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:icondamaimikaz: More from DamaiMikaz

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Submitted on
March 1
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My profile page states that I'm not a professional artist. 
I put it up there, nice and bold, so there would never be a mistake about that.

Yet, seeing the messages I receive, I think many people get me wrong on that one. 
I don't state this whole not-being-a-professional-thing because I think my art sucks and I somehow desperately want people to reinforce me. No, I state this because I'm not a professional in the sense that art isn't my job. I'm not doing art for money, and that's the simple reason why. I never took art commissions and I've never even really tried to do so. Because I do art for the enjoyment alone.

Nice statement, you'd say. But you know what the strange thing is? People try to guilt talk me a lot. 
Tell me that I'm low on ambition, that I would be able to make it if I really wanted, or even that I'm wasting my talent by just making art for my own enjoyment. Because "If you're good at something, you should never do it for free", right? And they think that I'm wasting both my time and talent because I could make big bucks from it otherwise... right?
No matter how flattering comments like "You're too good not to be a pro" might sound to an outsider, to me it sometimes comes across as hurtful. Because the reason I'm not doing art for a profession, is by choice. And getting that kind of comments, makes it feel like my choices are apparently considered stupid, ignorant, or even arrogant by people.

It was somewhere around August 2010 that I was given up by the doctors in the hospital.
"You'll probably never work again" they told me. "The pain is permanent. We can't cure it. But try to live with it, and try to live with the fact that you can't do 95% of your hobby's anymore."
And with that, I was send home.

No, I wasn't dying from terminal illness. 
And if I had to compare myself with the many people battling cancer at that very moment, I probably didn't have it that bad. But as an only 22 year old woman, with sky-high ambition, that had been working so many hours in the past years... hearing I would be in permanent pain and NEVER be able to work again was the one thing I couldn't bear. From the outside, I might've looked totally fine. I wasn't the type to cry. But I could just feel my world crumbling. On the inside, it felt like I was dying.

A few months before all of that, my wrist literally broke down. From one day to another, I wasn't able to use the computer at work anymore. I thought it would be fine. Just give it a few days of rest, I thought, just like any other person would've thought at that time. So I stayed home from work for a few days, took some good nights of sleep, only to find out that it wouldn't just go away. In contrary; it kept getting worse. After a few visits to my doctor, they soon concluded I had an inflammation of my wrist joint. 
"You've worked too hard. Your muscles are simply overloaded. Give it some rest" the doctors told me. And while highly impatient (because that's my personality), I just decided to do as they told me, and take some rest. At that time, I was still pretty optimistic about it. Yeah, the pain was bad, but it would go away... right? 

Well, it pretty much didn't...

I was eventually diagnosed with permanent RSI. But that diagnosis wasn't at least a bit helpful, since apparently nobody knew how to cure it. I visited many doctors and multiple physical therapists, but as I eventually met my health insurance budget, I had to stop going there. The worst point was somewhere late 2010. At that point I've had multiple inflammations in both of my wrist- and my elbow joints. Painkillers had become my daily routine, and even then it hurt like hell. Because of the pain, I had lost so much muscle strength that even the basic things in life became a challenge to me. Things like opening a door with a key, opening a bottle of soda, riding a car, or basically lifting anything that was over a kilo (and that's a lot -- believe me).

Early 2011 I met a doctor that proposed that I should do rehabilitation therapy. You know... the kind of therapy for people who lost their bodily functions because of either a stroke or an accident. It sounded weird to me, but I had nothing to lose, so went there anyway. I spend a few months in rehabilitation and it was that experience that opened my eyes so much. I've seen people that lost everything, but still managed to adapt their ambitions for life, accepted their lives, and just kept going. It inspired me beyond anything else, to know that the human mind can be so powerful.

It's been 3 years since then. I only spend a few months in rehabilitation training, and from there on I kept on training by myself (again; insurance budget).
I now learned that my physical condition has to do with a genetic issue that makes my joints weak anyway. So no matter how careful I would've been, things would've broken down anyway eventually. The doctors where right about the pain being permanent. I'm still having pain every day, and I will continue to have so for the rest of my life, but I learned how to manage it. In order to live my life, I had to turn everything around. Training has become my daily routine. It had to, in order for me to manage the pain. I now hit the gym 2 times a week, and train at home almost every day. 
Yeah, I hate those god awful "look at me working out in the gym" Facebook posts so much! Because I have been working out every day for the last 3 years, and I don't brag about it on my Facebook page. I need it in order to be able to do simple daily tasks!

One of the hardest things I had to learn was to give up on my sky-high ambitions, and learn to appreciate the simple things that I enjoy.
I used to be working for 60 hours a week, if not more. And even art was a competence I just wanted to get better in for the sake of eventually being able to either sell or acquire fame. Things have changed a lot over the last few years. With all that training, I'm now able to do a full-time job. A very stable job in IT, that I like doing and that earns me enough money not to worry about paying the bills. What I can do in my free time is usually limited to a few hours, because training takes up a lot of time and my wrist still is very fragile. But in those hours, I'd like to do something that I ENJOY, rather than something I just do to make money. Because... what's the value of money when you can't even enjoy it?

To the people that ask me why I'm so down to earth and have such realistic expectations of life. This is the very reason why. 
And to those that still think I'm wasting my talent by not doing art as a profession. You don't know even half about it... and you probably don't even realize how lucky you are to not know so.

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Beautifuldreamer2nt Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I have not read through the entire thing, but from the first few paragraphs I see whereyou are coming from entirely!

I feel the same way, i love my work but the pleasure of creating is not in the fact that there is something gained,

except a perspective perhaps while developing the piece or that of what lyes behind the piece.
Don't be discouraged because of what people think about your decisions because you have your own

legitimate reasoning for why you chose to do the things you do.
       As someone who has made unfavorable decisions in the eyes of many I have learned to care less and less and  as should you if you are made happy by your decisions. As long as your decisions are not impacting people in a negative way- why should anyone care? It is your decision. What you feel compelled to do, well- there is a reasoning behind iT! 

I love your writing and your opinions on things and enjoy and am happy that you share them, however!
Maxojir Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Student Writer
I can't seem to get enough of these. Been going through all your posts like this one, and regaining some good bit of drive by doing so.
I know I'm just joining a list, but I can heap myself in with you on just recently having a life-changing condition onset. I could function perfectly fine at the same level as any other healthy person until just this past fall, when I hit the brutally sudden development of both Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. Now whenever I get distressed in any significant way, no matter how clear and perfectly calm-thinking I keep myself, I'll start experiencing nausea, and depending on the situation it can be pretty intense. At one point last fall I was horribly nauseous for 2 straight weeks, to the point I couldn't get to sleep at night.
Thankfully, my combined combination is treatable to a point . . . basically just "suppressible". I'm on a medication permanently that (I'll spare you my Pharmacy-Student urge to delve into an expounded biochemical explanation :)  ) keeps the condition quelled to an extent, enough to make it only really bad situations that will make everything start to unsettle, and even when that occurs I have tranquilizers and a really powerful antiemetic I can take if everything doesn't settle out soon enough. But, these conditions are also, like yours, ultimately genetically based, so they're permanent. Psychological therapy helps, at least it did to get me to the point where I can stay level/clear-thinking even when highly distressed, so that all that remains is the nausea, however it's that physical aspect of it that will always remain.
I've lost 2 friends and the only relationship I was ever in over it, because of people's seeming inability to cope with my no longer being "normal". I can't even tell you how many times I hear "So? Just calm down." or my personal favorite "You should just try to stop worrying so much." 
Ironically though . . . I actually FEEL (emotionally) better right now than I ever had in my life before. I have the double-condition to live with, but so many things resulted from it. It was my developing the two conditions and now becoming dependent on medications that actually first sparked my Pharmacology interest and then flipped me over into officially setting my University path onto that of Pharmacy Student. It was also the fact that I was always sitting or lying around because I felt nauseous so often that enabled my re-spark into writing in significant amounts again. I'm working on some fanfiction ocassionally, but mostly a much longer, novel-series-length fantasy story, my original work. I've almost gone a year now of not going a single day without writing at least some little bit, and it feels amazing to say that.

And just out of my pre-Pharmacist concern and curiosity . . . did they do nothing beyond that? Because if it's severe inflamation they should have at least permanently prescribed you some kind of potent, high-efficacy NSAID, like Ketoprofen or Naproxen or the like. The only advice I can immediately offer you is to take extra Vitamin C if you don't already, since it's a natural anti-histamine; even though severe inflamation is caused by prostaglandins and not histamine in most cases, but having less histamine around to pontentiate further inflamation would only help, even if the amount of help is negligible. 
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wouldn't say that things like anxiety disorder and panic attacks are permanent. Sure, most people that get them have a combination of genetic factors that make them highly sensitive to stress (more than the average human being) and a stressful environment that triggers the event. Yet a disorder like that is controllable. Me, myself, I come from such an environment. Depression and anxiety pretty much runs in our family, and pretty much every single family member from my fathers side is on medication for disorders related to it. I have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder too in my teenage years, yet made the choice not to take any medication for it, as I feared they would alter my mind and influence my creativity. 

I've been through hell and back. And at my deepest point I hadn't been sleeping for 2 weeks, I was hallucinating due to tiredness even when awake, and I had lost over 10kg because I couldn't keep any food in. But it was at that point I realized that no meds or psychotherapist was ever gonna be able to heal me if I wasn't able to face the monsters by myself. And that was basically when I started to realize that the theory from 'mind over matter' really works to a certain extend. But that it's really hard to fulfill when you have a treacherous mind that constantly plays tricks on you. I've been free of panic attacks for a few years. I sometimes still have stress building up, which makes me nauseous and unable to eat, but I tend not to make a big deal of it anymore. If I feel that way, I simply skip a meal, and rationalize that it's not gonna kill me and I'll be okay in a few hours when I'll calm down. It's okay. Because of that attitude I've actually overcome some of the fears I thought I would never overcome. Such as applying for jobs or doing presentations in front of many people. 

So just to say; don't give up hope. There's always hope :)

As for the inflammations. I was actually prescribed painkillers, but as I have a oversensitive nerve system (or so they called in in Dutch -- don't know the proper English translation for it) it's hard to find meds that actually kill pain for me. Most painkillers hardly work on me -- which is usually a big problem with any doctors on me. Doctors said that because of the many inflammations I had at the spot, the brain probably registers the spot as 'painful' even though nothing is really terribly wrong with it anymore. More of a neurological problem, so to say. And one that's hard to solve. The only thing I can do is basically build up a lot of strength in the surrounding muscles, to relieve tension. And the muscle pain I get from training basically overrules the 'wrong' brain signal of the inflammation. So that kinda solves the problem for me nowadays :)
MAYGUSTA Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Your story is similar to the situation I've currently found myself in. Two years ago, I started feeling very drowsy. I used to be up all night and all day, thriving on only a few hours of sleep, and one day I just couldn't wake up. Now, if I get less than twelve hours of sleep, I'm shattered. My joints and muscles ache. No one seems to understand that to lift a handbag with even only my keys and wallet in is really difficult for me. Stairs are a no-go, and drawing is so exhausting that I can't do more than an hour without really paying for it later.

It's so hard to keep motivated.
Whetsit-Tuya Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Student Filmographer
I am not a professional artist either but I think I will be someday
ViperCanel Featured By Owner May 28, 2014
That's a touching story. I wished I was there to massage your wrists whenever they ached (hoping it doesn't sound weirder than it does in my head). I felt like you are speaking very angry to me when I read the italic parts though :p You are right, there are people who take it much harder, but your feelings are not less important than theirs to me: Because contrary to popular belief, there is not an universal measure of emotions that show how each circumstance affects everyone at what degree. I am so happy for you that you are such a strong person and found the best way to live with your condition. I suggest you apply natural based massage creams which may help the pain.

I came from your recent post about what a godly artist you are that any fool who dares to come close will perish in ember flames. I have some stuff to write about that too but I will let it go for now as my post has already become very long. Are you mayhaps a Byronic hero (not bionic hero with pew pew lasers!) like me?: "The modern sense of a romantic character may be expressed in Byronic ideals of a gifted, perhaps misunderstood loner, creatively following the dictates of his inspiration rather than the standard ways of contemporary society." :D Now can I hug you and pet your hair? (^_^*)
openskyline Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Your journal entries are some of the most amazing pieces of writing I've ever seen. 
Whetsit-Tuya Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Student Filmographer
GigaRonin Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2014
Life moves on and you should too. Right?
kimiisuu Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is one of the most touching life stories I ever read <3 . Thanks for sharing! Please keep never stop drawing because I love your art ^^. 
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