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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

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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

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. 

Guilt fma

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. 

Nobody fma

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. 

Faith

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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 

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.

She Sings, from the journal entry called Wide.

Mouth Wide Open - She Sings

She Sings

fma

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

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The problem with going to the hospital is that I was just there! I mean seriously, are they keeping a room open just for me now?

Yeah, I'm delaying. I'm trying to enjoy a few more moments outside the hospital. I just want a little more time b4 needles, prodding and more medications. It's been months since someone asked that intrusive question, "When is the last time your bowels moved?" Every dang day they asked me that. I know I was on some serious pain killers that could shut down my bowel, but the question is intrusive. There is no such thing as privacy in the hospital. No quiet. Just sickness. Depressing.

My left leg is very painful. I try to ignore it and do other things. My breathing isn't normal. All I can do is shake my head.

Here we go again. That's what I keep thinking, here we go again! I don't want to.

Tomorrow I see Dr D in his office. I want to see him b4 I go in just in case I'm in for more than a few days.

I worry about losing my pets again.

I'm discouraged.

I'll have my phone with me.

Faith

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."

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