Members’ Projects

Members’ Projects

Creative Works Studio Members’ Blog | Our members are blogging their work, you can find their blog here.


Featured Member Project: Courtney Marshall’s essays about living with mental health issues.


Courtney Marshall

I reached a point in my life where I feel more at ease than I ever did, at least for now, but, if things change, I know how to roll with it until I get back together again.  I know because I’ve been fighting this chemical imbalance for most of my life and I learned that no matter where I am on the emotional scale that it’ll even out if I just relax and take it easy until it passes.

Some people are impressed by my self awareness and ability to deal with my affliction.  I often wondered if the people on the inside of the box knew how difficult they made life by seeing what makes me different as an affliction.  I won’t lie to you.  It’s a problem, but it’s multiplied many times over by your lack of understanding.  Did you ever wonder what it’s like to live in a society that sees you as sick, weak and unable to deal with the stresses of the modern world?  Because we are seen this way, we are forced to live on the outside in isolation and poverty.  Did you ever wonder how you would feel living this kind of reality?

Because of the way you see me, I learned to feel anxiety around you and I learned to hate who you saw me as.  I felt nothing but shame every time I looked in the mirror.  To escape the confusion and turmoil I was feeling, I would try to bury it under a smiling mask and a lot of alcohol until I reached a point where whatever I thought or felt or might have been was lost.  All that was left was a piece of human cargo floating on an ocean with nothing to anchor to.

When I hit the bottom, there was nothing left inside of me to burn.  I used up everything I had just to survive in a situation that I didn’t understand nor in which I was never understood.  I had enough but I was too young to give up.  I started to look around my environment and ask questions but no matter what question I asked I could never find an answer that could help me through the anguish I was going through.  On one of the worst nights of this time I remember crying and asking why won’t people accept me for who I was.  This question became my mantra.  Than one night something inside of me turned the question around.  I asked why is it that I couldn’t accept me for who I was.  I asked, what has caused more damage in my life?  What others may have been thinking of me: or what I thought of myself?  It took awhile, but these questions changed everything for me because it lead to questions that changed my way of thinking and feeling, living this impossible life.  I asked two more questions that changed a very damaging personal philosophy.  The first was: what is more important to your character: the respect you receive from others or the respect you give yourself?  The second question was: what is more healing?  The love you receive from others, or the love you give yourself?

I can’t win the “battle of the box”.  All I can do is even the playing field by being good to me.  I have come to terms with being different.  Can you do the same?  For those who face the same struggles, I urge you to throw away any perception you may have of how others may think of you.  For the greatest challenge for a human being is to become who they truly are.  Running from this truth always has consequences that you will have to reckon with.  I know that this chemical war that goes on inside me as made me different but I now embrace it because it’s who I am.  It took some time and a lot of soul searching but I like who I see in the mirror a whole lot more.

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