Being a Neurodivergent Artist with Depression is… A Lot

Wednesday Journal Entry, Week 24

January 25th 2023 – Karina Lafayette

Photo by Erik McLean

The idea of me of all people having a niche is… laughable. Not because I’m trying to seem cool or rebellious by refusing to pick a lane, but because my brain says so. I like many different crafts: filmmaking, astrology, poetry, blogging, storytelling, tarot, etc. If it has a creative angle, then I’ve probably experimented in it at least once, or twice, or maybe half a time before my mind got bored and decided to hyperfixate on something else.

However, everything leads back to writing. Being a writer, a wordsmith, poet, occasional nihilist- whatever, is my happy place, the only place that makes sense for me.

What I’m really trying to say (I mean, write) is that I’m on a spectrum. Like who am I kidding? I’ve always known my mind functions differently. Besides, do we really want to go… there? Back to the good old days of high school where I’d stutter anytime I had to speak in front of class, was made fun of for being the quiet kid, and would sometimes spend my lunch break in the washroom stall because no one would sit with with me.

Neither do I.

But what I would like to do is go back in time and give that girl a hug, because she’s been through more than any book, blog, or poem can describe. If anything, the reason I became a writer is because the world around was a miserable place, and words were the only thing that gave it meaning. I didn’t get to date or go to parties like normal kids, but then again, I didn’t even like other kids, unless they were emo, metal, geniuses, or anything in-between. They took nothing of my quirks and were fine having me around even on days when I didn’t contribute much to the conversation. Maybe trauma is the real reason for the way that I am, and had my childhood been normal that would mean I could be normal, but then again, do I really want to be?

If I had to answer that question back then, my answer would have been a “fuck yes”. Actually, it would have been just a simple “yes”, because for years I had a fear of swearing, which originated from that one afternoon where I learned about swearing from my mother. I also learned quickly that good girls don’t do that, and this led me to a lifetime of constantly wondering if I’m doing something wrong.

And because of my fear of doing something wrong, this would sometimes lead to terrible procrastination, where I’d basically leave class projects to the night before, which would then lead to my mom cussing (yet again) as we stayed up for most of the night to get it done. However, that was mainly for classes I didn’t care about, because one thing a lot of neurodivergent folks know is when we’re passionate about something, it takes precedence over everything else.

So it goes without saying that when it comes to mundane everyday tasks, or things that I simply don’t like doing but for whatever reason have to, there’s an entire mental argument which is really just me convincing myself to get it done already. And those are on my good days. On bad days, I’ll sometimes have to push myself to do the things that genuinely make me happy on top of all else, and that includes writing. It can even be hard just to get out of bed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried (and have been somewhat successful) in becoming more routine-focused, but that’s where executive disfunction can be funny- it doesn’t usually give a fuck.

Instead of leaning toward having a strict routine, whenever between jobs or gigs, I set out a list of goals to accomplish in my day. It doesn’t matter at what hour or how long each takes to get done, as long as said tasks happen in a “realistic” time frame. That alone is enough of a mental reward to repeat again tomorrow, and the days after. In all my years of being a weirdo, some consistency has made me more successful than strict routine ever will.

Because here’s another problem. Anytime my life becomes too routine, I get depression. There must be some scientific reason behind why I might be triggered by routine, but to avoid losing my train of thought, I won’t bother doing the research. I assume it has something to do with mental stimulation and no longer getting the chemical rewards needed to remain emotionally stable. Or it could also have to do with subconsciously rebelling against a secluded, overly routine childhood that I’m still trying to recover from.

On the flip side, too much upheaval and chaos makes me overwhelmed to the point where I sometimes self-isolate, even though some chaos might also bring the changes needed. I always want things to be in harmony, just like Goldilocks, not too much or too little. Ironically, when it’s the world that’s in upheaval, either due to politics or some other issue, I’m the person others can depend on. Do you see what my problem is here?

And trust me, this even extends to my fashion choices, which can range from Wednesday Addams to Enid Sinclair depending on what mood I’m in. Media however is another thing, I’ll gladly follow the same music or shows, till I get bored and fixate on something else- and of course there’s also my comfort shows that I’ll gravitate to whenever I feel like I’m losing control, those are the best.

This is why as an artist I can never have a niche. Even though success might have come that much quicker had I just picked a lane already, the idea of wrapping my work in a neat little box that comforts everyone else would make me miserable, truly miserable. It makes me think of The Simpsons episode where Bart becomes famous for that “I didn’t do it” line, and whenever he tries to branch out, all his fans want is to hear that line, making him a one-trick pony. Because just as people discover some areas of my work, my mind is already set on the next idea. I don’t want to stay at the same level. I’ve already been writing since age 12, why stop at a level just because it’s safe? I could go even higher.

There’s also something bigger to all this: being able to express my voice without limits, and this is what I’m doing. Self-censorship held me back too many times. Being free to just say it makes me feel more… alive.

If you’ve been following my work long enough, chances are you probably found me thanks to my astrology articles, and that was entirely by accident (or not, depending on how you see the universe). If not, maybe you found me through social media, or other projects. The reality is that these are just few of many paths for me, because after all, my tenth house is on the cusp of Gemini, and I wouldn’t be doing my house of reputation correctly unless I was able to confuse people. It isn’t even intentional, and yet at the same time, it might as well be. Years from now, I want people to say, “That’s Karina. And I don’t what she is, but it’s amazing.”

I can’t promise what my next writing pieces will look like, my projects to come (that’s a secret 🤫), but I can promise adventure, creativity, curiosity, as well as interviews with other artists every two Sundays. All I know is the future looks pretty fucking cool.

Karina


To check out my books, social media and more, scroll to the menu. And be sure to watch my short documentary series on the Saturn Return! If you support my work, consider buying me a coffee. If you liked this article, you’ll probably enjoy How Old Were You When You Stopped Smiling in Pictures?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s