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My Art Therapy Journey

Posts tagged recovery

Here comes a confession: I’m not tidy.  It’s funny, I know, but my subconscious works overtime to the extent that I actually can believe that I might be for moments at a time.  But I’ve reached a point, now, where I finally cannot, not for even one single moment, really believe that I am all wrapped up tight in a neat little package.  I know I’m probably the last to find this out, but I’ll be honest with me…I usually am the last to find things out.

I need a Xanax or I need sleep or I need both right now.  Yesterday I slept away an entire drug induced day, which in reality, is probably not much different from many other days I’ve had spent awake.  Things are starting to line up.  Getting cleaned up, it’s tempting to say.

 

I’ve never been one for drugs.  I’ve never been the dependent type.  I’m the one who loves to take shit and turn it into something else, like I’m a human compost or something.  Just give it to me, I’m totally unphased by shit and can turn it into something else.  Art or a poem or something.  Or a shapely body from all the metabolic processes it brings on within me.  I can take on anything! 

So here’s my next confession:  I’m also a liar.  I can’t deal with shit.  I can’t take it on or process it.  I bury it and it goes nowhere.  It does nothing useful and I put on make-up, in various forms, to face the world.  I’m shit-faced, I could maybe say.  I’ve been living my life as an addict.

I’m addicted to the part of not being human, not feelings my feelings or knowing who I really am.

I might have even married my perfect counterpart.

But then….

Shit really started happening and I saw shit.  And I said, “Oh shit!”  And shit hit the fan.

 

Our household has a nicely splattered decor of shit all over in it now.

 

But that’s not the best of it.

The best of it is yet to be revealed.

I’m up to  * here*  in shit.

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It’s not always necessarily a person’s exact fault when life has gone to shit.  It can start at such an early age, the age before choices are really clearly made.  It’s the age of instinct and survival.  The age of not knowing any other way.  Like the age when you shit in your pants and that’s just the way it goes.

 

Then all the sudden you get a knock on the door and holy shit you’re, like, going on 33 years old.

 

“Fuck, you mean the shit is still there?!  ”

 

I’m sorry for the expletives.  I’m blaming it on the drugs (that are helping me breathe) today, but it might be something else tomorrow.  We will all cope in the best (and first) way we know how until there is another way, I suppose.  So judge me if you must.  I might not like it, but it probably won’t make that much of a difference if you do.

 

I have judged myself plenty enough, you can trust me on that one.

 

I’m behind on all of my ceramics assignments.  And what do I say to that, “Shit!”  Yes, it compounds.  It grows.  It does not go away.

So, I’m working on breathing through all this shit.  There are not readily available lessons for this.  I may be swimming in it, but the local “Y” does not seem to back the demand for this type of training.

I am off to the pool of coping which I am surfacing in.

 

Cope cope cope.  Sometimes all that’s left is coping an hoping and keeping the faith that one day, whether subconsciously or not, things will be much better.

 

 

 

 

 

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My therapist told me  he was hoping this can be, even if just kind of, like a mini vacation from all my responsibilities.  (We’ve just been talking in sessions about how I need a break and some space in life ; )  I am always wary of what I wish for!!!   If this is vacation, this is a destination in a little corner of hell I do not foresee myself wanting to visit again anytime.  I would finish that sentence up with “anytime soon.” But I’m sure I’m never going to want to return to this place. EVER.

 

 

 

What you see here (above) is an abstraction of a rather large hematoma (except I don’t know if this was actually a hematoma as I’ve read it described…there was no clotting going on.  It was, in fact, profuse internal bleeding!  I think they called it a hematoma so I wouldn’t die on them on-the-spot.) I acquired as a parting gift from a small surgical procedure I had on Thursday.  A couple little blood vessels called arteries! got loose and had their way with me. It required some quick emergency surgery to round-up and zap the boogers into submission, so I’ve been slightly set back on my spastic project line-up!  I’ve basically been in bed lying low since Thursday evening.

And just a little tidbit I learned: If a doctor ever says to you, “This might feel funny and “tickle” a bit, you can be pretty sure it’s going to hurt like hell.  Surgery with the smallest amount of local possible is not really something I was looking to add  to my toolbox of experiences to express in art!

I was told my risk factor for this experience was, out of 100%…. half of a percent. (.5%).

Clearly, proof that I defy the odds.

Let’s have the next defiance be a little more in my favor, can we?

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I am not a very good mattress dweller.  I’m not supposed to be raising my blood pressure too much for the next week, so I have to stay somewhat detached from all the excitement elsewhere in the house.

But I actually have slept a lot.  Dozing here and there, waking up every once in a while to peruse Pinterest or read an art book or watch an instructional DVD.  And of course, in the evenings, I’m still getting my fix of Breaking Bad!  So it hasn’t actually been all, well…bad.  A mini-vacation after-all, maybe.  Nothing a little Valium can’t complete.

And today I actually found some energy to play around with my new Photoshop App on my iPhone.  I’m not sure if I like it better than Instagram’s  selections, or if I just haven’t figured out how best use different apps  for the effects I want.  I’m definitely in at a pre-K level, doodling and drawing accidental circles and squares and sometimes thinking they’re pretty awesome.

I have NO IDEA what I’m doing!  There is a certain freedom in that, I guess. But the results may be something only a very good mother could love!  Once I’m back on my feet I’m sure I’ll drive myself crazy until I understand all the functions better.

As far as my painting goes…I may be dancing around in the same realm as Photoshop.  I haven’t actually painted in several years.  It used to be my main love.   I’ve actually just come out of a dry spell and if you’re familiar with monsoon seasons, that might give you an idea of where I’m at with my creativity.  It’s coming in humongous downpours, but the drainage system that directs the flow  might not be entirely sufficient. These bursts may lead to some messes before it all starts to sink in and some grass starts to grow and flowers bloom.

I’m just rolling with the journey…(and trying not to totally roll into the sewer, even though I feel pretty poopy at the moment.)  (Forgive me!)   I’m so out-of-sorts.

Luckily, I do have some comfort in the midst of this wild process.  My old cat, Sammy.

Oh, Sammy-Sammers…Old Faithful I call him.  He’s been through the last decade with me through many storms… divorce, loves, breakups, hospital stays, new marriage, new jobs, loss of jobs, new baby and  too many moves to count.

He stays by my side through everything, even when he’s been cast off and lovingly tossed across the room in a  hormonal moment.  He  always, always loves me.  Or at least he loves how warm and cozy I am to snuggle up against…and my pillow.  But whatever, I’m just going to believe that he loves me because I’m just that cool!  (And definitely not just because I feed him well and keep his water bowl fresh.)

So when I went in the basement to paint (and get started on my new painting class which I’m going to go into more detail about one of these days when I’m feeling like I’m actually more in the process of it) it should have come as no surprise to me that he was my eager mascot.  It was just like old times.  Oh, I do love him!  He’s not really a cat to me, even.  I have known for a long time that he is a reincarnated  superhero especially for me.  ; )

Since I’ve been laid up, and since unidentifiable, abstract photos of large hematomas are not all that bloggable (even though I blogged it anyway) I thought I’d share some photos from earlier in the week when I was a lot more “me”, painting in my studio with my faithful friend, Sammy…until I can get back to my more “normal” self…SOON 🙂

Ps. You’ll see I also have a white cat named Jack.  His nickname is Houdini…He slips into the scene every once in a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish that swallowing a multi would fix it all.  It swims down my insides and  bursts into my stomach with a jolt.  A shock…defibrillation. Everyday, the all clear comes…again, again, again.  Dissolving and resolving to resuscitate my cells.  No cell left unturned.  No man for himself.  Scratching out of form into my blood.  Giving into itself.  Singling out no one.  Saving the many lives within me.

 

Am I the only one who ever imagines a vitamin this way?

I am here because the pain is too much.  I participated in the recent routine of watching an episode of Breaking Bad with my husband and opening my mind to sleep, but my body isn’t cooperating.  The pain has been intense today…it has been growing all week.  Growing, growing so fast that I would like to graduate it on out of my body.  But then where would it go?  Into someone else’s body?  Maybe this pain is my way of helping, contributing in a way, to the world.

Maybe I should be able to help it that my body cannibalizes itself.  It scares me.  It stops me in my tracks.  There’s nowhere to go.  But here.  Here to cope.  Here to express.

Therapy of my making.

It does help me.  It helps to get it out.  And I’m ok with it as long as I stay responsible for it.  Responsible for how all this works itself out.

I’ve known a lot of hurting people in my life.  Scary people.  People who took their pain out on me.  And there is a part of me that does understand that now.  Maybe it’s a part of me that my multi-vitamin has reached and has  provided insight.  But mostly, the rest of me still suffers from other’s pain as it attempts healing.

I learned infliction so well though, I think.  So easy to administer…like with a spoon.

I try to make myself better, to stop the pain, and yank the spoon out of my hand.

But the hurting is still there.  It just moves, moving closer and closer to be fed.

It badgers me.

I will starve it.  Starve the pain until finally, even if slowly, it goes away.

Nourishment itself inflicts me.

 

My body tries to speak to me.  I try to listen.

It is hard to listen.

I crave art because it is the safest way to hear.   And the clearest.

I’m working on getting working in art.  It’s taking time, precious time.  Soon though.  It will be soon, and in the meantime, I build.  I create a space for it to live…to just be.

Thinking about this brings me some relief, even as the internal chewing of my flesh continues.

Some days are much better than this.   Some days I don’t hurt like this.  Some days there is relief.

And I will keep swallowing the pill.

Photos from a recent trip to the park…all of my park pictures so far are from the same section of path.

These remind me of bones….

Sadly, I have not been spending many hours trying to figure out Photoshop, or even messing around with Instagram.  BUT, I have been busy working!


Yesterday my “night job” duties (the time after my daughter goes to bed for the night) consisted of painting the basement….because!  Because it’s in the process of transforming into my studio! Yay!

I’m so excited to have a designated place that might be large enough to become a holding place for the art I crave to do.  I have a lot of plans for it, but mostly the plans are open and evolving as I speak.  I think I have an area picked out for metalworking and another corner space picked for painting…

It’s exciting to think about, but for now my most used studio supply is elbow grease!

Speaking of, I better get back to it since my daughter is down for nap and time does not hold back!

 

Some picks from the journey… 🙂

 

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I don’t have a lot of words today.  I guess it’s more about a relationship with where words come from.

Control, Option, Command

Escape

Delete, Enter, Return

Shift, Function, Control

Command, Option

For some reason these keys just connect with me right now.  I took these photos last night, initially by accident, when I was busy editing some other photos.  My iPhone’s camera opened up and staring at me were the “Command / Option” keys on my camera screen….They were/are right where I am.  I went exploring around my keyboard a bit and found there were a lot more clue keys about either where I am…or where I have been… at my fingertips.

Nobody chooses a mental disorder.  If I could pick mine, I probably wouldn’t have the one I have.  And, I really don’t think anyone wakes up in the morning and says, “Hey!  I know what I want for today!  I want to special  order a nightmare of after-effects that are a result of abuse I’ve experienced in my life!”

No, I really don’t think that’s the way it goes.

Because I’ve been thinking lately, “Can we just be done now?”

I have to ride the wave, and sometimes it’s true…the wave is a great adventure.  “Great” is a very subjective term.

And some things about living with the brain altered experience of a formerly abused mind, body and spirit can be subjective too.  Such as, “How will I live this day of madness?”

There is some choice in how I live my days.  Sometimes there is even a lot of choice.  Sometimes making that choice comes with an enormous amount of pain and struggle…but, I don’t think the trouble with making  choices is reserved solely for people with a brain condition or someone living the effects of abuse.  (Although, it can certainly add an extra ounce of oomph to the process!…and at times call for extra support through a qualified and emotionally mature and plain ol’ good-hearted and kind therapist.)

That’s part of why I believe art therapy is such a universal part of living.  Art is so central to the human condition, not just conditions that provoke a person to cut off their ear.

I guess I’m trying to say a lot of things here.  I’m saying sometimes in life there are choices even within the place of no choice…for everyone.

Some days I choose to feel.  Some days I choose to not feel.  But the feelings are always there….I don’t think there’s a lot of choice about that.  Being human is like that.

For a long time I have chosen to not feel.  And for a while I made that choice, even if subconsciously, so I could survive all the feelings swarming around and through me.

I’m entering a new place.  I’d say it’s an in-between place.

There’s not a lot of words to this place yet.  I just hang on to the light and what it reveals…It seems like I am in the process of seeing a lot along my personal journey lately, although I can’t always quite make out what an image is.  Engaging in life through art has been a safe place for me to explore this unknown.

Today…I choose feeling.  I choose life.  I choose hope.  I choose light.

Thankfully, these things are making a home in my chest and not so much my brain.

Today I am brave, which is not always my natural condition, but is just as much part of the human condition as all the rest, none-the-less.

These photos are from a family walk at the park yesterday….

(Click on the image to view in a larger format on your screen.)

Me and my daughter went on another photo-taking extravaganza today, and it’s final…I’m thinking of moving to Instagram.  Because everything is cool in Instagram.  I think my eyes have acquired Instagram lenses.  I think in Instagram.

Now, I know I am a little behind the times.  I know Instagram is probably old news to some people, but I, for one, sometimes find myself in losing battles, lol.  Like…digital photography, for instance.  I took a photography class in 2002 and learned how to do the “real deal” and vowed it was far too amazing of a world to cheapen it with instantcy. (Which I think might only be a word because I just made it be one.)

But now, well…look at me now.

Now, I am not only in favor of digital…but iPhone digital?  And Instagram?  Like a cheap, uneducated version of Photoshop!?  Oh my goodness, I’m sure I’m offending someone right now.  Am I?  Omg. I’d like to make friends here!

Well, anyway, imagine I never offended you (if I’ve offended you) and imagine I just said…”I’m old school.”  Because that’s what I really mean.  I like to get my hands dirty, or in the case of photography…clean.  I like to dip my hands in chemical and feel the rush of it right up into the cells of my brain and then wash it all away with water and watch things transform in my hands.  I probably have some kind of God complex.  Is there such a thing known to exist?  I mean, there is something SO powerfully wonderful about creation.

I’m not saying digital isn’t creation and isn’t wonderful.  It is!  I even want to  live in Instagram, for goodness sake.

I think I’ve said  enough.

Yes, enough.

On with the show!

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(Note: Many of these photos tell a story or have a string of words behind them, so they may reappear at a later date with more to say here.  For now, we’re doing good (and I’m so grateful)  to have the time to get this far!   : )   …But, until I’m back with my stories, feel free to use these photos as prompts for your own! 🙂  (After all, I don’t want to keep my God complex all for myself.)

 

I was sitting, thinking the other day which doesn’t happen very often…sitting.  Of course, I’m sitting here typing now, but it’s a luxury called naptime that also seems to be very short-lived.  I was thinking, wondering how in the world there are so many blogs written by so many women with children…mother artists, mother writers, mother seamstresses, mother crafters and cookers and bakers and sellers of creative wares.

What the heck!?

That’s what I was thinking.  How on earth do they do this and all that too!???

And then I was thinking about my blog and thinking…ok, so I collaborated in making a baby.  Is that not creation enough for a good long while?

Of course, no.  Babies are a whole other topic.  But still…

I feel sick if I’m not  thinking about making, prepping something or flat out creating (my favorite.)

 

I was so sick of sitting there.

So to make myself feel better I got up (even though I’d just had  (minor)surgery less than 48 hours earlier) and started to build me and my husband a bookshelf/dvd/xbox shelf for our bedroom.  The cords have been all over the floor and even though it’s great that it’s been an aid in teaching our 10 month old the meaning of “No cords.” it’s getting a little worn out now!

 

It’s time something be done.

 

Magic Wand...my style

 

And did you know…Home Depot is open on Easter Sunday!

God knows me so well.

And my husband was home to hold the baby while I got down and dirty.

Hopefully, if all the rest follows in my favor I will have a completed project in the next day or two!

But I still am on a mission to figure out how those other mothers get so much accomplished…because my baby just woke up!  How do they do it!???  There will be no time for editing today! (And definitely not photoshop.)

Painting 2 x 4's ...Anything is possible with some 2 x 4's and a little paint...and someone to hold the baby!