Safety Plan for Chronic Pain 1

This entry sparking from a comment on the entry Managing My Raynaud’s Symptoms. The purple ribbon is a symbol for Lupus so I tend to refer kits and such as a purple kit or purple pack. Orange is the ribbon for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

For years I’ve been treated for chronic pain as well as the depression and despair that comes with a chronic illness. I may not have known the correct name of the chronic illness but I knew I needed a safety plan.

Pain levels
At the time my pain rises too high, the world stops right then and there and I go into safety mode because I run a real risk of killing myself. First off, my baseline is an eight. I can manage a level 8 without losing my mind but an 8.5 or higher puts my life at risk. I want to avoid that. I want to handle things before I reach that point.

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Safety Plan for Chronic Pain 2

Part Two

Gradual Pain Increase
This pain is different and it’s going to last for awhile and I know it. Immediately I’m angry because I’m about to hit a 9 and stay for a long time, hours to days. It’s going to be a very long time. This safety plan is a bit different. For one thing, my attitude is different, I’m angry! I’m about to do this AGAIN! This is crap. I’m slamming stuff, just mad….but I realize I have to act faster than the pain level rises or I’m in real trouble.

I first locate the written safety plan print out which outlines what I need to get through this time. The list is altered a bit right here. It looks long but keep in mind this is primarily a check list, because most of these things are already in the same area.

  1. Get your purple pack out – hat, compression socks, arm compressions, wrist braces, neck brace, hat, small heating pads, aromatherapy items, etc
  2. Telephone – get the phone and the charger. You need to look at the numbers in the Purple category, these are the people you can call 24 hours a day when you’re in this state.
  3. Start up heated blanket set to low with gradual heat increase. The blanket automatically goes off after 10 hours.
  4. Locate smaller pillows to help elevate pressure point pain.
  5. Get drinking water and get hot tea in your spill proof cups.
  6. Pull the small trash can over.
  7. Tablet –  get tablet with charger and readily available music videos and movies
  8. Locate your sand bag which goes over your legs to decrease pain.
  9. Grabber – get the grabber, you’re gonna drop something and it’s gonna roll.
  10. Art supplies – these supplies are smaller but work well for my bed desk.

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Art Tearing Out

The first time I remember nearly losing my mind over art was in the year 2000. I settled into a nice apartment with a woodland name and set up an area to paint. There was an image in my head that needed to be painted, but I wasn’t ready to let it go. I kept holding it in until I had what I needed to put it down in paint.

I’ve been going to the same Hobby lobby since 1999, here in Indy. They knew me as the artist who would pace the canvas isle searching for the right size. Sometimes I’d find it but it wasn’t time to put it on canvas so I’d wander over to the paint section and choose something just right.

The art felt like it was boiling inside me, just swirling and rolling around. It was bliss and burden put together. But that was the point, I didn’t want that art piece on canvas until it broke out of me.

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The Silent Loud One

Ariel Knew it Would Rain - SOLD

Ariel Knew it Would Rain – SOLD

I did not expect this painting to ever be chosen, to be taken home. I couldn’t believe when I got the email telling me of the sale for “Ariel Knew it Would Rain.”

She’s art that’s difficult to look at because, though she is silent, her face tells you everything. What use does one have for a few words when they are the picture worth a thousand? I’m amazed and touched that she was purchased, and humbled too.

Sometimes I am so raw with my art. It is clear I’m not a happy camper. It’s clear the painting came from pain. When I do that I worry about saying exactly what the painting was about but recently I’ve taken more risks and just saying, hey, this is what I was thinking, this is what I felt before, during and after. It’s a risk I’ll continue to take because with art my voice is most authentic.


The sky did not fall

I had a dream about a woman I used to know, someone I traded a whole lot to be with. That was 9  years of strangeness and emotions so strong that each touch was like being bashed with a brick. Well, in the dream she’d lost her mind. She had an 80’s hair cut like Cindy Lauper, it was bleach blond. She was wearing some sort of strange all black outfit and had these pin buttons all over her clothes that said, I voted. They were on her shirt and skirt. I voted.

My car had broken down and I needed a ride home. She was there for a support group meeting. She didn’t want me to see her. I said hello anyway but I thought, this girl has lost her mind.

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Post Therapy Entry (devils, dogs, masters)

That entry was kind of rough…shesh, but so was therapy and so is the reality of it all.

I was exhausted after therapy and after writing the entry so I went to sleep. The phone woke me, it was Betty telling me she’ll be here tomorrow. I was to go back to sleep after that but I never did.

I’ve read that entry no less than 10 times and it still feels surreal. I said some strong things. I didn’t pull any punches, but I’m not taking a word of it back.

There’s one last thing about therapy on Monday. There was one last secret to tell, something I couldn’t bring myself to say in all my years of therapy. I was trained not to, specifically told what to say, how to say it and to turn it around on the person who might ask about it. It was the one thing since I was maybe in the 3rd grade that was never, ever to be spoken of in any terms other than what was given to me. But today I said it and then cried….. It was that one piece of my mother that wasn’t perfect………. saying it didn’t feel like betrayal……….it felt like pain for my mother…..but that’s hard to explain and it’s too late to go in to it. I have to be up tomorrow morning, this morning.


Therapy Review: Devils, Dogs and Masters

I’ve heard of this business only because its on my sisters Facebook. I thought it was further away but today my cab passed it on the way to therapy. On the way back home we passed my aunts work place. I didn’t expect any of this.

When I saw my sister’s work place I wanted to stop and go inside but I didn’t. It was a fleeting desire quickly tossed in the garbage. You don’t drop in on a person’s work place when that person hates you. I would cross boundaries if I walked in my sister’s work place unannounced. She might be left wondering when I’d do it again. She might feel like I’ve ….I can’t remember the word. ..but I know it would be very triggering for her if I were to walk in like that. I would feel the same. My thoughts aren’t clear right now……

I remember when Pope John Paul died and I saw people standing out in the courtyard staring up at the light in his bedroom waiting for it to go out. The light being extinguished meant he was dead. That’s what I see when I think of me waiting for my grandmother to die. I’m standing on cold marble waiting for the Matriarch of our family to take her last breath. Many people believe the Pope is a holy man. Even if they argue his religious stance they at least recognize the amount of influence he has over the lives of others and in politics. For many of his followers, his word goes. I put my mother’s mother in that same light. My grandmother ruled, period. No matter the crimes committed by her, she still ruled and no one dare truly cross her because there was too much to lose in doing so. So she stands as a god-like figure in this family and I stand in the courtyard waiting to see that light go out.

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Art Out

watercolor-set Going to therapy is a very long day. It’s 3 hours round trip which is a lot on this body. I bring a lunch in a compact container as well as a small bag of medical needs. Since my anxiety has been very high I started bringing a small sketch pad with pens and stuff. I need to do something with my hands to work out the anxiety. When it was warmer I could go on the lawn and wait for the cab to return. I’d have a picnic style lunch.

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Tell them what I see

From the painting " Smirk"The most important part of my paintings are the eyes. When doing figurative work, the first stroke is the left eye. I grow from there. Often I get stuck looking at them as I paint. I get lost in them as if I’m drawing what those eyes are seeing.

I’m going to take a look at the painting “Smirk” which strongly carries the Sundrip signature but with a bit more outward anger. When I look at the eyes they’re a bit frightening, but the Smirk - Availablelonger I study this piece the more I see double.

The eyes separate two dimensions, two realities. There’s one in front and one behind the eyes. What’s in front of his eyes is bold, full and fluid. What’s in his head is tighter at the top and almost a river at the bottom by the lips. I have yet to decide if the orange circle at the bottom is the sun setting on the old to bring in the new. I know one thing, I keep looking at the eyes, just as when I painted it.

A painting with a totally different feel was also started by drawing first the left eye and growing. Just below we see the eyes of a woman who appears tired. Her eyes are well defined. They aren’t surrounded by images on the face or going in different directions like in “Smirk”. I look at the eyes of “Seeking Annie” and see longing, even sadness.

What does she see in her mind?…. Whom does she seek?

From the painting "Seeking Annie"

Who is Annie? …..  Is she Annie?

Seeking Annie

Please visit the Featured Art Gallery to see what reflects from the eyes of Sundrip paintings. When you’re in the gallery, click an image to view first the name of the painting, then a little lower you’ll see all the information associated with the art. As always, I accept PayPal and offer these paintings in my Etsy shop. Please contact me with any questions you may have.

Thank you for visiting SUNDRIP – Art for Life. I hope you come often.


Managing My Raynaud’s Symptoms

I hate Raynaud’s. Raynaud’s is one of those tag along syndromes of chronic illnesses such as Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CRSD, and Fibromyalgia. My hands and toes get so cold it feels as though they’re frost bitten. The day I knew my life sucked was when I had a hot flash during a Raynaud’s flare. My hands and feet were so cold but the rest of me was hot. I was like, kill me now! lol

I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of this syndrome, I want to focus on the outlook I was given and the one I currently hold. What I’ve been told is there’s nothing I can do but wait it out. I’ve been told it’s something I must endure and accept. I hate it when doctors tell me that. There is something I can do. There are things to help me through the flare, but I had to look for them. The tips I have are from others with this issue. I tried them at my own risk. A doctor didn’t instruct me to do these things. But desperation makes people take risks, doesn’t it? The risks I took were slight and they work for me. That’s what this entry is about, what works for me.

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