For the interim show, I decided to take my practice further from the previous unit, of which i made an animation of my drawings, produced under circumstances, where i force my self to try and stop counteractions of negative thoughts. This private exercise was and extension of an exercise my Psychiatrist practices with me, called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This is where one is forced to face their anxieties, in order to get over them. Otherwise one just continue to ignore them, and in my case, make counteractions in my mind constantly to override any negative though from being processed.
I took this exercise, and made work whilst practising it. What i produced was almost a reaction to my counteractive thoughts.
Below is a statement i included with this Interim performance –
Mainstream cognitive behavioural therapy assumes that changing maladaptive thinking leads to change in affect and behaviour. CBT techniques help individuals challenge their thought patterns and beliefs and replace errors in thinking such as over-generalizing, minimising positives, magnifying negatives and catastrophizing with more realistic and effective thoughts, thus decreasing emotional distress and self-defeating behaviour or to take a more open, mindful, and aware posture toward them so as to diminish their impact. Mainstream CBT helps individuals replace “maladaptive coping skills, cognitions, emotions and behaviours with more adaptive ones”, by challenging an individual’s way of thinking and the way that he/she reacts to certain habits or behaviours.
I go through stages/episodes of producing a body of work in private. Its a form of cognitive behavioural therapy. I’m forced to face my anxieties and “irrational” thoughts in order for me to get over them. My severe obsessive compulsive disorder means i constantly am arguing with any unwanted thoughts, i have learnt how to keep them out. I do this by constantly having a loop of counteractions in my head to prevent any negative thought from manifesting itself. “This will not happen, that is not going to happen, every things all right, no, he will not die, i will not commit, healthy, happy, clean, clear, it’s ok, physio, hospital” is an example of what is running through my head every second of the day no matter what I’m doing or where i go. I’ve learnt how to talk whilst having this loop of thought running through my mind. Its been like this for years. Its become normal.
In this performance, I’m forcing myself to re-encounter negative thoughts, to force my self to feel uncomfortable by trying to stop this loop i constantly play in my mind, and to let the thoughts i don’t normally let in, in. I break the pattern of avoidance and increase the process of dissipating the strong emotions that have yet to “run the natural course of recovery” in efforts to clarify and modify my maladaptive beliefs.
It’s not a pleasant experience, what i make in this room, It’s a reaction to me no longer counteracting negative thoughts. I have to force my self to stay and i repeat images over and over again on top of one another, it doesn’t matter what I draw on, its about continuos out poor of my unconscious. Its about the energy. Almost as though I’m unaware of whats going on. The work genuinely surprises me when I’m finished. It makes me extremely uncomfortable when I’m in this flow. It forces me to not listen to it.