It is a common thing for artists to be self-critical of their work. But an artist with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is not only critical of their work but also of their self. Healthy self talk can help us grow, but if it is negative to the degree to cause creative blocks or in a worse case scenario- depression, then it needs to be put into its place…. out of mind.
I used to have depression, low self esteem, and be continuously putting myself down. I still have those little "talks" with the negative voice mocking me and trying to beat down my confidence but I have learned to accept myself with all the frailties and flaws. This does not mean I always feel good about where I am at in my personal growth, as it is a life long lesson…. we never get finished learning. However, I am not always doubting myself anymore. Maybe it takes a few falls and the act of climbing back up, to realize we will be doing a lot of this so we may as well laugh at ourselves and keep at it.
A few years ago…. well, quite a few years ago I wrote a poem that I will share here. Maybe there are others who can benefit from it. All I know is that it helped me at a time when I needed it.
Slaying the Dragon by Angie Cook
Awkwardly demanding, the unreasonable feat
knowing the goal is ultimate defeat.
Seeking to destroy is its purpose and command,
raging in its fury… burning sand.
Self doubt, confusion, criticism, and fear…
depression… to feel those eyes that sear
into the soul, taking apart all your dreams,
looking all about, no hope it seems.
How can we fight it, a Dragon so great?
Can we hope to find safety? Can we hope to escape?
He knows all about us, every failure, every dread,
will he bear down upon us, until all life be dead?
That fire from his fury, burning all that's exposed,
every delicate, faltering, fragile, self concept repose.
The timid will fall, for fear calls his attention…
then terrors will come, horrible to mention.
Anger is useless, to fight such a one…
resentment, will not help the battle to be won!
Only the gallant, the hardy, honest and true,
will stand up against him, and faith's hope renew.
This was written around the time I learned about ADD and came to terms with it. I began forgiving myself of the many mistakes I had made while stumbling through life unaware of why I struggled so. I set out to get to know myself, to understand and be kind. As I learned, I taught my family. Together we began to change our attitudes over my forgetfulness, and disorganization…. and many other things. It takes a support system. Soon, I could even laugh about it. I embraced the truth and it set me free.
Self improvement is always my goal. Self talk and the pesky negative voice will always flair up when I am weak and vulnerable. But now I at least know enough about myself to believe I can let my little light shine by believing in myself… and the One who made me who I am… then that ol' Dragon just backs off and leaves me alone.