“God, I Can’t Do This Shit Anymore”
by chung swiatkowska
Newest traditional work! Referenced off a photo of a good friend of mine, Charlotte. Will take better photos soon.
Mixed media – primarily oil paint, and then (because oils are damn expensive) pencil, tippex, old makeup (foundation, green concealer, nail polish, eyeshadows/powders), face paint, water, kid’s crayons, gel pens, and thread+needle. It’s titled “God, I can’t do this shit anymore”. It was an unfinished painting gathering dust at my parent’s house, but became a personal piece when I finished it up over the past couple days. Kind of felt like a final goodbye to my tumultuous hellish adolescence.
On it are notes, dates and tallies of things like the dates of my suicide attempts, how many days I was in care, how many years. I was depressed since about ten years old, as a result of emotional abuse, bullying at school and biological reasons. It fluctuated over the years – as time went by and the doctors refused, or didn’t know how, to diagnose me, I played with what it could be – depression and anxiety, certainly, but that wasn’t it. Mania, early onset schizophrenia like my aunt, autism spectrum or Asperger’s like my uncles and dad, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, psychosis (which I was eventually diagnosed with).
In truth, mental illness isn’t that simple – not like having a cold, or an ear infection or a cavity. The brain’s too complicated for that, and it took me a long time to realise that modern medicine doesn’t actually have all the answers. I blamed my psychiatrists and therapists endlessly, shouting at them, ignoring them, etc. In truth, I still blame them a little. I resent people who tell me my feelings in the past, at the peak of my illness, were invalid. They may have been induced by chemical imbalances in my brain, but everything I felt was real.
Anyway, I have enough feelings on this that I could write a book – my point is, these past few weeks have been very eventful and significant for me. I attended a funeral for the first time – death felt personal. Ironically, the day of that funeral was probably the happiest my family has been in a long time. I’ve somewhat reconciled with them, at least a little. I got into university – illustration at Camberwell. I feel motivated and capable of working. And then, finally, I was discharged from the mental health services for good. It feels strange – like a rebirth of sorts. My happiness feels very fragile and precious to me right now, and I will protect it like a mother with a newborn. I have not been this happy in a long, long time. Losing this is not a risk I’m willing to take.