I Can Keep Going was drawn by Robert (19) with writing by Michelle (12).
What stands out in this piece for me is the brick wall on the shoulders of the largest figure. We are feeling a lot of pressure right now.
I like how Michelle processes things: This is how I feel. This is the reality. This is supporting truth.
I've not been suicidal but life has felt like a burden, emotionally and physically painful. Several factors played into not getting enough sleep so that was a problem, too. Each day is a struggle that feels like a losing battle but the reality is I've made progress and I'm moving forward in many healthier ways. I slip up, like the other day with self harm, but I also put in place safety plans and try to find ways to help myself. Lavender in the nose and on my feet has helped tremendously, so has the art sketchbook. It feels like a losing battle but it is not. I know I can keep going, and I will.
The art piece was created in watercolor and is 7.5 x 10 inches on 98lb paper.
Cruel Words was painted by several of us. What strikes me is how affected I was by the suicide of the CNA's friend.
In the drawing there are heads blown off the people in the trees. That's a first for drawings and hopefully the last. I know the kids inside were very affected by the suicide. Having her cry in our arms that way was very heavy.
I fired my regular CNA who had cruel words for me. Anxiety is already high for us, we don't need to worry about the mouth of our CNA and what she will say that'll hurt.
The grumpy CNA is pregnant with three weeks left. It is entirely possible that her change of attitude is purely hormonal, however, the irritability and weariness she caused couldn't be tolerated. It is also true that I can't justify asking an 8 month pregnant woman to lift my wheelchair and take me to the doctor. I feel horrible asking her to do my laundry or run the sweeper. The girl is tired and irritable! Dang!!!
I like her but the change in her isn't safe for my personal issues, ya know? I talked to her about why I fired her and she said she knows she's hormonal and understands. I even told her it's about time to take maternity leave because she can't be at my house when her water breaks. lol. I can't handle that. I don't know nothin about birthin no babies.
Firing my CNA was the right thing to do. I was walking on eggshells in my own home and that can't be. So, on to the next chapter in the CNA Saga.
The art piece was created in watercolor and is 7.5 x 10 inches on 98 lb paper.
My neighbor has Schizophrenia. A different neighbor says it's not a mental illness but that he has demons. She inaccurately applied Scripture, which I quickly corrected, but its still on my mind and still bothers me.
She has no idea what comments like that do to a person with a mental illness. Though I corrected her, its not my job nor is it my desire to be the grand educator. I don't want to sit down the ignorant and set them straight, I just want to fight my battle without their words spinning in my universe.
When she said he has demons I thought to myself, she should never find out that I have Multiple Personality Disorder! That for sure would make her think I have Legions of demons in me.
When younger my mother used to tell me that my demons were upsetting her. My mother knew I had DID when I was at least a young teenager. She knew Morton by name and called him a demon. She said I'm possessed because of being a bad person. That too has stayed with me. I fight with the thought, that I'm a bad person, but I no longer fight the fear of having demons. My mother's reason for saying it wasn't ignorant beliefs it was cruelty and abuse. My sister knew I had others, too. She used to call out a young one to play. I don't know if she still remembers that or not.
You know, I got to thinking, mental illness isn't for the weak or ignorant. A person with a mental illness has to be one of the strongest people around because we have to fight tooth and nail just to keep our head above water. Then you add life events with it and you've got yourself one serious storm. We are not weak for having a mental illness, not even close.
The drawings included were created in the last few days as a way to survive myself.
Today is one of those days where I feel the weight of what happened in the hospital. I feel shocked, stunned, grieved. I can only describe it as a train wreck where I can still hear the sound of metal crumbling around me. What I feel today must be what I was feeling when I drew and painted in this image with the caption: There's more to do. I'm not strong enough.
We went over the image in therapy and talked about the butterflies included and how they symbolize transformation. Also significant is the green under the eyes which I used to stand for goals of growth and keeping focused on them. Despite that focus there's dissociation (figures in the tree) to fight as well as feelings of trauma and grief symbolized by the hanging figure between the eyes. Hanging on is my main focus. It's what's between my eyes. No matter what, just hang on. That's what I think the girl in the middle is doing.
I look at the color of the dress of the girl hanging on and realize it 'should be' a shade of red, however, it is orange paint that drips into red. In my art therapy pieces, orange symbolizes ambiguity, mixed emotions, indecision. Then of course there's the spiral in the throat. I started that about a year ago when it became very difficult for me to verbalize my feelings. As if through a hole in my neck, the words escaped me.
Recently I've felt like an idiot trying to talk, so I just didn't. I didn't email or write on this blog for a number of days (never a good thing for me). I just got quiet. Today I feel better equipped to put two words together but I also feel worn thin by it all.
Tomorrow is another much needed therapy session. Like every Monday, it's over the phone. However, I'll be going in to his office every other Friday to see him. In the Friday sessions, Michelle will get dedicated time where she'll talk about her own art and issues. The goal is for her to do some healing, too.
In the hospital I felt guilty for putting my friends through worry for me. I felt bad that they worried for five long months, especially around surgeries. When things would get harry I felt horrible for putting people through tears and worry.
In this art piece that expresses the guilt, I put hanging people on the shoulders of a figure standing behind a smaller faceless figure. Both figures have an amputated foot with darkened skin around the amputation site. The figure with the sunflower crown is holding a star in her left hand.
In the hospital I worried that the doctors would realize that they were putting forth a lot of effort for a nobody, and when they found out they'd stop caring for me. This piece expresses the issue of low self worth.
The painting shows a split face which is typical in my art anymore. It shows two faceless figures and a large sunflower at the bottom. Also of note is the yellow hair and orange face of the faceless figure with spike hair. Again, yellow symbolizes disgusting things and there were plenty of gross things in the hospital. For her hair to be yellow is very significant for me.
Both works were created after the amputation and are in watercolor and ink.
The painting above, where I express myself as No One is interesting to me since I had an alter named No One who always painted herself as faceless. That alter changed her name to Jordan and is interestingly enough, the main personality in the group. She is in affect, my face.
The No One painting is also the inspiration for art where there are two faces as opposed to just a split face. I've been doing that in art therapy a lot lately. Dr. D and I talked about that last Friday.
Finding artwork created by alter personalities used to happen quite a bit. I thought it was strictly a thing of the past but I guess I was wrong. It would seem that I still find art I don't know a thing about. I was quite shocked to see the piece called My Sister in the middle of the entry Half of Us and All. That piece is by Michelle and I have no recollection of it. I was relieved to see it though because I thought the only thing I am no capable of is abstract images in black and white. I thought I was all arted out or something. So when I saw her drawing and several of Robert's drawings, I was quite pleased that we've still got some art images in us to put on paper. I'm not going to press it though. If all I can do is put ink on paper from corner to corner like in this entry then so be it. If other times I paint or draw something more 'substantial' then that's fine, too.
Dr. D and I talked about my creative goals for next year. My goal is simple which means its going to be difficult. My goal is to have some fun, just let it be. That's what I intend to do. I'm not going to force myself to create anything. I'm not going to nag myself or get down on myself. I create what I create. I paint what I paint.
I am also in a newer financial situation. For the first time in about ten years its not imperative that I sell art each month. My rent is affordable now.
Though I no longer get government assistance with food, I am at least able to budget the same amount I used to get so that my food purchases don't need to change just because the money source did. Well, I shouldn't say I don't get foodstamps any longer. I get $15.00 each month for food from the government. I look at that number and just laugh. How did they come to that amount? I knew with rent so low I'd lose quite a few foodstamps but $15 is insulting. Even so, things are much easier now, financially speaking. Things got bad for a minute there.
Dr. D wanted to know if the subject matter of my art will change with stresses lower and with my goal of fun in mind. No. I doubt it. My art changes when something emotional happens in my life. The subject of my art changes when an alter paints instead of me or that alter is in therapy. Michelle (age 12) is taking some of the time for her stuff our in office sessions. Robert used to do that but hasn't since we got sick last time. He's sort of in a managerial position inside and is doing his very best to keep us all on the same page with things running smoothly. He's busy keeping us sane, taking meds and dealing with CNA stuff. I'm happy to see he's sketching and painting in the book. I'll scan that next week. For now I just have black and white ink work which is art worked on by several of us. I have no intention of adding color.
This goal of creative fun is of interest to me because it comes at the tail end the honeymoon of my post hospitalization. I can tell I'm still very shocked and traumatized by what happened so it interests me that I would say I just want to have some fun. I don't want to worry about producing something worthy of showing on the blog. I want the weight of my own criticism and expectations to no longer crush my creative process and enjoyment. I want to go with the flow more. I don't want to see this as my job. Yeah, it is my job. I paint and sell my artwork and dolls. This is my employment, but never should I burden myself or load myself with unreachable expectations. So, lets see what stress I can throw off in 2019. Lets see if I can allow myself to have some creative fun.
Because my plate is full and I'm a bit overwhelmed with life, I've only set the one creative goal for 2019. I usually do three but not for the coming year.
I've been finishing work in my books. I set a goal this year to finish work I started but there was an interruption that put me behind. I decided after I got out of the hospital to pick up where I left off with finishing work. Here is one of the key pieces I wanted to work on. It's a story line about my aunt's life and the affect she had on mine.
For a long time I thought to myself, I'm all out of art. I've got nothing creative left. I just scribble and block in the shapes with color. But after looking at these blocks of color I have to say, this is art, and I like it.
I started off drawing with a black gel pen then used watercolor. This particular piece was created to work with a new watercolor set of mine. I really liked how it turned out and love the watercolor set.
Below is a combination of Windsor Newton watercolors and a generic brand that I purchased. The generic brand has some colors that I really love that WN left out, so, I used both sets quite often.
I still use my bed at times as an art studio but somehow I've managed not to get any paint on my bed. Lets hope I can keep up the cleanliness.