can say about my life.

my mentality on world mental health day

i ran over henry’s brother my last semester of college. i was on the way to my marketing internship to finish my bachelor’s degree, and i heard a loud pop. my heart sank to my guts. i saw my kitten, owen, struggling there as sam and henry looked up at me. i ran inside for towels, wrapped him in my arms and drove him to my uncle’s vet office.

he was dead.

my anxiety was born.

compulsive, obsessive thoughts. literally uncontrollable thoughts of guilt and why. over the cat at first. i read books on coping with anxiety and guilt. i used the strategies sometimes. other times, i gave into my thoughts. it’s hard to explain unless you experience Generalized Anxiety Disorder. my demon is my comfort. my endless, cycling thoughts are my blanket. i get lost in my tight-chested, rhythmic thinking. it helps me connect strategies. sometimes, it’s super me, until it’s tired me. until it’s sick me. until i’m tired of visualizing the awful, terrible sight of that cat dying there. as if me reliving the moment will somehow change or save something. my mind rationally knows that’s an impossibility, but anxiety persists.

it started with the cat and intruded into all areas of thought. eventually, i decided to try professional help. i had a boyfriend for a short time who shamed me for trying to take medication and for discussing it openly like i’m doing right now. so, i let that shame in, and i quit a great course of psychiatric treatment (i mean, we’re talking like a low dose of antidepressants — not straight jackets, here). i won’t go into all the years of suffering i did inside. everyone else loved my high-performing personality. only my close friends saw the truth of the ugly depression when i couldn’t get out of bed to keep my plans when i knew they would forgive me.

mental health became a more taboo subject in our society, and i resolved to myself that everyone has issues of some form, so as long as i was aware and coping in some form with mine – i was doing “all right.” i finally tiptoed around it with my general practitioner when my job got so high stress four years ago that i needed something chemical. i started trying some low dose antidepressants with her. three panic attacks, a case of shingles, a round of antibiotics, which led to a surprise pregnancy later [on no medication]: here we are today.

today, i have been seeing a freaking awesome psychiatrist for the better part of a year. it’s one of the best decisions of my life. i talk to a counselor on top of that when i feel like it. also one of the highlights of my life. therapy has given me the ability to reach mental wellness heights that make me want to kick past-me. therapy is the bee’s knees. it’s just as cool as it looks like in the movies. the thing is, i spent so many years in denial about needing to focus on the wellness of my mentality that i never was honest enough to be evaluated by a mental health professional. now that i have been, i am free. i know who i am, i know my boundaries, and i know my truths.

yes, i am extremely open about my journey. i want others who struggle with anxiety and double depression, like me, or something greater or lesser, to know it’s easy to seek a course of treatment to feel better. in a matter of months, i felt better. i dare say, i’m mighty close to feeling my dang best. i haven’t had an alcoholic drink in 140 days, and i take two medications a day that make me feel balanced, clear, and productive. i’ve lost thirteen pounds without trying. i feel like a child again inside. i feel like the me i was before i was bullied in middle school. that’s how clear and lifted the heaviness in my heart feels.

there were years i couldn’t paint because i couldn’t see through that eye in my soul. that has been so opened to me now. i cannot convey to anyone how beautiful that feels to me, except through the life i’m living today and through this message. and it’s not just a chemical adjustment. it’s knowing i have been strong enough to embark on this journey and continue walking through it with strategies from a spiritual and practical counselor i can entrust with my life. it’s knowing i have that accountability, support and history when i have no one else, even though i have so many more in my support system beyond my counselor and my psychiatrist. there have been people like that ex-boyfriend who have literally shamed me, made inappropriate comments about me and my journey recently to me and my loved ones, and that’s just the name of this game. but i’ll tell you this, nothing feels better than victory over what has weighed down my mind for 7-9 years. i’m leaning into the positive stuff and the positive people who share the same goal. here’s to being more me than i’ve been in a decade. nice to meet you to all those who are confused at the girl you’re seeing lately. Happy World Mental Health Day 2017.

My Recliner

You act all HGTV and say things to yourself like, “No, we will absolutely never have an ugly, eyesore of a recliner in this home.” But then your husband buys you one as a push present after the baby. He imagines it possibly becoming “his” chair, until you yourself realize why men around the world fight over who sits in the ridiculous-looking contraption every Saturday during football game viewings.

The recliner is mine – to say the least. No one else is allowed to sit in it but me. It has all the perfect lumps and indentations from my favorite sitting positions. It emanates the faint scent of baby formula, pretzels and essential oils. Everything me. i have completed my seventh journal in this chair, filling it with letters to people who will never read them, people who inspire me daily. I rock my baby every day and night in this chair. I listen to my favorite songs in this sweet, soft chair. I devour books, Facebook stalk, gaze out of my picture window and solve TV mysteries here.

It reminds me of those unexpected moments in life. The thing you never expected you’d own, but that now takes up space in your heart regardless. They’re frustrating, unplanned and out of place, yet they are yours all the same. My recliner is my solitude and the best piece of furniture in my house–besides my king-sized; pillow mattress king bed (but that’s another blog).

Current Listening:
1) “Lover, You Should Have Come Over” Jeff Buckley [Grace, Live at Sin-é]
2) “Sweet Thing” Van Morrison, Jeff Buckley [Live at Sin-é]

fingerpainting

here is a mural i fingerpainted on my bedroom wall growing up. i’m so grateful that my parents supported my creativity and allowed me to paint all over their home. this piece really means a lot to me because i painted it over the course of several years. it doesn’t have a lot of intrinsic meaning, really, but each fragment of the piece came from some song lyric i enjoyed or a memory i enjoyed musing over. then my friends started adding to it with notes and drawings, and i never even had the opportunity to feel alone or unloved when i had my friends’ colorful stuff on my wall and my parents down the hall. it really means a lot to have a family who supports the arts. thanks, mom and dad.

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paintbrushes on concrete

i worked at a ceramics studio, and it gave me the best inspiration for photos and sketches. there were huge windows, so i could always play with light. something i still try to focus on is showing beauty in the mundane. there is always some irony in that. it makes people feel uncomfortable and ask,”is this truly art?” asking questions is always a good response in my book.

Below are some similar photos from the series.

(c) erinish

robot copy_wm

(c) erinish

(c) erinish

so, here it is.

i bought erinish.com about a year ago, but i have procrastinated and been kind of nervous about sharing my ideas and creations with the grand internet abyss. it’s really intimidating. but i am attempting this whole thing, and i plan to give it a good shot. i’m not going to force myself to do anything extravagant, like a post a day. but i will be sharing things i’m doing or things i like. whether they be ideas or the creations themselves.

so, my creation for today is this blog and a facebook page: facebook.com/artishbyerinish

i’ll make a legit post soon, but for now i would like to say hello to you, the person who has happened upon my wild, brain vomit of a blog. if you want to know more about me personally, check out erinwhatley.com.

i’d also like to say hello to you, blog. now you are no longer empty!