Preliminary thoughts on creativity, energy, and fear

This is a post that arose out of a discussion I had with Diana in the previous post about Expanding Perspectives Through Blogging.  What I said in response to one thing she mentioned is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what I’ve been thinking about.

Diana:  “we behave with such angst in relation to others, driven by fear.”

Me:  I’ve recognized this, very much, in me.

Right now, I’m in a energetically blocked place. Nothing ‘bad’ happened. In fact, many good things have happened, at least in terms of deep connection and stimulation. I also found some things at the thrift store yesterday that I’ll be using in my art studio. I’m reading some things that are intense (about energy, consciousness, Nature, death, dying, people, God and our purpose for being here) and thinking about them in the context of my life. And of course, when I wrote the [former] post, I didn’t anticipate it touching [my readers] all quite like it has.

It’s woken up that inner intensity I don’t always know what to do with. It’s thrilling and frightening at the same time. I have one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes.

I’m not afraid of people as much as my own inner experience of people now, since before I had few boundaries. I used to be open to experience. And that was a good way to be, until it wasn’t. Until it got me in places I couldn’t get out of anymore on my own.

I was a rescuer. I wanted to save the world, one person at a time. So, that’s what I set out to do, try to fix my family (family of origin and my children and husband) and friends and help them feel better. I was a wounded healer. And it was working well for the longest time, until it made me sick. I believe my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease) and adrenal fatigue was a direct result of all the helping others over the years without ever considering how that was going to affect me if I didn’t help myself first. Codependent much? You betcha.

So, getting back to this one foot on the gas, and one on the brakes concept. Needless to say, it’s an uncomfortable feeling. In Buddhism, the spiritual path is the middle way. Moderation. In one aspect, you could see it as an internal boundary system. I will not get too high and I will not get too low. Just right.

But then…there’s the concept of not resisting and not clinging.


I get myself confused.

Do I not resist this increase in internal energy and drive and apply the gas until I run out of steam and collapse from exhaustion?

Or do I moderate it, and deal with the discomfort and awkwardness of having a race car mind on a go-cart track?

There are times when I feel like I’m on the verge of Something Big, and then I back away from it.

It’s self-sabotage, born out of fear…yet…I have seen the results of unbridled and misguided energy. I’ve misappropriated my own energy at times (the reasons are manifold). It’s resulted in some big problems in my life. So, then, sometimes I run into anxiety because I feel bad about what happened in the past.

So…aside from the problems that caused, I have periods of intense thinking or intense creativity and then periods of dormancy, or incubation. From what I hear, it’s a natural creative cycle. Or, put another way, sometimes the creative flow just trickles out, sometimes the dam explodes. You can imagine how overwhelming the latter might be.  Going from dormancy to creativity isn’t so bad, it’s when you go from creativity to hitting that wall where you just can’t go on anymore.

I’d rather have a nice, steady flow of usable energy that’s ‘just right’ and not overwhelming and that won’t lead to a crash (because what goes up must come down).

And…when it comes down to it, I’m afraid of what will happen. I’m afraid of my own energy. When I was a kid, it was wrong to be energetic. It was wrong to be exuberant and excited about life. It was wrong to be happy when everyone else was miserable. So, when I’m happy, when I’m enthusiastic, when I’m energetic, I have that internal warning system inside that says “it’s wrong to feel this way and you have to STOP!”

So that’s kind of where I’m at right now.

Everyone’s been so warm, positive, supportive, and I love it…and I’m feeling afraid. It’s weird. I’m afraid of the part of me that woke up and said, “slow down”, “don’t get to big for your britches” and all that….and THAT’s what interferes with relationship to people. That kind of angst. Has little to do with Other, and a lot to do with what’s going on inside my Self.

One thing that I wanted to share, again on this blog, was Dr. Kay Jamison on Exuberance.  If you hadn’t heard about her, she’s a big name in the field of manic-depression (bipolar), and has it herself.

From the Publisher’s Weekly Review of Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s book – Exuberance: The Passion for Life:

If exuberance is “the passion for life,” then Jamison’s enthusiasm and sense of wonder about the subject proves as fine an example as any examined in her newest work. Expert in the arena of mood and temperament, Jamison (An Unquiet Mind; Night Falls Fast; Touched with Fire) detours from her usual analysis of mood disorders in favor of the livelier side of personality. She examines the contagious nature of exuberance, which she defines as “a psychological state characterized by high mood and high energy,” offering diverse examples that range from John Muir and FDR [Teddy Roosevelt] to Mary Poppins and Peter Pan. Having in mind the simply put idea that “those who are exuberant act,” the author details the energetic efforts of scientists, naturalists, politicians and even her meteorologist father. The dual nature of humanity is a common theme, as Jamison distinguishes between introversion and extroversion, nature and nurture, and healthy emotion and pathology. Such analysis is at times thorough to the point of redundancy, and even the most interested reader may find parts of the book exhausting to navigate. But Jamison makes up for it with her contagious enthusiasm for the subject—a mood that will make readers feel, well, exuberant. Perhaps Snoopy explains it best when, as exemplified in a comic strip here, he leaps for joy, waxing philosophically: “To those of us with real understanding, dancing is the only pure art form…. To live is to dance, to dance is to live.

To be clear, I don’t think I’m bipolar.   I’m pretty sure I’m not.  Fairly sure.  I’m fairly sure my mood swings have had to do with external events and Hashimoto’s thyroidits and slowly resolving trauma.  As an aside MANY people with thyroid disorders have been misdiagnosed with bipolar, so, if you didn’t get your thyroid thoroughly checked, I would do so.

But, I’m ALSO sure a few of us have NO idea how to manage our exuberance.  In a world were intelligent and creative and energetic people are often taken down a peg or two by people afraid of intelligence, creativity, and energy, is it no wonder a few of us feel like birds with clipped wings?

I’m going to be linking to a post on Douglas Eby’s Talent Development Resources website, to share a little more about what I’m talking about…

What do you do with your intensity

…and not just because one of my other blogs was linked to it (go me!), but because I wanted to share this concept of intensity with my readers, some of whom might exactly know just what I’m talking about.

I still haven’t figured out how to manage my intensity, other than by putting on the brakes because I have a fear that I won’t handle it well and I’d already felt quite crazy in my life.

I’m going to be talking more about this energy from a spiritual perspective in the coming posts…but for now, I wanted to talk about it from a creative perspective.

And, I wanted to know, how do YOU manage your intensity?

About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in anxiety, Artist, Bipolar, Bipolar Misdiagnosis, Complex-PTSD, Gifted Adults, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Healing, Intensity, Kay Redfield Jamison, Manic Depressive, Moods, Shame, True Self and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Preliminary thoughts on creativity, energy, and fear

  1. Woah, slOw dOwn! You’re providing feedback on the post I have yet to write up. LOL.
    Asking the same questions myself – this is what I’ve been exploring in the Greatness series. Those who achieve outside the bell curve most certainly do not reign themselves in. They are restless for more out of themselves. And yet I know – esp from my holistic studies – health is balance.

    I love the brakes/pedal metaphor.

    • Casey says:

      LOL =)

      At any rate, if you should find Women Who were MOTHERS and achieved greatness without damaging the kids or getting a divorce…that would be awesomely awesome to read about them.

      I’m sure you’ve heard of Sally Reis’ Work Left Undone…

      • On your Mothers Who Achieved Without Breaking themselves or their family: LOL

        Plenty of women nowadays seem to achieve outside the home. I believe, all at a great cost.

        Nope, haven’t heard of it. Another thing to bookmark, Off to church now.

        • Casey says:

          “Plenty of women nowadays seem to achieve outside the home. I believe, all at a great cost.”

          I agree, too. It was why I was grateful that, even as difficult as it’s been sometimes, I took the off-ramp from the STEM field. I get twinges of sadness at times, and then I think about the dangerous chemicals, microorgansims and potentially hazardous blood I was always working with…so…I think I’ve done me a favor as well as my daughters.

          And, also, when my daughter was dx with selective mutism and mild SPD, I used a LOT of my time to research, advocate, and come up with a lot of at home therapeutic interventions I could do on my own, and work more closely with the schools to get her the help she needed. So, I’m thrilled about that!

          If you hadn’t also heard of this article, you might want to check it out. Linda Silverman wrote I’m not Gifted, I’m Just Busy: Unrecognized Giftedness in Women (unless you know about it of course…). Not necessarily for any particular reason than it’s interesting why women have had a harder time reaching eminence over the centuries, even if they didn’t have kids (which, come to think of it, Marie Curie did…and I think her children ended up working in the lab with her and her husband…)

          Anyway, looking way forward to a rich exchange with you for a long time to come. In between loads of laundry and dishes and homework help and science projects…LOL….

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