Monday, August 20, 2007

summertime blues

sometimes I wonder what I'm a gonna do
but there ain't no cure for the summertime blues
Home again home again. I'm totally out of practice at this blog thing, and haven't even made a dent in trying to catch up on what's been going on out there, so it may take awhile to do the rounds. Meantime, I've been uploading/editing/playing with my photos and doing laundry! It's not like I'm missing playing outside, though; after years of mostly mild winters and warm, dry summers here, the weather gods have chosen the past year to even the score. Though we had a pretty good time anyway, those aforementioned gods annoyed us with rain, cold and unseasonable mosquitoes up at Lillooet Lake and made it impossible for us to access swimming while on Salt Spring Island. It's a bit like my mood. Sometimes I struggle with depression which manifests itself in carefully-camouflaged (except to a few) antisocial and obsessive behaviours. Most of the time it's under control but 2007 has been a bad one. When I lose the ability to see the funny side of everything and have an overwhelming urge to stick my head in the sand I know I'm in trouble again. After failing to get anything out of another aborted attempt at counselling and trying to avoid the SSRI route I got a kick in the pants when I came across the following words (most of which I could've written) yesterday in Po Bronson's What Should I Do With My Life:
I've learned that without structure I become unstable and self-destructive fairly quickly. I have an ability to reimagine the world. I used to glorify this ability to pretend -- it's the essential gift behind writing fiction, and it's a great coping mechanism for dealing with rejection. But I'm not proud of it anymore. Sometimes, when things get tough, I run away -- run away into my imagination, run toward a new life, like so many empty pages, ready to be filled ... My struggle now is to stay grounded and not indulge my imagination. To stick with this life.

Amen. I once had the art of running away perfected, both in my head and in my life, but having kids changed all that. Since then I have learned that the best way to not give power to the demons of my childhood, failed relationships and poor career/life choices comes in a neat little package that consists of working every day (which I quit doing in mid June), getting a regular injection of endorphins through cardio exercise (I haven't run in a year since I injured my foot last summer and then had a two-month long battle with a respiratory infection this summer) and adhering to a flexible but consistent daily routine (which is impossible in summer with the kids at home). No wonder I've been struggling so much lately. Time to get back to my morning runs and daily painting. Unlike the stereotype of most parents, I don't look forward to the kids going back to school, but I know I really need it this year. Two weeks to go.

But enough navel gazing and back to this summer's crop of vacation photos. I'm posting a few here, but for more go here and here. Choose the 'view as slide show' option in the upper right-hand corner if you don't want to look at them individually.


Blogger Angela Rockett said...

Beautiful photos, Andrea.

Wow, everything you said just rang so true for me too, though I've never really been able to set up a real routine (nor have I ever been able to enjoy running, though I'm trying to take more walks). It's more of a loose set of things that I know make me feel balanced. And boy do I get kicked hard when I can't or don't do them. Got kicked last week as a matter of fact.

Glad you're back. Missed you. :)


20/8/07 10:55 a.m.  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

I could kiss you for what you wrote here, primarily because I have been going through much the same thing as you (for many of the same reasons), so the wisdom of what you shared definitely addresses my inner turmoil of late. I needed that very much. Your photos, by the way, are very nice.
As for the art gallery, yes, it is the one on Moss. And, I don't think my displeasure was a reflection of my mood, because Wendy felt exactly the same way about it. "I hate feeling like I've been ripped off," is how she put it. I just felt that it was a bit of an insult to an awful lot of fine artists (past and present) by its focus. And yes, the curator has a great deal to do with that.
Cheers, Ian

20/8/07 1:42 p.m.  
Blogger Tori said...

Amazing photos, but most touching are your words. Your recognition of who you are, your ability to connect the dots, and want to move forward in the best way possible is admirable.
Email me anytime.

Be Well

20/8/07 5:44 p.m.  
Blogger Mei Shile said...

Nice pictures, Andrea! I would enjoy to return in BC and know more about it.
I recently read an article on the net about depression and creativity. I don't know if this is appropriate to what you wrote, as I understood it. I will try to find it and give the link.

21/8/07 3:40 a.m.  
Blogger HMBT said...

Great photos! Is that your dog in the photo? I have a blue merle aussie too...his name is Mr. Wiggles. He has the coolest blue eyes and is possibly the best friend I have ever had...besides Mate Man of course.
this post hit home for me too as it did for many I assume. I have had a terrible summer too, without the ability to create everyday...I fear I might be going mad. So glad you are back, I missed you too.

21/8/07 3:44 a.m.  
Blogger Alda said...

Andrea, thanks for sharing this. It's always uplifting to read the words of a kindred spirit - even if they are somewhat downbeat.

I once had the art of running away perfected, both in my head and in my life, but having kids changed all that for both economic and practical reasons - yep, and yep. getting a regular injection of endorphins through cardio exercise - amen.

I think it requires both bravery and dedication to live with the effects of a mangled childhood, and major kudos to you for discovering what your needs are and striving to meet them.

Sorry the counselling didn't work out. Maybe try a 12-step group? After struggling with depression for years, I'm happy to say that it worked wonders for me.

21/8/07 5:11 a.m.  
Blogger daisies said...

i just returned home myself after losing myself and finding myself out on the coastal waters ... i can relate to much of what you have said over the course of my life ... though today, right now, i am finally feeling joyous again and i hope i can find ways to hold on to that ... sending you love ... xox

21/8/07 8:19 a.m.  
Blogger nadine said...

I am lost without a routine. For the moment (well, for the past uh, 20 years) I have handed that task to an employer to tell me when and where to show up, and what to do. When we first moved to NC, I was without a green card, and the memory of that year, unable to work, knowing no one, no kids to occupy my time, keeps me from quitting a job that I have outgrown, and taking on the task of being the boss my own routine. I think I don't trust myself to recognize (and act on) what I need to stay happy and grounded. I am inspired by this post though! You have defined the things you need to change to get back on track. That's half the battle :-)

21/8/07 8:20 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Angela: Thanks and I thought you might relate to this -- and I hope this week is a lot better than last!

Ian: Since I relate to so much of what you write I'm glad I could reciprocate somewhat.

Tori: Connecting the dots -- I love that. Thank you. I want to rename my blog now: "Connecting the Dots." :)

Michele: I'm looking forward to the article ~ thank you for looking for it for me.

HMBT: Yes he's an Aussie and the goofiest, most innocent and charming dog. He's now 10 years old and since I lost my old dog Zoe last year I'm starting to worry about him getting old, though he's not showing any signs of it yet. And I sure hope things perk up for you, too. Stay away from those destructive influences!

Alda: Thanks -- and isn't it scary how much our early influences colour the rest of our days? It illustrates clearly the sacred duty we have as parents. As for counselling, it started well but when your therapist has no medium term memory and you have to invent the wheel every time you see her, then she goes medieval on your ass over something out of your control well then thanks, but no thanks. I haven't thought about a 12 step group, so thanks for the suggestion.

Daisies: You're very kind and hang on to that feeling! Can you maybe bottle it and sell it? :)

Nadoine: Check in with me again when I'm back in the saddle just in case I'm wrong about it this time. :) I did well with external structure, too, in some cases, but found it stifling in others. Why is it all such a balancing act I wonder?

21/8/07 8:28 a.m.  
Blogger Mei Shile said...


Here is the link:


21/8/07 10:35 a.m.  
Blogger ziggi said...

god Andrea I hadn't realised how much time I spent running away . . .

I should thank you

Thank you

Beautiful photos


21/8/07 11:06 a.m.  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Such an honest post, and you have hit the nail on the head for many of us. Depression is no fun... I know.

Welcome back and amen to routine and exercise!

21/8/07 7:11 p.m.  
Blogger kj said...

andrea, stunning photos. damn the cold and rain--nothing worse to dampen (ha!) a vacation.

while i certainly understand depression, and applaud your plans for routine, i am compelled to remind you that you are a good talented energetic wonderful person.



21/8/07 7:31 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Michele: Thanks -- very good observations in the article!

Ziggi: Ever have one of those "d'oh!" moments when you can be a bit objective about yourself? Reading that passage was one of those for me, too!

Cynthia: Thank you and I think you've got it figured out. That said, sticking to what works sometimes *takes* work, doesn't it?

KJ: Thank you and have a hug on me! :)

21/8/07 7:37 p.m.  
Blogger Michelle said...

Gorgeous photos!

And I know what you mean about needing stucture. If I don't have it, I'm my worst enemy.

I also work for myself (sell my painting on etsy, and have an ebay shop) so I spend a lot of time alone. I HAVE to have structure or I'm screwed.

Also, I live in Thailand which can sometimes be alienating enough if your command of the language isn't so great - so I've had to force myself out to meet people, join groups etc. or I'd seriously go NUTS :-)

21/8/07 9:58 p.m.  
Blogger Cream said...

I could kiss you too, Andrea but it looks like Ian Lidster got to you before me.
All those words apply to me 100%. I feel like I am chasing my tail and like time is running out.
And yet, life can't be better!
Love your photos, especially the one on Flickr looking out of the window.

22/8/07 3:14 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Michelle: Excellent point about working alone. It sure makes self discipline an important skill, doesn't it?

Cream: Creatives probably all have this in common, don't they? I think I struck a nerve!

22/8/07 8:20 a.m.  
Anonymous albina said...

It is very personal, things you say; yet it resonates… I feel that need of trying to get some structure imposed and some priorities established. Here is to our collective trying, then! Burn bright, paint with passion, and run free.

23/8/07 9:49 a.m.  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

Life is a Garden
Dig It!

Churchill called depression the Black Dog and I have had it nipping at my heels far more often than I care to admit...and always at the worst possible time!

You are absolutely right about the structure and not seeing the forest for the trees. I work very hard at keeping one foot planted in reality. It would be so easy to just let go, but that mean, old, black, dog would chase me back up the tree.

Sorry to hear that you have the morning runs. Try eating more cheese.

24/8/07 6:36 a.m.  
Blogger Ilva said...

Beautiful photos. And I too believe in what you write, we need structure. Work on.

24/8/07 8:12 a.m.  
Blogger jafabrit said...

Much of what you said rang true with me also. This year has been such a struggle in so many ways, the chronic back pain being a major part of it. Enjoyed your blog entry, your thoughts and the photos. Sometimes getting anchored and finding balance is a full time job in itself but so important. sending my best to you.

25/8/07 6:43 a.m.  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

ANDREA! Just want to say you are a wonderful, kind and talented woman. I'm even jealous of your talent... Hhehhe. Just sending you lots and lots of good vibes! Hugs. Hélène...

25/8/07 7:03 a.m.  
Blogger Within Without said...

Where have I been?

You are deliciously and honestly courageous, Andrea, and this is nothing but beautiful.

As you are. Please never forget that. Structure really is predictability, and sometimes that disappears.

The thing you have, while that's temporarily gone, is creativity and zest and life.

You're in my thoughts, as you are obviously in others'.

Many hugs.

26/8/07 3:42 p.m.  

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