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Peaks & Troughs

My overwhelm on Tuesday had Meg see another side to me which she said took time to process and led to some overwhelm for her. Hard not to feel guilty in such circumstances. On Wednesday I applied for a £15 an hour parts delivery driver job in Ely (nearest city to me). I updated my CV/resume and then in the morning I got a call from a job agency. They told me about a job, but it didn't sound great. Not great money, and whilst it was only 20 min drive away, you had to work an 8-1 shift every other Saturday. Sounded shoddy to me. Of course, they try and make it sound good. When they eventually sent the job description to me, it looked shockingly bad. Worse than other jobs I'd done.

Didn't stop there though, I had multiple other job agencies ring me that day. In the end I stopped answering my phone as I was getting overwhelmed. Speaking of overwhelm, I can't really place what days these next things happened, as stress levels have peaked and troughed and I've been struggling.

I picked up my leaflets for my art. A6 size, double sided prints. On side is a scaled down picture of one of my drawings, and the other side is my business card design. The print place asked if they could showcase this as an example of their work on their social media. So this will be good advertising for me. Yesterday I went to Cambridge, posted 50 or so leaflets to a nice area of very expensive houses. Monitored site traffic to see the results. Not a single person visited my site. Waste of time and money perhaps? I have another 450 to deliver to houses, but that left me feeling deflated as I thought it was a good idea.

Neil, the mechanic over the road has a brother, Mark who is a carpenter. He visited a couple of days ago. He loved the van, and said Neil could do the rust and bodywork along with the mechanics. And Mark would be happy to do the woodwork on the conversion. He recommended I get second hand kitchen units, cupboards etc. otherwise I'd end up spending a lot more money getting him to fabricate them himself. He reckoned it'd be 4-5 days labour which is £800-1000 alone in labour. Not sure my funds will hold out that long. He mentioned a farm in the village where a guy had been converting vans. I had a feeling he might've meant Meg's ex. Sure enough when I told Meg she said that was Paul. Now, obviously I know they've split up, I know about their relationship history and why it ended etc etc. So why on earth did it get me down that Mark had mentioned this to me? It's nothing to get upset about. Still, I'd been reading a lot about ADHD overwhelm that day, and one point that was made quite clear and I guess also relates to autism - we can get overwhelmed and upset over seemingly trivial or inconsequential matters.

Yesterday my gazebo arrived. It was huge, and over 35kg. It was so heavy that I immediately became flustered. I unboxed it in the hallway then used the carry case, which had wheels to get it into my dad's workshop to store it. Mum announced it wouldn't fit in my car. True enough. I measured and I'd need to take the front seat out for it to fit. After I'd measured the car, I went into the van to measure. It'd been raining all day - it's what put me off posting more leaflets that morning, because I was literally soaked.

Anyway, I get into the van and see a huge puddle on the overhang. The roof is leaking. The seller lied to me. He said it had no roof leaks. Mind you, he also said it had no corrosion. He also said the engine had no leaks. Well, there's an oil puddle under the van, the roof leaks, and there's rust.

I measured up, and the gazebo bag would fit sideways in the van, so that's something. But it wasn't about that in that moment. Things had kept building and building over this week, and that was the final straw. I got out the van and was going back to the workshop to measure the height of the gazebo bag. But I was about to have a meltdown. My mum was in the conservatory which leads into the garden and asked me what was wrong. I was fuming, and yet I held back, I exclaimed that the seller had F'ing lied to me, that the roof had a leak. Once I started speaking I saw mum was alarmed in both body language and what she said. "Please don't get angry" she pleaded. So I had to bottle it up again, and I went into the garden.

Measured the gazebo bag, came back in and she implored me not to worry. Went to the tip to get rid of all the cardboard from the gazebo. That was about it for that day, other than back and forth emails with the print centre about doing my business cards. I cancelled my order with Vista Print, as I'd rather use and support a local business than using some large online store.

Neil, the mechanic said he could probably look at the oil leak and replace the broken wing mirror next week. However I think it'll all probably wait until 1st September when he's doing the service. Mark said to ask Neil if he'd be happy to do the bodywork, but he said he's the "king of welding" and I'd save at least £1000 by using Neil than going to the bodyshop I'd intended to get a quote from on 30th September. So we'll see what Neil says.

I was honest with mum a few days ago, about how 3/4's of my savings are now gone, and that the van is going to use up the rest. That I'll end up having to get a job again. She told me outright not to get an office job, and to find something part time.

I'm tired of constantly seeing money going out. So far I've made £579 from my art since June. Which sounds alright, but when you consider over £3000 has been spent on investing in the business, it's not great. Plus every sale has been through friends and acquaintances. Sales to the general public? 1 and that was many years ago for a grand total of £50.

I need to see regular sales from these upcoming craft fairs, otherwise I will have to get a job by the end of the year. Hard to not feel like a failure. There's another sticking point which is quite profound - I'm not really enjoying my art. I do it, but it's just "something to be done". Perhaps I shouldn't have mixed business with pleasure.

In the early years I just drew - and I had fun. Then people started saying "you should sell these" and I started to think that's what I should be doing. Then a local art gallery told me how much the pictures were worth (this was backed up by an auction house valuation earlier this year). Initially I was elated. How could my art be worth THAT much? Is it though? If it never sells, does it even have worth? I tried, but I failed to get any sales. My art was mixed with a growing sense of despondency.

In later years other people said "you should get prints made and sell them". Then began the journey of investing hundreds and hundreds on prints, and frames. Next people said "why don't you have a website?" So then I began to look into making a website. It costs me nearly £30 a month and I've paid that subscription for over 2 years - not made a single sale. Do the maths.

Amidst all this people interjected with all sorts of other ideas - whyh not put my art on stickers, badges, cards, posters, stationary, mugs etc.

I'm so exhausted with following other people's ideas. I used to draw because I loved to draw. Now I don't even enjoy drawing anymore.

Tonight I'm driving up to Sheffield to meet Meg. She's spent over a week with her friend Laura who is getting married today I believe. I wasn't invited to the service, or tonights food and drinks gathering. I have been invited to tomorrow's party. This has been the longest that me and Meg have been apart. Laura gets quite overwhelmed and anxious, so Meg being there, plus my recent overwhelms etc. It's hard not to keep adding guilt to all this internal drama I'm going through right now.

Again, it's peaks and troughs. Lows give way to highs. But the fatigue and worries aren't really ever going anywhere. A bit like changing the channel on the TV - it doesn't mean those channels don't exist anymore. So I yo-yo between highs and lows, but there's still always a baseline low that rumbles along in the background.

Tonight's drive is about 2.5 hours each way. Meg is likely to be working in Sheffield in a week or 2. I forget for how long. Then she's off to another job, and then potentially back to Sheffield. Not long basically until we're long distance for the forseeable future. This visit tonight is the last one for a few weeks I think.

Bought a bike lock a few days ago. So I can try cycling to Ely and Cambridge and then drawing in tourist places. Keep mounted prints of some of my art in my rucksack along with my card machine. See if I get people interested and maybe some sales. That and finish up delivering the other 450 leaflets to nice housing areas full of rich people.

Still, if these things don't work, then I'm relying on art/craft fairs. I've got 7 booked for the rest of this year. I need to turn a regular profit from these, otherwise I think I'm going to have to go back to work. Ideally part time only. Again, my mum said not to worry about money, that I'd have a roof over my head and meals provided etc. She said it's my safety net, and I'm grateful for that. I just wish I didn't feel as folorn as I do living at home.

Anyway, working might help when Meg is working far away from me. Something to keep me pre-occupied. I keep as busy as I can with my art and business stuff during the week. Continued fatigue and burnouts and overwhelm is making it hard to feel like I'm utilising my time as well as I could. But being harsh on myself isn't going to help anything. I just need to start seeing a regular income from what I do, otherwise my art will end up having to be a side gig, that turns extra money rather than being my main source of income.

I guess now isn't really the time either, because this energy and cost of living crisis in UK is meaning a lot of people are a lot poorer. Who has money to spend on art? I keep looking at other people, what they sell their work for etc. It's hard when my biggest, and what I consider my best pieces have just sat collecting dust for years. One sale to a friend in Australia - it was my first and only sale where I asked for a price which I felt was what the picture was worth - £222 for an A4 picture. The original A4 that I sent to Cornwall this week was done for £100. I was to receive the money next time I saw Rohan, but Meg kindly offered to send me the money and then get the £100 off Rohan when she next saw him. This humbled me. Meg is lovely.

Today I have the dentist. I hope more than ever that this is a routine checkup and he says I don't need anymore work. Mind you, I do need this temp filling replaced. It's a buckle filling on the side of my tooth. It's fallen out twice before, and something needs doing. I recall him saying it'd probably need root canal and a crown which means another £1000 that I can't afford to lose will be lost.

We shall see I guess.

I really hate money worries. I feel like I need to catch a break. Things haven't been running smoothly in so many areas and the fatigue and stress builds and builds.

Still, I haven't resorted to smoking weed, so that's good. Plus I think this is day 4 now. Come next week I think the worst of the cravings will be over. Plus I'm dropping the last of my bud off to Meg tonight, so I won't have any weed in the house after that.

I need a dog.



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