Every now and then reality bites and stings hard and fast. Before you know it, you’re slipping down that memory mudslide full throttle with no brake and you’ve had the wind knocked out of you.
This happened to me just a few minutes ago. I had a moment when I was re-experiencing a creative work I did a number of years ago and suddenly just couldn’t continue. I felt sick to my stomach. Despite my genuine intention to produce something valuable for others to enjoy, the finished product was sloppy and off putting and I walked away from it knowing what had happened.
Bipolar hits everyone in different ways and for me it comes in slow waves over years and whilst it does not reach the extreme highs and lows it takes me down and lifts me up all the same.
I can now tell when I was experiencing a higher or lower mood episode from the different types and qualities of work created at that time.
This particular work was created during one of those times and it is so evident now and I feel sad that I could not see that what I was sending out to the world was entirely unpolished and unprofessional.
The challenge is not to stay in this place of sadness, though. I made this work and it speaks into a time in my life that it was relevant to and important in.
It doesn’t speak to who I am today and what I have lived since that time.
The interesting thing is that around the same period I produced other work that still makes me shake my head and wonder how on earth I did it. Everything seems to just work in it and it is something I am quite proud of.
All I can do is chalk it down to experience. My mind works in complex cycles that I often don’t recognise until long after. This is something I don’t have a great deal of control over and not something I can let myself become depressed or angry about.
It just is what it is.
All in all I am proud of the woman I have become so far and whilst I have had a little set back today it has no bearing on my future capacity to create (hopefully) amazing work.
As I head off to bed tonight I am making the decision to walk up to that past version of my creative self, acknowledge her and then keep walking.
Tomorrow, as they say, is a new day and if God can promise his mercy to be new every morning (Lamentations 3 – check it out) then I can give myself the same mercy.
If you’ve experienced something like this too, be kind to yourself and walk on.