Mental Health Awareness Month

The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow copyright 2006 Douglas Stockdale –

This is Mental Health Awareness Month and good time for a shout-out that if you are feeling out of emotional sorts, then this could be a sign that there might be something you need to find out more about. The four basic mental health awareness concerns revolve around: anxiety disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia) and eating disorders. I can personally attest from my experience with anxiety that there are a lot of variations for each of these and the levels of intensity. More importantly, once diagnosed, there are ways for you to manage your issues (don’t let it manage you).

I can attest to the fact that confronting these issues is not easy, such that most disorders are very difficult to self-diagnose. Part of why these are called the silent epidemic; hard to detect and usually remain out of sight. Also a learned lesson; just because you learn and understand that you have an issue, that does not mean it will magically disappear. My anxiety will never go away, thus my need to stay conscious of how it always lurks in the background in order to manage it. Sometimes even that realization is very emotionally beneficial.

Recent case in point for me. Last weekend was an interesting mix of ups and downs. On the up side I found out that I was going to have eight more pages added to my artist book without any additional cost. Cool. On the down side that information also activated my anxiety. Now I had to select four more photographs for this artist book and decide where to sequence these without disrupting what I had already laid out. It should have been understood to be a wonderful opportunity to enhance my narrative, but that is not what my anxiety was reacting about, rather I was over come with a nervous tension.

This is where understanding my anxiety came into play and how I work to try to manage it. While feeling overcome with self-doubt (feeling a lot of emotional tension) about the changes I could make, I also realized that I was over-reacting incorrectly to this chance to change (improve) my artist book narrative.

My recent experience with managing my anxiety was alerting me to a potential emotional trigger. As a result of having more experience with the cause and effect of these feelings of tension, especially when there was not a ‘real’ reason for it to occur (I think this is called a signaling behavior). This tension was alerting me and providing some feedback that something else might be going on and I needed to take some time to introspectively sort out the unfolding events. Was there a real issue, or could my anxiety be creating an issue?

Taking a breather (aka letting the book sequence decisions wait a day) allowed me to get a better perspective on what I could accomplish, while further understanding how I was reacting to my anxiety.

One of the new photographs that I am including in the artist book design update is this one, above. In my book development workshop, I discuss photographs being placed in the ‘parking lot’, those that are on the bubble to be included, but are not for some reason, thus on Hold. This is one of my parking lot photographs that did not make the earlier tighter edit but still visually resonated with me. With the opportunity to add back four photographs to my narrative, this parking lot photograph was at the top of my list for reconsideration. And I pre-visualized exactly where a wonderful place would be for it to fit into my visual narrative. Cool!

This photograph is a metaphor for my feelings of invisibility when checking into hotel, and perhaps equally, my perception of the invisibility of the hotel staff. We have a mutual momentary presence, an experience without much, if any, personal connection, something that is amplified by my travel anxieties. I suppose that it is safe to say that at the end of the day, we were both a blur in each other’s consciousness.

I hope you consider pre-ordering my artist book that is a long-term personal narrative that investigates anxiety.

Happy Earth Day. Every day.

Doug

____

New artist book: The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow

Pre-publication Sale: Artist book $50.00 USD & Artist Special Edition (book + print) $100 USD, plus CA taxes for US sales and shipping. Message me (doug@douglasstockdale.com) or singularimagespress@gmail for shipping details and PayPal invoice. Your name will be listed in the book as one of the supporters! Thank you.

Book publishing details here and book portfolio here.

List price after publication is $60.00 USD and for the Artist Special Edition, $125.00 USD. 

An artist book made in the USA.

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