They say being thankful is the key to happiness…

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The last post I made on here lead to some interesting responses…
I thought I was just free-styling some thoughts. I spoke the way I do to a couple of my friends and family who have experienced depression all the time, it’s become almost normal to me to speak so openly about it… I THOUGHT.

I didn’t realise how shocked some people would be – people close to me who I assumed knew it all. It’s hard to believe when you’re struggling with depression that you could POSSIBLY be covering it up in a convincing way. Well perhaps that’s part of the problem. Melancholics often make good actors!

Anyway, I had some amazing messages from friends that were worried. I had offers of help, advice, support from all sorts of places, so unexpected and so beautiful!

Some people thought I was foolish for being so open. You know, it’s the internet and all. When if a future employer stumbles upon this? What if people are judging? It’s personal, it’s private, you should keep it to yourself.

But I’m going to back myself on this one. It seems my honesty allowed other people to do the same. People I had no idea were going through similar things or worse opened up to me, found it consoling.

It makes me think of the quote,

“the truth will set us free”.

There’s a lot of lying going on out there. Positivism has become one of them.

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It’s become way of telling people in the nicest possible way, ‘harden up’.

It’s a proof of success- how can you consider someone a failure if they claim to be perpetually happy?… “how are you?”, “GREAT!!!!!” oh wow looks like you must getting life right then. I’m feeling sad so I must be stuffing something up.

Well I recon there are a lot of people out there that have had a gut full.

We want REALITY. HONESTY…FREEDOM!

Here’s the little miracle that’s happened to me…

For years I have known that to be thankful for small things is a huge help to depression. But although I knew I had so much to be thankful for I just couldn’t FEEL it. Exhaustion has something to do with it. But aside from that… I had it all intellectually, but the heart could’t or wouldn’t connect.

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Yet now, By taking a RISK and throwing myself to the wolves (well that’s what you fear when you do it) and by taking up singing and songwriting again – dragging my shaky body up on a stage late on a weeknight to share some pretty intimate stuff with strangers at an open mic, trying to be honest about depression and then most of all doing this POZIBLE campaign which I was TERRIFIED of… Something has happened…

I’m sure there ARE some wolves out there, but the overriding experience has been this outpouring of LOVE. Actual LOVE!!!!

I realised a good part of my depression had been fear. (well we all know that’s a classic depression thing)

But fear of PEOPLE. What they thought of me, what they might do to me… I’d lost my trust in a good portion of humanity.

Now I take this risk, with all these fears in my back pocket,

“I’m not good enough, PEOPLE are going to laugh, PEOPLE are going to disapprove, PEOPLE are going to think it’s pathetic”…

I did it anyway… and the REALITY was

PEOPLE have been kind, PEOPLE have been encouraging, PEOPLE have been incredibly generous, PEOPLE are GOOD!!!

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I’m not going to be Naive about it, I know the things I feared will be out there… but this is where I get to practice a REAL kind of positivism.. I’m going to try and let it sink in when someone says something kind, I’m going to be thankful instead of feeling guilty for ‘taking’ when people support my campaign, I’m going to try to humbly ACCEPT peoples gifts. I’m going to ACCEPT the love they are trying to show me.

And with all of this… it’s happened- I feel it!!! I AM THANKFUL!!!

OH! And one ‘minor’ detail… since embarking on this little trip
(that’s me trying to avoid saying ‘journey’!)
I’ve also experience stress, crankiness, fed-up-ness and tiredness… BUT NOT depression!!!

SO Thankyou! To all those who have been in touch, shared your stories back with me, supported me in my campaign finically or personally. You have actually dissipated fear, and replaced it with something very good.

To anybody struggling with depression right now… from this experience… I would say… write or sing or both if you can? And try to do it without judging what pours out. (soooo hard!) There’s something about doing those two things I have found, you can TRUST the process. It is good in itself. Also, get yourself near someone who can make you laugh.

But if you’re too tired… sleep.

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Oh if only I could take my own advice. haha!

THANKYOU!!!!

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BIPOLAR AND THE PROBLEM OF PAIN

Anna Cordell

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when I was lying down to sleep with my 5 year old tonight (that sounds sweet, but most the time I lie down with her out of fear. Really she bullies me into it- ‘lie down with me until I sleep OR ELSE I’ll sabotage your evening!)

BUT once I give in, I’ll often find I actually love it.

I love it because it is a moment where I feel like I’m topping up that little girls tank for the day. I love it because SHE loves it, and she loves it because she obviously gets a lot of comfort out of it.

See, Ruthy can’t really speak the way a 5 year old normally can. Her speech is very delayed… so it’s hard for her to express her needs, and it’s hard for me to fulfil them, so she clings to these routines more than any of my other…

View original post 907 more words

BIPOLAR AND THE PROBLEM OF PAIN

IMG_0086

when I was lying down to sleep with my 5 year old tonight (that sounds sweet, but most the time I lie down with her out of fear. Really she bullies me into it- ‘lie down with me until I sleep OR ELSE I’ll sabotage your evening!)

BUT once I give in, I’ll often find I actually love it.

I love it because it is a moment where I feel like I’m topping up that little girls tank for the day. I love it because SHE loves it, and she loves it because she obviously gets a lot of comfort out of it.

See, Ruthy can’t really speak the way a 5 year old normally can. Her speech is very delayed… so it’s hard for her to express her needs, and it’s hard for me to fulfil them, so she clings to these routines more than any of my other daughters have. Ruth needs this reassurance that at the end of the busy day, where she experiences so much frustration and confusion, mum or dad will hold her hand till she falls asleep.

One of the reasons I have found I love this time once I allow myself to, is that I have this moment of reflection smack bang in the middle of the busiest most tiring part of my day, and sometimes I have these thoughts…

tonight I had this though:

I think I’m bipolar.

I don’t know if I’ll ever find that out officially, I actually feel pretty confident in my self diagnosis because I have a few very close friends that have it and I understand them completely.

Sure, there may be an element of WANTING to be bipolar. Something about having a label like that is very gratifying. You get to compapre yourself with a lot of brilliant people (Charles Dickens, Stephen Fry, Vincent Van Gogh, Virginia Wolf, Robin Williams, Beethoven- you know- all the best people!)

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But I think the reason I really suspect it is this-

I’m on pretty decent anti depressants right now. And they work! they really do. I function. I’m on a steady keel, I don’t spend my days living in fear that the next step I might take will be into a deep dark black tar filled hole. I get irritable, but not FURIOUS, I annoy myself, but I dont DESPISE myself.

Here’s how the depressed voice inside me talks

“you are a talentless loser. You are a stupid bitch. You are fake, you act all nice on the outside but everyone can see through that, they know that you despise them, don’t you? you despise them but you despise yourself even more. You’re so ugly. You’re shit at everything. Your house is a mess. Your life is a mess. It’s all bullshit. God is deeply disappointed in you. You disgust him.”

Then I hate God for being so harsh (even though I’m my own tyrant) But you’re not allowed to HATE God, so it’s more reason for me to hate me.
If there is some sort of spiritual world out there, depression is like having a bunch of little devils partying around your earlobes.

Anyway, you take these little pills and although you sense those little devils are still there chatting away, you can’t actually hear them anymore, so you manage to go about your days, you don’t live in fear anymore. You’re not TERRIFIED of waking up in the morning.

So thats got to be a good thing, right?

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I remember seeing this wonderful documentary by Stephen Fry on Bi- Polar.
He asked each of the sufferers he interviewed, “if you could press a red button to make it go away, would you?”

Most of them answered no.

this is a classic thing with these personalities right? Because if you take away the deep lows, you take away the manic highs, or the intense creativity or productivity or whatever.

 

Since I’ve been on these pills, I haven’t had the drive to write so much, or to play, or sing.

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It’s still there, but it’s not as much of a NEED.

In a way that has eased the situation. Because those moments of creative need were born from some long and emotionally painful labours.

But here I am wondering, what do I prefer? a medicated steady, comparably comfortable life or the life that comes with feelings of intense creativity- those moments where you lose yourself and feel like a vessel.. where you’re just pouring out something good that has come from a lot of things that feel terribly bad… and I do mean TERRIBLY BAD!

I’m afraid I’m edging toward wanting the pain and the creative moments. I mean I’m AFRAID!!

I risk feeling suicidal, perhaps I risk my marriage!

In Truth I don’t know what I risk because when I’m in that unmedicated state I feel unpredictable. I may feel violent and I may NOT create. It’s risk risk risk.

 

here’s the other little thought I had…

Is it possible that this experience of wanting the POTENTIAL good despite the INEVITABLE trouble could give me an insight into the problem of pain we agonise over so much?

I was raised on Catholicism. I’m talking the rosary and daily mass. I’m talking IRISH catholic.
So its ALL ABOUT THE PAIN.

But what are they on about??? how is pain ever possibly GOOD???

Now I’ve been through it 4 times, I understand the metaphor pretty clearly with childbirth. An obvious one. PAIN that leads to GOOD.
there’s sport. If I go for a run, (PAAAAIIIIIN!!!) I get rewarded with a natural high and satisfaction.

AND then there’s BI- POLAR. Extreme mental pain, which seems to have the capacity for leading to something very pleasurable and/or good, to the point that I am considering the pain could be an acceptable means to an end.

Many accept the idea of the Yin and Yang of life…. for some strange reason humans seem to seek perfection in one way or another (physical, emotional, work, life, creation)

My personal Bi- Polar ‘type’ (being self diagnosed and all!) experience does get me wondering…

perhaps there is a payoff somewhere for all this pain… even if we can’t see it. even if we don’t choose it. Even if it’s not in this life… Even if it’s not in this world.

Just a thought.

 

 

 

 

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Hitting walls

I’ve hit the wall. This doesn’t make sense… we had a great gig the other night and I got a lovely review,

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all has been going great with the music and the crazy juggle with the kids… but here I am again… at a wall. Flat. Exhausted.

This little message is coming to mind:

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People have asked me, ‘how do you do it’ with 4 kids and getting up and playing music…

confession time-

1st of all I ignore my kids too much. Any woman who seems to be ‘doing it all’ either has a lot of help from family, has their kids in childcare, so they’re not actually doing it all, they are getting someone else to mind the kids. (my option from the past when I ran a fashion business! I had a lovely nanny- I wasn’t doing it all- at all!)

OR they don’t give their kids all their attention (ME NOOOOW!)

2nd– although the music part is more work and sometimes exhausting, it also GIVES me energy back. I’d say psychological and spiritual energy.

3th– I’m an anxious restless type of person so I don’t cope well with being in a house all the time with kids (actually – not many people do!) so there’s no virtue in it, it’s just tending to a mental health need I have! hehe

4th– I don’t do it. I hit the wall all the time. I feel sick and exhausted and overwhelmed a lot of the time. I become weird and annoying after taking on too much (ask my husband!) and then my family suffers for it.(on the flip side, my kids all sing around the house now that I do and because I go out more, my husband goes out to enjoy a beer more often that he used to which is healthy!)

There are a few confessional TRUTH NUGGETS as my friend calls them… be very suspicious of those women ‘doing it all’ I say! 

I HAVE SO MUCH RESPECT for those women who can humbly live a simple life and focus on LOVE.

Right, I’ll keep this late night tired cranky writing short- I can see where it’s heading!

I’m still working out whether my music NEED is pure or not… in the meantime, I’m loving it BUT….right now… walls walls walls!!!!!

will keep you posted!  🙂

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PS. Just watched this. It’s good!!

 

“Follow your dreams” OR “Follow your delusions”

Anna Cordell

It’s a minefield out there.

More than ever before talent and success are not necessarily synonymous. Of course there are endless stories from the past about people who were gifted and never ‘made it’ in their lifetime (Van Gough and Nick Drake are my two favourites… oh and Jesus I guess!) 

But seriously, what is going on NOW??!! 

Since I’ve taken music up again and am trying to give it a semi serious crack in the gaps between minding my 4 beautiful little girls there is one comment I’ve received over and over again… 

“Follow your dreams” 

I know most people are just searching for something supportive to say, but what do we actually mean? The phrase is tossed around over and over again and I can’t help wanting to pick it to pieces- there’s something in there I just don’t trust!

We have thousands of hopefuls now ‘following…

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“Follow your dreams” OR “Follow your delusions”

It’s a minefield out there.

More than ever before talent and success are not necessarily synonymous. Of course there are endless stories from the past about people who were gifted and never ‘made it’ in their lifetime (Van Gough and Nick Drake are my two favourites… oh and Jesus I guess!) 

But seriously, what is going on NOW??!! 

Since I’ve taken music up again and am trying to give it a semi serious crack in the gaps between minding my 4 beautiful little girls there is one comment I’ve received over and over again… 

“Follow your dreams” 

I know most people are just searching for something supportive to say, but what do we actually mean? The phrase is tossed around over and over again and I can’t help wanting to pick it to pieces- there’s something in there I just don’t trust!

We have thousands of hopefuls now ‘following their dreams’ on shows like ‘Australian (American) Idol’ and  ‘The voice’ then we have the more ‘alternative’ version in this country, JJJ unearthed (which happens to have a very distinctive sound musicians must adhere to to get a look in!)

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(The Voice… creeeeepy!!!) 

There is something heart wrenching about seeing so many people put their hope, time and money into things like this before they’ve honed their talents, or are perhaps pursuing it when they have little to no talent at all.

Is it going to make them happy to put so much effort into something that is almost guaranteed to end in disappointment?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Maybe its some sort of ‘journey’ (for want of a less Australian Idolesque sounding word) they need to take. They may learn something else about themselves through it all accidentally. On the other hand, life is short, perhaps they should be focusing on their real talents. 

I remember being shocked when I studied music (for a very short period between finished an ARTS degree and ..ah-hem… having my first baby… school of life ever since!) To find that some of the voice students in one of the courses that had to be PAID UP FRONT, could barely sing in tune!!!

BOX HILL INSTITUTE – (yep I decided to go all out and name you!) You cashed in on these people!!! You wasted their time!!! You used them!!! Why??

Money.

The thing is, we all have ‘dreams’ but sometimes they are more like ‘fantasies’… or ‘DELUSIONS’ and don’t business’s just love to cash in on those?

There seems to be a new philosophy that the kindest thing to do for people is LET them do what they WANT.

But is this right even if we can see it’s going to end in misery? Even if its sort of living a lie? 

 

What we want isn’t always what we need. (giving myself a reminder as I write that one down!)

I’m overwhelmed by how many musicians are out there now. Overwhelmed by the level talent for one, but also by the quantity of people who should have given it up years ago but simply won’t- and nobody seems willing to tell them the truth. I know it seems harsh, but isn’t it sort of harsher to let it go on?

Sure, they’re following their dreams… but what does that actually mean? 

It frightens me. On the other hand I see incredibly talented people give up because they don’t feel allowed to give it a go, they feel foolish or aren’t aware of the gift they have.. 

so in an environment where people are often unwilling to tell the truth (usually for fear of being unsupportive or unkind- sadly sometimes because they enjoy watching people humiliate themselves), where people over praise just a little talent, where globally incredibly untalented musicians are help up as huge talents and hugely talented musicians are often ignored… how is a person to gage where they really stand? 

This question haunts me…

How do I know whether I’m wasting my time prancing around in fur jackets? 

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PS. My buddy @sarahenticknap did some great work on my with her amazing photographic talent- she’s someone who confuses me further- she has struggled against the odds to ‘follow her dream’ and it’s paying off. She’s a professional photographer, making beautiful art and being appreciated!! Check out her beautiful work.

PPS. Don’t pay too much attention to what’s written on the t-shirt. We only noticed that later! it’s not true! haha! 

 

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