Generation 'why'

Sometimes I wonder whether the entirety of my creative life has come from misery, and without that, I'd just be another one of evolution's normal boring life forms (because 'talent' is all I have?), pleasant enough and of course as valuable as anyone else, but minus that little 'je ne sais pas', that... spark. That spark is what I've come to rely on in order to pretend to contribute to society. 

My generation, the early adopters of Walkmans, dial-up internet, chatrooms and Second Life, were told we were all special. Probably not such a great plan, although well meaning. Yes, of course I know that being creative doesn't give me the right to judge those who aren't, but I reserve the right to be honest about it.

Recently I met with my new therapist, with whom I'm about to commence an 18 week journey of hell/dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) which was designed especially for the awkward ones like me. The ones for whom DBT's better looking sibling - CBT - just doesn't cut it. In the same way I don't 'get' dubstep (I tried Skrillex again today, but still nothing), I also don't 'get' most therapies. If you read my previous post you'll know that for the most part the drugs definitely don't work, unless you're really really REALLY depressed. BPD isn't just a brain chemistry malfunction - it's more a full system failure. Like trying to stick a floppy disc into a CD drive, or something equally as dated and obsolete.

I'm dubious about the outcome, and here's why: I'm quite used to living life under this blanket of dullness, occasionally disturbed by a period of hell-for-leather emotions. When you fly by the seat of your pants in life, the idea of just coasting along on a calm sea doesn't seem particularly appealing. I'm an emotional surfer, I long for the biggest waves to ride - no matter how dangerous they might be. I've already decided which bits I want to keep and which I'm prepared to let go of, but I'm pretty sure that defeats the object.

I imagine that most people who don't have a mental health condition must think that anyone who does have one wants to not have it. Not so for me. Mine has steered me into depths I never imagined, and made me swim in dark and dangerous waters, alone, in a cave, with a limited supply of oxygen and no idea where I'm going to end up. I could feel my way along the rocky roof and into a new cave, as yet undiscovered. I could be eaten by a predator, the like of which has never been seen before. I could run out of air and expire, sinking lifeless in a rubber suit to the bottom, never to be seen again. But during those times is when I've been struck by inspiration that just doesn't happen when I'm well. I can hear entire orchestral arrangements in my head during these flashes of inspiration. I barely ever remember how a piece got written from start to finish - it's just something instinctive and primordial that allows me to release built up frustration at not being able to express emotion appropriately. 

Inspiration is a slippery fish. It seems to require the things I'm currently particularly short of - time, and space. I no longer have full evenings sitting at the computer, hammering away at the midi keyboard with a triple vodka by my side. My midi keyboard now shares a desk with my work laptop, and I'm so physically exhausted I often go to bed before 9pm. Parenthood has scuppered my rock 'n' roll lifestyle, that's for sure. 

My therapist explained that eventually I'd stop associating inspiration with trauma and consequential black mood; she assured me that I wouldn't lose this spark, just that I'd learn to access it in a different way. I'm finding that pretty hard to accept.


Popular Posts