Lift and Thrust


It has been a very long, very challenging month for me.
Actually, a bit more than a month.
It started, quite ironically, with me having a sort of leap, beating more of my phobias – and from there, down it went.
More in detail…

I had my antidepressants lowered. And, despite my fear, it was good. Lately I was so very tense and aggressive; once the dose went down, I experienced a sort of chill-out. Nice. Apparently my hard work is paying off and I am helping myself be less depressed, right?
Also, I found it easier to overcome some of my OCD aspects; it still took being brave and applying all of the techniques my therapist taught me, but it was like if the voice screaming fear in my head had its volume turned down.
In a week I ate an orange, a croissant and pizza.
All foods that I didn’t eat since years, because of my eating disorder triggered by OCD.
It felt GREAT. The taste!!!!

And then something happened.
If I look closely, it’s something that I already experienced, every time I had an improvement with my mental health.
I started to feel bad.
From constant migraine to really hard panic attacks to severe anxiety to total inability to focus. Which usually leads me to thinking I am having a relapse. Which usually brings me a million steps backwards.

This time, I CHOSE to see it as an healing crisis.
My therapist made it very clear to me how this is normal. How this is like a big explosion before the fire goes out. How all my phobias, all the parts of me that think we need sickness in order to survive are stomping their feet and shouting at me because they are terrified.


A little before this falling down in darkness, I had noticed the Owl showing up for me, in pictures, in conversations…a bit all over the place.
I was talking about it with my friend Catherine, and she told me that Owls are the guardians of grief and wisdom. They hold on to only what nourishes them and release the rest.
This stuck with me. Because yes, that’s what I have been doing. I have started to let go of what doesn’t nourish me.
So I watched a few documentaries about them, to soak them in.
In one of them, they showed the mechanics of flight, and how the Owls flight is special.
They explained the two basic parts of flight:
the LIFT, which is the elevation
and the THRUST, which is the pushing forward.
And these two words, LIFT and THRUST, have been my mantra in this dark night of the soul.
No matter what, I would whisper them in my mind.
Lift yourself up. Use what elevates your mood and soul. No matter how small.
Keep thrusting. Even if the strenght in your thrust is so small and weak, keep doing it. Keep pushing forward.

One of the very big aspects about this healing crisis has been the relationship with social media.
I didn’t plan to take a break from them.
I was forced, though, because I would have a panic attack every time I opened Instagram. And because the headache made my life with screens really unpleasant. And because I couldn’t focus and I was so lost and I could not bear the pressure.
While I adore the people I have met on socials, I don’t like socials anymore.
They are manipulative to an extent that is really dangerous for someone like me – someone who is still learning to stand on her own feet, work out her codependant relationship issues, and build her self esteem.
Way too often, recently, I had found myself feeling like I had to post something; that I should spend hours commenting and scrolling; and maybe even worse, that everyone was doing better than me and I was failing.
Which is exactly the goal of the behaviour manipulation techniques the algorythm is based upon.
They need you online. They need you scrolling. They need you there a lot of time, and they need you to become addicted to the feedback.
Because that’s what the big advertisers want in exchange for their money.

I don’t want to feel like I HAVE to post or I will desappear from your feed.
I don’t want to feel like I HAVE to be available 24/7.

The first few days away from socials felt awkward and full of anxiety.
A lot of things felt useless too.
“I just found this beautiful feather but if I am not posting it online, what is the point?”. This is just one of the kind of thoughts that I caught crossing my mind. Thoughts that stopped me on my tracks. Are you for real? Is your landscape reduced to this?

And then, slowly, the perspective shifted.
I was still worried about the patrons waiting to hear from me – but I was still of no use for anyone so I had to put everything in the back of my mind.
I was still worried about the sales of my work. 
“How many people will really see my post, when I am back? How will I be able to keep working, earning, eating?”

Lift, thrust.

I started to plan the refreshing of this site.
I started to consider writing this blog.
I started to think about the ways I could feel less powerless.
Am I going to leave social media? Nope.
Am I going to carve my own space and have it like I want it? You can bet.

Lift, thrust.

I spun thread on the ancient wheel.
I knitted two shawls for Owl and one for Mourning Dove.

The Mourning Doves have been with me as well, in this period.
While they usually fly around the big fig tree, now they came three steps away from my window. Greeting me as I was there trying to breathe.
Playful, a little goof. They never failed to make me squee and run to the window like a kid.
Humble in colors. Not divas for sure.
So sweet and tender, they reminded me it’s ok to be just me, to not be “special” or “famous” or have the big numbers. It’s ok to do me. It’s right to do me.

Lift, thrust.

Drawing has shily come back for me. In my tiny sketchbook, feeling rusty and awkward and struggling with expectations, yes, but still…pen and brush on paper. Exploring. Home.

Lift, thrust.

Jewelry is usually my safe place to run to when shit hits the fan. It centers me.
This round, not so much. Lack of focus, shaky hands…I made a mess. A lot of half completed works that I managed to melt or crack or whatever. Frustrating.
Scary. “What am I going to do now?”

Lift, thrust.

Naps. Keep eating, force yourself to take care of yourself. Brush your teeth. Brush your hair. Change your clothes. Drink a lot of water.
Spend a morning just napping in the sun with Pooh and don’t feel guilty about it.

Finally, this past week has been about making space.
If I look back, the year and a half of therapy that led me where I am now…it’s been a lot about making inner space. Allowing emotions to show up and stay with them. Releasing some traumas and wounds and patterns that did me no good.
And it was probably time to do the same in the space I live in.
Both the studio, and the home.
It feels like I threw away two painful heavy years of my life. The mess, the things I kept for fear of letting go.
It feels like I gave myself the chance to expand.
In the studio, that is now organized and all set up as I like it to be – as I changed in the three years that I have been working there.
In the home…with yarn and wool well organized, and a tiny space for drawing too.
But it wasn’t easy at all.
I battled all week with spikes of anxiety and a general sense of loss and confusion. One night, I honest to God thought about going back to the dumpster and take my stuff back.
Because to let go doesn’t come easy at all for me. Because to let go of things takes up layers of meaning, and I end up clutching things in an unconscious need to control life.

Lift, thrust.

Finally, today I managed to complete a very meaningful, dear piece without accidents.
It felt so good. It felt so freeing. It felt like my heart expanding.

I think I am finding my way again.

Now, to catch up with all the messages and with everyone who has been waiting for me and wondering why I went off radar so suddenly. Ha.

Life, ArtAlice SavageComment