Yesterday swimming in a ceaseless and delicious sea at Osmington I thought more about the central metaphor running through Restless - the sea as activism and the power of continuous collective action. The waves keep coming each one surging forward quietly or fiercely but definitely and reliably. Then drawing back into the swell until the time is right and powered by its relentless drive it pushes forward again. Meanwhile other waves do their thing.
This week I am a wave throwing myself forward - this is scary and urgent, joyful and hard. Because I do this work sometimes people ask me how I have recovered enough to be able to speak out. Make no mistake I live with the impact of my abuse everyday - I do activism to meet my rage and devastation - to harness it - own it and call for change. I have in place an enormous amount of support to enable me to do this.
Last night - 3.30am - exhausted and unable to sleep - squashed in our tiny tent - buffeted by the wind coming off the sea - feeling too much - anxious not to disturb Sarah (which I did repeatedly) and other campers (I think I didn’t) - I had a full on panic attack. Sitting sobbing under the stars and feeling so alone despite being here with one of my best friends in the world and a wide circle of loving friends and family who have my back - I felt how dismal it is to be a survivor.
Today I need to draw back after 3 days of surging forward - we have Beth and Dave hip hop artists and Becky from the SW coast path joining us - we will walk in the rain - and I will need to be gentle with myself.
Anyone who is surging forward today in whatever way know that I am with you and would love to hear about it - you can tweet on @VivGordonMFD or email me on email@example.com
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I'll be posting my personal reflections on creating work as an artist with mental health needs, my work with the wider sector and interesting developments in arts and mental health.