Coming out to play or how an introvert fails to thrive

jessica doyle self portrait

If you are a creative person you likely have many drafts or unfinished pieces of work in various stages of completion laying around your studio or stored on the computer.

In early November, 2011 I began entering a burnout from working online and from life in general. And by mid-January 2012 my health had completely failed and I was hospitalized for seven days. It’s only now that I’m coming out of it (publicly) so to speak.

What’s sad, is that I knew it was happening all of last year but didn’t know how to stop it or where to go for help or how to financially afford treatment by taking time off of working as I have no health insurance or employment insurance. I wrote the following on November 7th, 2011, the night before my 38th birthday, and never published it here on the blog.

What exactly does it mean when you hit burnout or rather when you succumb to not be able to creatively think or do anything else other than change who you are.

And when you are introverted, adjusting to extroversion is almost painful at a cellular level. To an introvert, extroversion feels like being tickled everywhere for an extended period of time and forced to exert and use one’s senses in life in an outward fashion that others can see, taste, smell, watch or feel immediately.

An introvert on the other hand basically sponges all that external sensory stimuli, balls it up, swallows it, mentally digests it and assimilates it all into the brain for use in original and unique regurgitation onto paper, instrument or dialogue that extroverts absorb in the form of entertainment.

The above few paragraphs are by no means a finished thought but they do summarize how fast my fragile boundaries were eroding. I was utterly overwhelmed most, if not, all of last year. Only those people closest to me knew the extent of what I was trying to deal with if they even knew at all. I didn’t share too much here on the blog… I don’t think I knew how to. Yes, my failing thyroid is playing a part in all of this and yes I’m keeping up with the blood tests and adjustments in medication again.

And what finally prompted me to sign into this blog and break the silence and actually write today was perhaps the most awful therapy appointment I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting through yesterday. And it wasn’t that it was awful per-say, it was just unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before… and I’m going to submit myself to it all over again next week. Haha.

A few weeks ago my Mom gave me a camera to use, that she had won at work, as she already had a camera of her own. It’s a Canon Powershot SD 3500 IS, 14.1MP. I’ve begun playing with it. I snapped the pic above in the upstairs bathroom.

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18 thoughts on “Coming out to play or how an introvert fails to thrive”

  1. Sorry to hear of your struggles Jessica, but it’s great to have you back blogging again.

    I discovered you, your art, and blog when seeking others dealing with and writing about life with hypothyroidism. I have finally admitted to myself that this will be a lifelong commitment on my part to hope for the best possible outcome wellbeing wise.

    My favourite works of your art are those where you interpret nature in your style. I particularly like the 4 works of a tree through the seasons.

    Keep on keeping on Jessica.

    My very best wishes Robert/HypoMan

  2. i’ve had hashimoto’s- sick for a very long time as well…i can relate. you are an amazing artist and i know art can help you back on your feet, it never fails me, as long as i stay true to what i draw 😉 energy vibes to you ~~~~christine

  3. Dear Jessica, Maybe because I am sensitive to these things because I am an introvert myself, but it could be seen through your blog that you were not feeling well. And since you have been gone I have worried about how you are. I hope you feel better soon.  And yes, therapy can be awful, but stick with it. It really does help. Kind regards, Diana

  4. Jessica – I’ve been thinking about you from time to time over the last little while. I’ve got thryroid issues, too, so I’ve been wondering how you’re doing, but I’ve been craving your art as well. This is a small step, but it’s a step, nonetheless… sending you many positive – and happy – thoughts :)

  5. Theray is not for sissies!  Thinking of you, Jessica and I appreciate your candid openess.  Have truly missed your writing and hope you continue~you are a hero in my eyes! 
    Most sincerely, Nancy Kiplinger-McCann

  6. Life sometimes is hard work but worth the effort.  Depression has been a part of my life as an introvert but thankfully the good times out number the bad, so in a way I can relate a little.  Our son suffers with an addiction as well so somedays it’s a struggle all the way around.

    Don’t know what is appropriate to say Jessica but I can see the person you are through your art and that is beautiful to me.  Here’s to better days : D

  7. Though relatively new to you and your blog, I’ve enjoyed it and your art.  I wondered where you’d gotten to, and hoped you were well.  Seems you’re a sensitive soul, struggling with some big life issues.  I do wish you strength, good family and friends, and all that you need to be your best.  I’ll be paying attention!


  8. Hello Jessica,

    I hope your therapy will lead to quick success and won’t be too awful :)
    I want to thank you for being the wonderful and mentally beautiful person who you are, for that it is you who opened my eyes for my need and my own capabilities of creating (something at least similar to) art. Your words on this blog really changed my way of thinking about art, perhaps even my life.
    Please keep blogging and brightening all our days.

    Best wishes, Thomas Z.

  9. Oh Jessica, been missing your blog entries! I really hope and pray that all your health issues will be resolved soon and that you can peacefully and joyfully continue to create.  I love how describe extroverts and introverts.  It’s so accurate! Take care of yourself, ok?

  10. As I’ve never had thyroid issues (that I’m aware of), I can’t begin to imagine how those symptoms would play into this… but I can definitely relate to feeling overwhelmed by the Push to be extroverted (both on and off-line). 
    I think most artists (although not all of them) would call themselves “introverted”. We would certainly rather be alone in our studios, creating in peace and quiet, rather than going door-to-door selling ourselves, and constantly being “ON” for our fans and customers.  It’s the nature of the beast.  We’re forced to answer questions, encourage communication, forge connections, attend shows, blog about our process, Facebook and Twitter and Google our freaking butts off… in order to sell our work and become established.  And it sucks our souls away.  
    So many of us fail in our professional goals because we can’t handle the demands made upon us.   We forget that feeling of being in love with our craft, for the pure joy of creating, without considering it’s marketability potential.  
     Everything we do becomes a big song-and-dance production with full-scale sets and costumes, for the benefit of people watching.
    It’s always possible that you’re having a change of heart… Nobody would fault you for taking a sabbatical away from self-promotion, finding a temporary “job” to pay your bills, and reevaluating where you want to go and who you want to BE.  I will say, though, that among all the fallen artists who let their fear and inhibitions hold them back, there are a few who rise like phoenixes from their own ashes.  And I believe that you are one of those, Jess.  Your body is telling you to take it slow for awhile, care for your health, and plan your next move… I know that you’ll be back. 😉 

  11. Hello Jessica, I am sorry to hear you have not been well. I am happy to see that you are able to write and share what happened since then end of last year. You touch some points on which I can relate and I admire your courage in sharing. I say courage as it is not easy for all bloggers to share the difficulties they are going through in their lives. It is much easier to focus on the creativity, the work and anything but the pain and struggles of life.

    I know.

    You also raise a point I was just pondering earlier this week – how does an introverted creative person deal with being social online? Plus I also just had my thyroid replacement levels raised last week. I thought my tiredness and so on was my fault but now I know I was dealing with hypothyroidism myself.

    So you see I can really relate to your post.

    I wish you more strength and much better health, wealth and Love

  12. sorry you are having such hard times right now *hugs* from afar… best wishes for improvements in health and happiness.. keep hoping :) a visitor to my home was gushing over your sea-creatures series which is hanging in my very blue guest room. your lovely work is bringing joy to the world!  

  13. I am also an introvert – luckily I’m able to “lay low” in my job… otherwise I would be “acting” as I had always done as a teacher. I hope that things are brightening up in your world – with the arrival of spring – new environment, scents, temperature, sunshine – and that you are back to your old self again soon. Thanks for sharing your private thoughts… it helps us introverts realize that we are not alone.

    PS – Great camera – I’m playing with my SX 30 IS – looking forward to your Flickr photos :)

  14. This is Jess’ personal blog about her life, not just her art ~ which is beautiful and which led most of us to begin following her.  This blog is an outlet for her to share everything she’s going through (the good, bad, and ugly)… she’s had rough times in the past, and she’s going through a particularly rough period now. 
      In order to appreciate the art, one has to understand the artist… although it’s sad to read about her struggles, the majority of us are also learning from her, and cheering her on because we care.   I guess it’s difficult to imagine that there are people who can follow an artist impartially, without developing empathy for them.

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