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Content: Anxiety. No self harm. Fill in CNA's friend committed suicide. Regular CNA troubles.

The day has been mostly good but with a lot of anxiety. We seemed to manage it better though. There was an instance when we wanted to cut but Michelle said rather quietly, "May I have some lavender?" We promptly put it in our nose and on our feet to help relax us immediately. I was so pleased she asked for assistance.

Here's some of her artwork throughout the entry.

My regular CNA is on holiday vacation which means I've had a fill in for two days. The first day went fine but today the fill in CNA checked her Facebook status and found out one of her friends killed himself. She lost it right here so I held her while she cried. She left in tears an hour after arriving. I can only shake my head at the amount of drama brought in this house by CNA's. It's not her fault her friend killed himself but dang, I should not hold my CNA like a child while she weeps, but I did.

Tomorrow my regular CNA returns and she's going to be rather upset with me because I spoke to her supervisor about some of the things she's been saying to me that are totally out of line. I talked to her about being on time and she told me if I didn't like her showing up late I could get someone else. (Sigh) I told her she was 20 min late to her shift and it mattered especially since she doesn't stay to make up that time. She said, I was here at 9 am but I stayed in the car to eat my breakfast. (Sigh)

The other day she told me my meal smelled bad. She said, "This stinks!" Then when she was putting Miracle Whip on my sandwich she told me her family doesn't eat Miracle Whip and that it "stinks!" (Sigh) I talked to her supervisor. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring but that's okay because today isn't over and today is half way decent. Despite holding a sobbing, pregnant, fill-in CNA whose friend killed himself, despite interrupted sleep, I've had a decent day. I think the best thing is knowing that Michelle is aware that she can ask for help when she needs it.

I've got enough lavender to last until the end of the month, then I'll hit up Amazon for a large bottle of it.

I wonder why CBD oil doesn't work for my anxiety? I've switched from Medical Marijuana (MMJ) to CBD oil and CBD isolate but they do nothing, zero, zip, for anxiety. I don't think the MMJ did much for my anxiety either. It helped with pain but it didn't do much for Michelle.

I've sipped tea, let Michelle paint and have done some relaxation techniques to manage the symptoms. Right now the anxiety is pretty high so I'm going to get off here and put some lavender in my nose and on my feet. Time to sip some tea and maybe do a little reading. I've still got a few hours left in this day and I plan to survive them well. I think I'll make a sandwich, a large, stinky sandwich.

Jordan

1

I've been struggling so much with anxiety associated with flashbacks and memories. Lately my dreams have been horrible. Everything from rape to my sister being stabbed violently over and over again. There have been medical flashbacks, too, where I wake and think I'm in the hospital still.

Last Wednesday there was self harm, which my therapist is aware of. He never freaks out about it. As a matter of fact he shows so little concern it's not even funny. He asked me no questions about if I'm safe or not. He just asked what was going on inside that was so big that I began to self harm. I can't remember how he phrased it but we moved on from it rather quickly.

Dr. D says that whatever Michelle remembers is what's causing her anxiety and the flashbacks. So here I am awake right now, nervous, rocking, full of despair. I don't know what to do with her or for her but evidently she and Dr. D are going to work on some things.

I'm not suicidal at all. It's just that the anxiety and despair get so heavy I can't tolerate it and self harm comes to mind.

It's nearly midnight and I'm still awake. I should sleep but I just found out my grandmother is dead. I wrote a very angry post that I feel half way bad about and half way like I should just leave it up.....maybe set it to private or something like that cause it isn't in the least bit Christian saying she should be dead. I don't know........ I think it figures that I wasn't contacted about it. I wasn't contacted about my brother's death either. They just let me find out on the net just like her and everyone else who has died. Let me look it up. Forget it. It's too late to think about that right now.

I don't want to sleep, not with the dreams I've been having.

I have a Schizophrenic neighbor who isn't helping matters much. He keeps screaming all day and night. They're in the very sad process of evicting him. I hate that but I need a break, just a few hours without hearing him scream, "F**k you. F**k you. I'm gonna f**king kill you." This is what I've been listening to for days on end and I'm certain it's now affecting me. He bangs on the walls, sounds like he's dropping a bowling ball on the floor and just keeps on screaming his head off. Then he turns his music on really, really loud but he can be heard screaming even over the music. I want it to stop. I want him to feel better. I feel very bad for his situation but man do I need a rest from the screaming.....as does he. He's been evicted. I wonder where he'll go. I hope wherever it is they make sure he's taking his medication cause on his own he's in terrible shape.....as are his neighbors.

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Thirteen years I walked past my therapist's Christmas Cactus and never thought to ask for a start until now. 

The three spider plant starts from the surgeon are growing like weeds. They were so tiny when I got them.

I snagged a start from the hospital's bed of pathos. It's being rooted in the fish tank with the Betta fish I had when I was in the nursing home. 

I wish all these plants could go in one planter but they have different requirements.

Spider plant, Christmas Cactus, Pathos, Dumbcane, large Peace Lilly. These are my memory plants. 

Why on earth would I wish to remember one of the worst things I've ever been through? Because it has changed who I am. It's changed me for the better and the worse, with the hope of good coming out on top.

Today in therapy we talked about how I have a fear that I'm going to just drop dead. That my health isn't reliable and there's no sense in putting forth effort when I may throw a blood clot and die. I hope such morbid fears will subside in time. I'm counting on it. I'm counting on growing right along beside the green leaves that fill my apartment. 

.........A visitor asked if I'm trying to make a paradise out of my home. The answer is yes. 

Jordan

3

Not Strong Enough fma

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.

Faith

1

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.

black white african fma Sundrip

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. 

Jordan

5

Half of Us

In therapy we talked about the unfinished image "Both of Us", drawn by Robert over a two day period. We spent a lot of time on it because it drew us into a discussion about being co-conscious and more integrated.  My emotions are more integrated and more identifiable.

I showed him 4 drawings total. Three of the drawings were done by Robert. When Robert draws himself in work, it is important to him for Dr. D to see the image of Robert. He doesn't want to be overlooked or looked through. To be ignored and overlooked is painful for anyone. 

We talked about the colors and why I use certain colors. We talked about how different it is that Robert used yellow on the face in his drawing. We don't do yellow at all. Hate yellow. Of course he asked why and I just told him. My mother's mattress had yellow flowers on it. There were too many times I had my face buried in that yellow and that's all I could see. I hate that color to touch me now. I use it in art to mean negative things. For it to touch his face tells me there's some sort of guilt or maybe flashbacks that he is dealing with. Yellow in art is explained on my art therapy page. It's also interesting that the pants worn by the girl in the upper left corner is wearing yellow pants. This just doesn't happen, not even in art. 

My Sister by Michelle

The image to the side was drawn by Michelle in pencil. Dr. D noted that the people are in typical fashion from what I used to draw.  He says the people have a look of despair and trauma on their faces. It's funny, I don't set out to make my images look this way. I just start drawing what I feel. I think its the same for others inside. Everyone just draws what they feel. The painting or coloring in is according to our color chart that we've had for who knows how long. 

We discussed how it feels to have a 12 year old alter around who doesn't want to be called anything but her own name and doesn't want to be mistaken for Faith.

Dr. D called Michelle the last hold out, then laughed. Yeah. Everyone else is on board with knowing and understanding what it means to have DID. We know how we got here and why we have DID but this one kid ain't havin' it. She can't accept that she is not separate. She hasn't yet learned that what she does affects the rest of us and what we do affects her. We're a system..... We take care of each other.

She wants her own sketchbook but we won't let her do it. She draws and paints in the community book just like everyone else. 

There's guilt associated with 'causing' us to feel anxious whenever she's around. Her anxiety is always very, very high.  

Speaking of high, Dr. D and I discussed differences in artwork when I'm high. He asked if there's a difference in noise level in my head when I'm high. Yes. I can hear the alter personalities clearer so it feels louder at times with pot, but there's also a calm that covers us all. It works out well if I eat it. I had it in hot chocolate the other day. Turns out that homemade honey cake with weed is pretty good. That one was new for me.

Last but not least, Michelle got her snails in the mail today. How totally cool is that! All the way from Greece! She keeps saying, I would have been happy even if they'd been from across the street but no one had snails that they were selling locally.  I think it's totally cool that they're from Greece. It just sort of happened that way and I'm glad it did.

Jordan 

Girl Inside

Art by: Faith Magdalene Austin
Art Title: Girl Inside
Media: Watercolor and Acrylic on 98 lb paper
Style: Raw, African Americana, Folk Art, Black Art
Finish: Sealed, signed,

Here's a close up look at this very emotional piece of a girl with someone else inside.

SUNDRIP - Art for Life
www.sundrip.etsy.com

Robert was going to allow the CNA from Zambia to return for a set period of time to see if we could overcome our fears, however, an opportunity to speak arose and we took it. I'm relieved to say that the woman who triggers us will not be returning.

It was difficult to tell them she can't come back because it feels like a failure on my part. But yet again, I can't get over it. I was beating myself up with guilt. It feels bad that I need yet another accommodation bc of my PTSD, but not as bad as letting her come here. ...continue reading "Speaking Up."

1

Dr. D and I talked about the CNA that showed up today who was absolutely perfect. It went so well I had to call the supervisor to tell her so. That's when I found out I don't get to keep her but for one more visit. I hate that. The CNA and I also did some much needed organizing of the walk in closet. I so needed that help. You know what she did that felt so good? When it came time for me to soak my foot, she got a wash cloth then got real close to my foot and asked if I wanted her to wash the amputation site. She didn't act disgusted at all. I needed that. I really, really needed that. I didn't let her do it, but the gesture was healing. ...continue reading "Therapy Review: CNA. Butchery. DID."

4

"The Unseen" is a painting by my 12 year old alter named Michelle who has been out quite a bit lately. She's doing therapy with Dr. D right now so there will surely be more art from her displayed on the blog.

The art piece was started by layering paint then smearing ink until she found an image she wanted to pull.

She prefers the 'dirty art' look and doesn't pay attention to if it's considered pretty. She layers faces and shadows, piling them one on the other in burnt orange, turquoise, black and a bit of white. There is also a large bird and an abstract tree that roots from the head of the main face.

Title: The Unseen (original art)
Art by: Faith Magdalene Austin
Media: Acrylic, ink on paper
Size: 7 x 10
Finish: Signed, heat sealed, unmounted
Style: Abstract Surreal

I was recently asked why I don't do larger art. I still do most creating, including this piece and small sewing projects, while in bed. My mattress is covered well so as not to look like a painters pallet. I've also got a nice little sewing box. Because so much time is spent in bed, I won't be able to complete large art projects. It's one of the things I had to accept awhile back. I do what I am capable of doing which means a lot is done in a way that accommodates Lupus and CRSD symptoms.

Even though my dog Clyde is on the bed with me as I paint, to date he has not been splattered with paint. He remains brown and white. 🙂

Sir Clyde Austin Dreams of Light

The original painting called, "The Unseen" is available through Etsy or PayPal.

Faith

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