So Much More To Do

so-much-more-to-do
We made a bucket garden and our first raised bed out of materials leftover from my solo-biennial exhibits. We had managed to pull off a bucket garden a few years ago between exhibits and couldn’t wait to get back to it once my 18-year project was complete.

I have so much more to do. 

However, I’ve had a suicidal psychosis since toward the beginning of March 2017, an imposter in my mind, a constant, trying to make me end my life. 

Meanwhile, I have a saboteur, the me, doing all she can to keep the imposter from succeeding.

All the knives and scissors and blades are hidden, hidden by my loving husband, along with obvious things I could use to make a noose.

I eat only with spoons in our house. I can’t look at a fork—unless completely distracted by conversation—without fighting the urge to grab it and jab it jab it jab it deep into the side of my neck. The imposter shows me this happening over and over and over in my mind.

The conflict continues in our home and in my mind, between what I want—the saboteur (who sabotages the imposter), the warrior (who battles the imposter), the artist (who wants to make regardless of the imposter)—and what the imposter wants.

I want not only to live, but to flourish. I want to make art. I want to write. I want to garden. I want to hold my husband’s hand. I want to pet our pets. I want to spend time with people I love… 

The imposter wants to die, as soon as possible, no matter how this is achieved, so long as the result is death.

so-much-more-to-do

I hope I’ve made this clear. I don’t want to die.

My brain has an other—an illness, a mis-wire, a mis-fire, a something-is-very-very-wrong something of which I have no control—who wants to die. 

In the ward, I distracted the imposter by coloring, doing puzzles, playing Scrabble, talking, and doing yoga. At home, I distract doing many of the same things (we’re still doing 2-to-4 puzzles each week). But, it seems the most effective distraction these last two weeks has been gardening.

Plunging my hands deep into cool soil has been as grounding as any of my downward dogs. And thinking about where vegetables will grow on our property has been as distracting as any speed-round of cribbage.

I’ve been looking forward to have time to garden for years; it’s so wrong having this imposter who wants to take this and all the other things I’ve looked forward to away from me.

The me is trying to thrive as the imposter pokes me with thousands of fingers, all over my body, trying to get my attention toward her thoughts and images of death, using me as a visual aid. 

so-much-more-to-do
Our plan is to have more of these and less buckets. Also chickens.

Since the imposter peaked a few weeks ago, I’ve been on my second new-for-me antipsychotic drug, and I’ve worked my way up from the micro-dose of 1.25 mg to 5 mg. The imposter is behind a floor-to-ceiling brick wall, but every few bricks are missing, it’s more like a gate than a wall. 

The drug really only diminishes the imposter’s thoughts, a little. Thankfully its side effects are only challenging, no where near as difficult as with my 1st new-for-me drug.

I’ll likely, as soon as possible, try a third new-for-me antipsychotic drug to see if I can add more bricks with no-more-than-challenging adverse effects. I am getting tired.

What keeps me from giving in? What stops me from doing one of the things the imposter tells me I should do?

What makes me think I will continue to make art and write and garden and hold my husband’s hand and pet our pets and spend time with people I love… ?

Others have created under much-much worse circumstances. 

My mind goes to Frida Kahlo who painted through incredible pain, and Kathe Kollwitz who found ways to make and share through the Nazi regime, and Eva Hesse who continued to make work even with a brain tumor, even after two brain surgeries. 

I also know, I’ve been through much worse than this. And, I fought my way through those times, as best as I could. I can’t give up now…

Lastly, when I do get through this, however long it takes, I want to speak about this experience. 

I want to tell people, that sometimes people take their lives when they don’t want to, that sometimes, maybe even most of the time, suicide isn’t something we decide to do. Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, this is something we can’t control. 

So, although it’s hard, I’ll keep sabotaging, I’ll keep fighting, I’ll keep making, to keep the imposter from winning. 

I have so much more to do.

so-much-more-to-do

If you have interest in making a donation: https://www.gofundme.com/living-and-medical-expenses-for-amy (there are also several drawings available as well as new “Perpetual Yard Sale” items).