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…And if so what do I do about it?

OK so I have a keen interest in art in various forms and using various mediums.  Admittedly I don’t do as much of it as I used to.

Firstly my hands are not as steady as they used to be.  Secondly my eyesight is not as good as it used to be. And thirdly and perhaps more significantly my art room was subjected to what can only be described and a reverse wheel-clamping technique that seems to be employed some youngsters. Whereby instead of clamping something so it can’t be used they simply fill it full of their junk and claim it as their own.

Why my son insisted that he and his partner needed somewhere to live for a few weeks until his new place became ready and why sleeping on a park bench is simply not good enough for him and his partner I will never know.  Young people today! It wasn’t like that in my day I can tell you. In my day if you needed a place to live you would simply crawl into some discarded fish and chip wrappings and called it home.

Oops sorry, I seemed to have slipped into some oldey worldy parallel universe kind of grumpy old git frame of mind there for a bit.

Actually having my son and his partner here whilst they awaited their new place being ready was of course only natural and was indeed a blessing.

But it did stop my art room from being my art room for a while and did of course, just like my health, impact my ability to paint etc.  Something that I really do need to get back into.

Another positive by-product of my son’s temporary return to the family homestead lol was that since my son has developed an interest in photography and was here, it re-ignited my own interest in photography.

I even got a new camera.  (The fact that my son fell in love with and thus commandeered the one my father had left to me was of course a factor in this new acquisition but no matter what the cause of it I am really delighted I have it and intend to make great use of it.)

Unlike my old camera this new one is digital and I am enjoying getting to know its capabilities, learning more about it and trying it out in different settings etc.

Of course I haven’t yet, and possibly won’t for a while, get to the stage where I can add different filters to the lens in order to gain different effects but it was something that I enjoyed doing with my older cameras and thinking of this led me onto an interesting question last night.

Am I using the wrong filter?

  And now I am not talking about photography but about life.

In terms of photography there are a number of different filters that can be used –  polarizing (linear/circular), UV/haze, neutral density, graduated neutral density and warming/cooling or color filters to name but a few and indeed each have a different function and give a different result.

But they all, in one way of putting it, change the way the film (or the recording data) sees or interprets or receives the image in front of them.

And isn’t it true that mental illness can sometimes have the same effect?  Changing the way we see or interpret or receive what is in front of us?

This is something that has really been on my mind of late and in many ways it focuses (excuse the pun) on the probability of my having Aspergers whilst at the same time recognizing that I have several other influencing conditions.

Virtually all of my life I seem to have seen things differently to others.  Things that others seem to brush off or disregard as being unimportant I see as important, likewise things that others seem to rate as important have less import in my eyes.

For example, small verbal gestures and comments leap out at me and are significant to me.  The most causal almost throw-away sentiment of love or acceptance or affection – even when witnessed in someone else’s relationship – holds great value to me and conversely small seemingly insignificant or unimportant gestures of ridicule or rejection or of disregard which are ignored or which seem to be perfectly accepted by others seem to carry much more weight or import with me.

Additionally I see patterns where others see mess and in the middle of banks of words where others just seem to see words.  In clouds, tree bark, water stains on clothing or on counter tops.

I also see patterns in people’s behaviour where others seem not to see them or to not regard them and this can have very serious implications when it comes to relationships as I think it makes me more acutely aware when someone is doing something that is distressing to me.

I also notice patterns and an intricacy of patterns within my own thought process.

Many years ago, when I was a small boy I decided that since my mother used to knit I too would learn to knit and I asked her to teach me.  It was not extremely succesful although I did later master the art of basic knitting at least. [And yes I am a guy and no it doesn’t bother me that I can knit and yes I am comfortable enough with my own gender identification to be able to admit that I can knit. lol]

But what happened when I was a young boy learning to knit is that I would start off with a certain number  of desired stitches in a row and then after just a few rows end up with a greatly increased number because I was splitting the wool in some cases and in other cases just felt like adding some extras or varying the number to see what the result would be.

I do the same in my thought processes.  I dissect, turn things around, invert them, reverse them, expand them, shrink them, alter them, come at them from an alternative perspective and then determine which one fits the best and has the best symmetry with my understanding or approach and then I stick to it.  And yes I often fail to see how anyone can have an alternative perspective.

And there in that last paragraph is that word symmetry.

Symmetry and indeed the lack of symmetry appears far more noticeable to me as does balance and level.

A crooked picture can play havoc with me and I recall one Christmas party for the men’s group at the church I used to attend where I simply had to adjust and right every un-level, crooked picture in the diner in which we were eating.  Even the ones which the group enjoyed re-making crooked after I had already righted it and whilst I was off righting one of the other crooked pictures. (Which incidentally was no-where near where we were eating but hey if all the others were crooked there was a huge chance that one was too – and it was!)

There are of course other noticeable factors and these plus the ones I have already mentioned above lead me to the conclusion that I am without doubt using the wrong or at best a different kind of filter

And if so what do I do about it?

I guess the main consideration for me here is the question, “Is it indeed a wrong kind of filter or is it simply a different kind of filter?”

And here I have a difficulty. As someone who experiences poor mental health and who has been diagnosed with several mental-illnesses (I really dislike that expression) or psychological conditions can I in all good conscience agree that they (or their resultant effects) are all bad?

The answer is no. I can’t.  Do I accept that they often put me in a different place to, or afford me a different perspective to, others?  Yes of course, but is that necessarily always such a bad thing.  I would have to say no it isn’t.

In many ways, or at least I am of the opinion that, in many ways mental health or mental illness is judged by a comparison with others and indeed an ability or inability to associate or co-exist with others.

Therefore if I accept that my mind or my mental health often places me in a situation where I am using a ‘different kind of filter’ and if I believe that having that ‘different kind of filter’ is not always a bad thing.  Perhaps the question(s) I should be considering, (and doing so on a regular basis), is not, ‘am I using the wrong or a different kind of filter?’, but more, ‘when do I tend to use that filter and would I be better off not using it at those times?

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