BIPOLAR AND THE PROBLEM OF PAIN

Anna Cordell

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…

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!)

VirginiaWoolf

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?

RV-AF680_FRY2_G_20120119232539

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.

oussousredo-1-of-1-e1402474760221-1

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

http://www.facebook.com/annacordell.music

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,

http://skylashes.com.au/anna-cordell-live-on-29-may-2014/

20140529-Anna-Cordell-gig-3

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:

IMG_0008

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!  🙂

Inside_Llewyn_Davis_Poster

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…

View original post 589 more words

“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!)

 Image

(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? 

Image

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! 

 

http://www.facebook.com/annacordell.music

Link

I’m Impatient, I had just enough money to half record this song… enough to get its bones down… enough to add to my upcoming @POZIBLE campaign to give everyone SOME idea of what I might sound like…

then I decided I like it! I like it’s rawness… I certainly can’t wait for my amazing band members to add their strings and beautiful melodies and tones, but I DO have to wait! probably 6 months! and meanwhile.

I decided I’ll share this music around simple and raw with nothing to hide behind, because that’s how I feel about it right now.

I’m at a point where I’m feeling a bit bare. It’s plain for everyone to see I’m really giving it a go, which is a scary step- because it means you might be taking yourself a bit seriously and that in turn means, you might be fooling yourself and kinda sorta embarrassing yourself too!!

I’m 32 now. I have this little voice sometimes whispering to me.. Aaaannnnaaaa… too laaaaate!! Mooooove ooooooooon!!

But I have another that’s a little bit, just slightly louder saying, WHY?!!! THIS is when I have written the best material, THIS is when my voice has matured through the experience of having 4 daughters, the first born when I was 22, the euphoria, the isolation, the joy, the fear, the love, the loneliness, the first real opening of my eyes.

So I’m doing it. I don’t know why, it’s scary, It’s humiliating at times, but mostly, it’s amazing and freeing and joyful!

That’s it.

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while… about my experience of doing things a bit upside down, about attempting to be a musician as a woman in her 30s, about having babies while your mates travel and build careers, about feminism (humanism!) and philosophy and shared experiences.

@freyabennet

@freyabennet

It’s pretty challenging fitting it in while I’m an at home every day mum of these 4 beautiful souls… I gave up work to be with them every day, which is a blessing, thank God I’m able to! But as any musician will know, keeping up with music world these days is ahhh.. kind of FULL ON!!!! And I never want to risk prioritising unimportant (in the scheme of life!) things over my children’s needs ever again! (I MAY have worked as a designer for a few years and got a little carried away with that business! slight OCD tendencies!)

I’m trying to strike the balance… trying to take music at a slow pace… which is another thing that feels like a bit of an up-stream swim for an impatient character!

Being slow. Being patient. Leaving some gaps for life and love and spirit. It goes against everything we are fed by our culture and I have to catch myself every day and just STOP.

So here it is. Raw half recorded music for you. I hope you like it. My blog will be in the same tone because I’m not doing a lot of self editing here! I hunger for honesty in a world of image and mirage and so I’m going to try my best to keep it real!

(photography @saraenticknap, @freyabenette, recordin @fourty4studios)

@freyabennette

20140517-212447.jpg

20140517-230408.jpg

20140517-230422.jpg

20140517-230439.jpg

20140517-230456.jpg

20140517-230531.jpg

20140517-230548.jpg    http://www.facebook.com/annacordell.music

twitter @anna_cordell

http://www.bandcamp.com/anna_cordell