Thursday, December 17, 2020

Brain Fog

I have been suffering from a terrible creative constipation since at least September. I managed to make a few ornaments, class demos, & some pretty nice cookies, but anything requiring real focus - basically all of my normal body of work - has been out of reach for me for months. I keep reading about how chronic stress affects creativity (spoiler alert: BADLY) and boy, does it sound familiar. But then I feel guilty: what have I got to complain about? Other people have been harmed so much more. 

I've been lucky. I know this. My teaching job has been back since July (on break now), and my studio is in my home. Though our daily covid-19 case numbers are getting scary (over 600 today), Maine has one of the lowest rates in the country. 

Nevertheless, we are all living the pandemic. I fear for my mom, who's 87, and for my 2 best friends, who both have conditions that put them at higher risk for bad covid outcomes. (Such conditions are very common! Asthma, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, even pregnancy)  One of them is in Minneapolis, an essential worker who has to take public transportation to work every day! Nor does one have to be in a risk group; covid sometimes kills young, otherwise healthy people. 

On the economic side, because things are getting steadily worse here in Maine, I fear my job will be suspended. (I know the governor won't do that unless it's necessary, but I hope it won't be necessary.) Even in good times, worrying is my hobby, which comes in handy when things are not so good. I have saved every spare penny since March, knowing I would have few or no sales events, and that my job could be eliminated at any time. (And it was, for a few months. Nancy Pelosi saved my ass then.) 

Anyway I am getting off track. What I started to say was, my creative juices have basically dried up. I was feeling guilty about this - after all, my go-to fix for troubles is always: I will work harder - but it turns out I'm not alone. Many people are feeling a lack of creativity as a direct side effect of chronic stress. I saw a post on facebook that explained it beautifully, and I wish I could find it, but I can't, so I'll try to sum it up: your brain understands chronic stress as: you are in a dangerous environment. It reallocates resources away from creative energy to keeping you alive. You don't feel like doing anything because your brain is all: Conserve your strength! Keep your head down!

This is somewhat reassuring to me, because that means it will come back. Looking forward to that day when we walk together in the beautiful sun, and we get it together and we get it undone. Hopefully this blog will get more interesting again, too! 

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