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All "what if" roads lead to nowhere. 

I decided to draw a little line drawing with my funky triple lead colored pencils to depict all those "what if" roads I've been going down. It's not a great photo but the idea is there. It's a drawing of roads going everywhere, fast.

What if I die in my sleep? What if I only get a few months more? What if the doctor is wrong and they somehow save me again? What if I live with this and Lupus for a really long time? What if I defy the odds, again? What if I don't? 

All what if roads lead to nowhere. I figure when I start obsessing again that I'll pull out the paints or pencils and do a "what if" line drawing. This is my second. It's helpful to put it on paper and get it out of my head. 

Jordan 

Dr. D and I discussed the possibility of me painting almost daily at set times. This would allow me to know ahead of time what to expect. I need set times for things as well as lists to feel more control over my environment and situation. Setting a specific time to paint and doing it has helped me to relax more while painting. There are no expectations. No pressure to produce view worthy materials. The goal is to create and to risk. At first I was concerned about wasting paper and paint but truthfully, I have plenty of both so paint I will.

I've learned a few things over the years about size and media for my personal use. If I use paper that is too big then the project is overwhelming and may not be completed. Paper that is 8 x 10 is usually undaunting, however, there are times I'm so closed up that I need 5 x 9. These sizes also mean if I'm confined to the bed I can still paint with relative ease.

I know for a fact that I'm a paper artist. I love paper, especially textured papers. Oh they just do something to me. Pencil, pen, brushes and other tools are musical as they hit different textured paper. I absolutely love it.

I've been asked if I paint on canvas and create larger art but the answer is no, I usually don't. I'm not comfortable with creating larger art. There's been so much discussion on this subject but the bottom line is this: I am an artist who creates smaller works on paper. Staying within these bounds means I stay true to my craft. It allows me to freely paint instead of attempting to become something I'm not. When I allow myself to paint at a size comfortable for me, I am able to express myself and risk creatively.

Be More by Sundrip

"Be More" is a 7 x 10 watercolor and ink piece created in a wire bound Canson notebook. The art therapy piece expresses the need to bring my emotions to a more balanced view.

I see myself in such a negative light and demand a lot of myself. I'd like to lose the idea that there's something fundamentally wrong with me and get closer to the balanced view that I'm just a flawed human being like everyone else.

After creating the piece free style, with no expectations, I looked at it and began to write what it brought up. The first thing that came to mind is that it's disorganized and very raw. This didn't feel negative to say. It seemed to reflect how I've been feeling lately, disorganized and like I'm just flailing about like a fish out of water. I noticed that the two people dominate the picture. They hold hands and share a small red flower. Though both have a missing foot, one has her mouth open and the other is closed.

As I began writing words like disorganized, fearful, disliked, desperation and paranoid, it occurred to me that I should write how I'd like to be and ways that I am at times. The other side of the paper includes words like risk, flexible, fluid, acceptance and giving. Right between the two figures and by their feet is the word 'integrate'. This reflects my desire to be more harmonious with reality. Reality is that I'm not all bad or all good. Things are no so black and white with me.

Be More detail 1

Of all the words that were written, one sticks out the most. It is the only word that appears in all capital letters and that is the word BURDEN. I ...feel...like...a..burden to others! It'll be quite the struggle to get that emotion in check.

It felt really good to complete this art therapy piece. I like free style painting. I like adding converse words/ideas that turn the piece into a learning and mindful experience.

Faith

These pieces were worked on in the last two weeks. There's been a lot of art lately but hardly any of it has hit the internet. I'm falling behind on it, however, today there are a few to show.

They're all four different from one another. Creating them was quite emotional, especially the last piece when Robert spoke with Dr. D about some difficulties he was having.

The black and white mask is also by Robert. The other two are by Michelle. All are created in watercolor. The last one has crayon as well.

Today in therapy we talked about how difficult it can be to sit here with our CNA day after day and not have her know a thing about our DID. Today two of our snails died just before the CNA arrived which means we had to just swallow it down and not think about it. That's difficult for a kid who just lost her pet. It can be difficult for me, Jordan, to stay out for 6 hours, 6 days a week but so far it's happened. So far we've kept our secret.

Jordan

1

hate life renewed energy Sundrip

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.

Robert

words fma

Content: Suicide. Blood. Emotional angst.

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.

Robert

2

Fish Face Insanity by Sundrip

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.

disolve by robert Sundrip

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.

Robert

4

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

7

uprooted sundrip

I feel uprooted. Everything is different. My home is great but I've not laid down roots here. Most of my possessions are new because the old got thrown out. The only photo of my father that I had was thrown away accidentally. It is gone forever and it hurts.

My dishes, terrariums, plants, shoes, bed, sheets, furniture, everything is different and new. My frogs are new, fish are new. No dog or cat anymore. Heck, my laptop and phone are even new. I realized I have few things that I am emotionally attached to because I've not had them long enough. It feels like everything has new roots, nothing is stable, consistent, long term, dependable. 

I'm new. I've changed physically and emotionally. My eyes haven't stopped watering since the amputation. They water nearly non-stop. 

I feel like I'm complaining but all I'm trying to say is that laying down new roots at 47 is difficult.

Outlook sundrip

Art supplies are new. Again, these are observations not necessarily complaints. I love my new art supplies, especially the Winsor and Newton watercolors seen in the photos. Winsor Newton puts out a superior product that I totally love and yet there's a feeling of sadness because they don't have longer history with me. It would seem their only history with me is the hospitalization. 

It hurts my heart to think that what all the new things have in common is trauma. So I've got to try and change that view to one more positive, something like this: All the new things are associated with SURVIVAL not near death. They are evidence of life, of a future, of deep, deep roots that helped me walk to this very day. 

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

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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