Be Brave – Entangled Art WIP 25/06/19

Be Brave WIP ©Angela Porter 2019 | Artwyrd.com
Be Brave WIP ©Angela Porter 2019 | Artwyrd.com

A bit more done this morning. Another 2.5 hours today for a total of 15.5 hours. Some hand lettering has been done today as well.

It’s coming along, slowly but surely.

I don’t think I’ll be doing much more today. I’m not feeling too well. More about that below though.

As usual, my tools for digital art are Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.

So, Angela, how are you today?

I’m not feeling too well. I woke up in the night all hot and sweaty with a very upset tummy again.

I was ok before my weekly EMDR therapy session. I think this bout of illness is linked to EMDR. It turned out to be a rather surprising session.

I had a bit to talk about with my therapist, Linda, to do with interesting bits of the book I’m reading “The Body Keeps The Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk who is one of the foremost experts on traumatic stress.

For real change to take place, the body needs to learn that the danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present.

“The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk

Linda and I had a little chat we had about how important she thinks it is that I blog and talk about my CPTSD and how trauma in my life has affected my life so much.

Our scans had revealed how their dread persisted and could be triggered by multiple aspects of daily experience. They had not integrated their experience into the ongoing stream of their life. They continued to be “there” and did not know how to be “here” – fully alive in the present.

“The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk

She said she thinks its particularly important as people assume that PTSD/CPTSD can only come from major traumas in life, sexual abuse, physical abuse. We talked about how neglect from birth – emotional and physical – can be traumatic and can cause problems with relationships with others and the self, and how it sets up the patterns for the negative beliefs about oneself.

I certainly did experience emotional and physical neglect and I never really had somewhere that was safe. I do now. I live alone. My home is my sanctuary, my safe place, and I rarely invite people into my home. Even though my home is safe for me, noises outside – doors slamming, car horns beeping, loud voices (even happy ones) can provoke a startle response in me. This is relevant to what happened in EMDR this week.

Scared animals return home, regardless of whether home is safe or frightening. I thought about my patients with abusive families who kept going back to be hurt again. Are traumatised people condemned to seek refuge in what is familiar? If so, why, and is it possible to help them become attached to places and activities that are safe and pleasurable?

“The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk

It’s not just having a safe home that’s important for me. I can feel safe here. However, leaving my home can mean I feel unsafe, anxious, on edge and this prevents me from doing things that I’d like to do. Simple things like going into a cafe for a cup of tea, or into an unfamiliar shop, to get out of my car in an unfamiliar place and walk around, to name just a couple.

I never felt safe at home or anywhere else for as long as I can remember.

That one thing has had a huge impact on my life, and though I now have a safe place, there’s still so much to work on when I attempt to venture into the world and interact with it and with the people that inhabit it.

Anyway, back to yesterdays therapy session.

We went on to continue EMDR processing of the traumatic event that we were working on last week.

Lots of pain/feelings in my body as the trauma was being processed. The front door to the building was slammed and the noise caused me to become startled. Linda was really surprised at how strong my startle response to the noise was, especially as this hadn’t happened before. She asked how long I’ve had startle responses; I informed her for as long a I can remember. She checked back on a PTSD questionnaire (not the right word but I can’t think of what that is now) I’d done a number of years ago now and the startle response was there.

I was instantly on edge, anxious, wide eyed and hypervigilant and we did some calming and grounding exercises before going back to the orginal memory.

It was obvious that the memory we were working on was being flooded by the startle response. So the EMDR was brought to a close for this week.

We did some calming and safe space work before I left.

Apart from feeling a little more anxious than usual, I felt ok on my drive home, other than I was aware that my body was still processing trauma in the way I experience it during EMDR – so odd aches, pains, sensations. Linda did tell me to be prepared for this happening as the startle response had really upped the ante on the processing and has brought forward new stuff to work with, even if I don’t know what it is at the moment.

However, as time went on I started to feel more anxious, extremely exhausted, and rather teary.

I still feel that way now, even though I also feel quite content at the same time.

The contentedness is that ocean that is me, the other feelings are the weather that causes waves on the surface of that ocean. The weather is rather stormy today.

Doing art helps me to be more aware of that contentedness, that’s for sure, which is why I focus on doing art on days like this, or at least on creative ventures.

Having an an upset stomach after therapy is quite a common occurrence for me, and Linda tells me it happens to a lot of her clients. It’s part of the continuation of the processing and/or the heightened anxiety that I experience in EMDR and in the startle response and I feel that anxiety in my stomach/abdomen strongly.

It’s always there and it’s part of the reason I tend to overeat; if I’m overly full I feel uncomfortable from food not from the anxiety I feel.

So, I’m feeling exhausted today, my digestive system is feeling tender, fragile, and still a little (maybe more than a little) yeuchy. A quiet self-care day is in order I think with light food for sure. I suspect a good sleep will be on the cards too.

As much as I find comfort in doing art, there comes a time when I become dissatisfied with all that I do, and I reached that point with my ‘Be Brave’ WIP. I think a day of crocheting hexagons and adding them to the blanket I’m making for a friend may be in order, and watching something on TV or DVD that soothes me, so that may be Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or the like. It may be that I listen to an audiobook, though I tried doing that earlier and I kept having to rewind as I couldn’t pay attention to it in the way I’d like to.

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