How does one see art in everyday life when there is a cloud that occasionally floats into your brain and obstructs your view? And yes, I am thinking of Joe Versus the Volcano when Tom Hanks was told he had a brain cloud. In the not-so-distant past, I was struggling with this cloud on a daily basis. It colored everything I did and thought. It affected my sleep, my eating, and how I felt about the world and myself. Sometimes, my brain did not fire on all cylinders, and waking up in the morning was excruciatingly painful. I stopped working and creating, I stopped exercising, I even stopped eating for a while. It took a long time, a lot of work and an amazingly supportive cast of characters for me to pull myself out of the spiral. It also took the realization that brain chemistry is a major part of one’s daily life. The thoughts I had were due to low levels of certain chemicals in my brain. I did not have control of the brain, but I had control of how I dealt with it and how I could make things better. Exercise was a big component. Making lists helped a lot. I also learned that medication is not the anti-Christ, it is just a tool that may or may not help the brain to work in a productive way again. It’s not perfect but I chose to live life, not just to survive it.
Recently I was reminded of this delicate balance when I took a generic that didn’t work well in my body. I am aware that there are good days and bad days, even now, but all of a sudden the parameters were being stretched further than I was comfortable with. I have changed the meds to one made by a different manufacturer and I am starting to feel a little more stable again.
Okay, if you have continued to read this far, I will get to the point. This is not a post designed to be a pity party, it’s just a musing on how grateful I am to be able to see art in my daily life again, to find the amazing pictures and stories that inhabit my existence. They were always there, even when the cloud took residence in my brain. Occasionally I could see them. But It is absolutely wonderful to not only see them but to enjoy them…and enjoy them I do, perhaps more than I ever did before.
I don’t ever want to go back to the cloudy days and most of the time, I don’t want to go back to the pre-cloudy days. Each day is still a crapshoot in many ways, but I can count on having at least one moment a day when I think…”damn, I’m lucky”. Something or someone (usually my husband) makes me laugh out loud, sometimes I even startle myself with my laughter. And it feels good.