My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Friday, 8 November 2013

Depression & Things Left By The Wayside

I have suffered from many bouts of quite severe depression over the course of my life. Things are going pretty well right now (well, better than they have been), on that front, but they haven't always been that way, and as some may have inferred from my lack of posting this year, it hasn't always been so good recently. One of the common symptoms of depression is a cessation of doing what you once enjoyed, and over the years, my hobbies have diminished, and each time as I emerge from depression, while I tend to take up a few new hobbies once in a while, so many of the things I lost in the bout of depression stay gone. 

I've just been rummaging through old notebooks and diaries, of which I have quite a few - even before blogging I've often documented myself, not for the gaze of any readership, but as a way of preserving the memory events when my own memory is unfortunately rather fallible, and has been since childhood. I have lost so many memories of my own life, faded away too soon, so now I try and document it digitally and in more old-fashioned ways.  I've re-read accounts of photography expeditions to beautiful ruins, music practice logs detailing a 4hr to 7hr a day practice schedule, the book in which I would carefully staple the poetry I wrote on receipt scraps while working in a supermarket, the daily diaries I wrote, etc. A lot of that is currently missing from my life, and I often complain of being bored and miserable - no wonder! I no longer do a lot of what I enjoyed. 

I will try and take more photographs - and write notes once more in the lined hardback book which contains snippets of technical knowledge I have since forgotten. I will try and keep a diary each evening, as every day has some element of interest to it, however minor. I will try and practice music for at least an hour a day, and write it down in my practice logs (once carefully written in different coloured inks for each instrument I learnt, with a breakdown of what I did during practice and what needed work, and what had improved, with notes of duration of practice and a daily tally), I will try and write poetry again, however awful, and revisit old poems with a view to improving them, etc. 

There are other things that have left my life - I don't do as much archery as I did (and never photographed the quiver I made!), I don't paint or draw half as much as I did, or write as much music. I will also try to live more of a life that is worthy of being written down in ink into my (leather-bound, black, embossed, classic) diary and illustrated in quaint cartoons and hasty sketches,  rather than one that is repetitive and introspective and lived so inwardly. I need to do more, have a few more adventures, and find ways around being bound by transport and funds and lead more of the sort of life that reflected who I was and the creativity that currently remains latent, dormant, and needs waking up. 

Forcing myself to do things rather than remain in my cocoon is something I have to do. It feels easier and safer to dither away on the internet, or sit quietly in the corner and read, or even watch television, but it doesn't help - all it does is add to the guilt that I am wasting my life on not being productive. If I do something, even something as small as writing this, at least I feel that I have been at least a little bit productive, and that makes me at least a little bit happier, and the happier I am, the more enthusiasm I have to do more stuff! 


4 comments:

  1. Your post has made me excited to get back to some old hobbies I've let slide, for exactly the same reasons as you. Even though a person knows doing something creative will help their mental state, it is very hard to drag one's self away from the computer... I'm looking forward to a winter of knitting, sewing and embroidering - things I haven't done for a very long time. I wish you well in your quest to find that peaceful sense of “flow” in your rediscovered hobbies. :o)

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    1. The computer can feel like a reassuring presence, a link to endless new information, a way to connect to others, but it is time consuming, and often not producing something, unless I'm using the computer as a tool - say, to edit images, update my blog, etc.

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  2. While I cannot make any statement about depression or how it has affected you, I can look back at all of the things I was involved with in my younger days and compare them to that which I do now. All I can say is wow! I have grown so much more solitary in nature that it's almost unbelievable. Also, I came to realize that having too many things going on at once was overwhelming and consequently, little was accomplished. Instead, I've learned to focus on one project at a time and I believe that it's bringing me better results.

    So, while some of the changes in your life may have come about as a result of depression, you might want to consider that some might just be a part of the maturing process and dare I say, contentment? You do seem quite happy in your relationships and surroundings. These things will slow down a person's impulses somewhat, bringing him/her to a place where it's wonderful to simply enjoy the moment.

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    1. My default state is quite energetic, and I have to keep busy to keep sane, otherwise I pour that energy into the kind of negative thinking that drags me back down. I have never, though, been a group-socialisng-type-person - two other people at once to deal with is about my comfortable maximum. Most of my hobbies - even archery - are solitary pursuits, especially the arts and crafts type ones. I like being outside, but I prefer being outside either on my own or with Raven, not being in town or with lots of friends or going out partying/clubbing much. I do, however, need a certain amount of variety and business to keep me interested and focused. One thing for more than an hour or two at most (even with breaks) will just have me bored. When I was studying music, I would practise instruments on rotation, in blocks of 45 minutes with a 15 minute re-charge in between, because dedicating a day to one instrument would send me silly. I can, if I'm really involved in a project, sacrifice whole days to it, but not for long before it's just too intense and focused. I'd like to do two of one kind of activity in the morning, three of another in the afternoon, and two of a third kind in the evening, that's the kind of schedule that can keep me both occupied and interested.

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