I love to draw and create. Creating art is also very much part of my self-care, self-compassion routine. This drawing was very much done for self-care after a couple of very ‘people-y’ days left me emotionally and mentally drained.
So, being creative is both a way of me expressing my love of creating art, sharing that love with people, and also showing myself self-compassion and self-care.
I always hope my art will warm people’s hearts, make them smile, bring a little bit of beauty into their lives and the world.
Trigger Warning – the following words contain some references to my past mental and emotional ill health.
I’ve begun to realise that I am as recovered from CPTSD as I’m going to be for now. So, yesterday, I made the decision, after lots of thought, that it was time to leave a month or so until my next session. The longest I’ve been without therapy is three weeks. This time it will be five weeks. It’s a test for me to see if I am as resilient as I think I am. Still, there’s also that little bit of a safety net that if I have issues I know, I’ll have a therapy session to sort out what to do next.
I know that in the future, as life experiences trigger some CPTSD reaction in me, I may need some more EMDR sessions to help me resolve the issues. Leaving therapy, for now, is necessary, but not without the possibility of returning as I need to.
How did I know I’d reached that point? Well, I recovered well from my hiccough, emotionally and mentally, over Christmas and New Year. Surprising well, actually. Even my therapist said that!
Nothing new has come up that needs to be processed it seems. I’ve had the feeling I’ve been groping around for issues to work on in therapy for a long while. Maybe I was ready a while ago but wasn’t quite prepared to leave that safety net of that one person who has always been there to listen, question me and help me to understand and heal myself. I feel I am ready to cut loose now, but suddenly, but gradually.
The soft inner smile, feeling of contentment and ease is present most days. I also have a feeling of what I can only describe as hope and optimism. These feelings are my touchstones, the way I want to feel most of my days of the remainder of my life.
It still saddens me that it’s taken me until I’m 56 years old to discover them, to heal enough of the traumas of the past to allow them to be fully present nearly every day. I lived my life believing the way I thought and felt was ‘normal’ and that everyone was like this.
It took an emotional and mental breakdown to get me to accept that I was in a severe amount of emotional and mental pain and to seek the help I needed to heal that pain. EMDR has been that help, that therapy has allowed me to heal those wounds.
Sometimes things happen, and my emotions can overshadow the contentment and smile. However, I can still feel those touchstones, reminders that the emotional storm will pass and the smile will shine out once again. This emotional weather has happened a few times since I first discovered my touchstones, but the weather has always passed. Sometimes with the help of therapy, but more often by itself, given self-soothing, self-care and self-reflection.
I am so grateful to have had such a skilled therapist. Still, it’s now time for me to find new ways to engage with like-minded people, not in huge groups, as that would really cause problems for my introverted nature.
I’ve been having EMDR therapy for nearly five and a half years. It seems a long time, yet it’s not that long, really. A lot of commitment and work has been needed, but I’m reaping the rewards of my efforts.
The quote epitomises the way I feel about therapy now. In my darkest days, when I started EMDR. Linda, my therapist, has been that one person who has consistently been there to accompany me on this journey of healing and recovery from CPTSD. She has helped me discover that part of me that wants to experience life my own way, that part which is content, gently smiling, resilient, optimistic, more accepting of myself, kinder to myself, and much more I can’t yet put into words.
I’m not perfect; no one is. However, I’m as emotionally and mentally well as I’m going to be without living life. Only the ups and downs of life will reveal triggers for the remaining CPTSD. Some may never be revealed and not be an issue. Others I may be able to deal with myself, some I may need help from EMDR to process them and heal that still wounded part of myself.
It’s actually quite exciting. All I need to do is to transform that feeling of excitement and optimism into action such as a couple of nights away by myself and finding groups to join where there are like-minded people to begin with.
I had the need to draw, just for the pleasure, comfort, and soothing that creating art brings. This quote perfectly expresses that need in me.
I drew the artwork with a Pigma Sensei 04 and Pigma Micron 005 pens from Sakura on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. Pure intuitive art. I didn’t think about it, I just let it flow as it needed to do so. Working this way always soothes my soul, but it also usually works out really well. It’s when I over-think my art that things go wrong.
I digitally removed the dot grid and cleaned up a couple of smudges. I also make the centre and edge or the artwork transparent so that a pink ombre background would show through.
I have an introvert ‘hangover’ today after a get together last night. It’s not as bad as I expected it to be, but I still need a quiet, soothing time today.
A variation on the abstract, stylised flowers of a day or two ago, with a lovely quote.
I got too heavy handed with the texturing in this one, but I just wanted to try the flower out without an outline. I’m disappointed with the texture, and it was too late for me to undo it by the time I realised it. Hopefully I’ll learn to save my work more often at points before I do something where it could go critically wrong and I can backtrack easily.
It was an enjoyable process, even though I’m more than a tad frustrated with myself. Still, it’s an experience to learn from for sure.
After doing some statistics for a friend, I turned my attention to art. I noticed I had the desktop version of Repper pro and thought I’d have a play around with one of my Entangled Gardens drawings.
Repper pro is an app that allows me to make repeating patterns from my own artwork quite easily. I made a few, including the border above, in a short time. It’s now available online, for a monthly subscription.
I like to use a border of my art against a favourite quote, I thought I’d do that today, though I did take some liberties with the quote and replace “his” with the gender non-specific “their” as not all artists are male!
I do like repeating patterns, and I particularly like this border. I also like that I can make use of my artwork in different ways.
I know that my art reflects my soul, my heart, what gives me pleasure in drawing and in seeing too. Even this border makes me smile gently, both on my lips and eyes and in my heart too. I think I may give more of myself away than I realise when I create art. I think all artists and creatives do.
As I grow and develop my artistic voice, there’s still that quality of line, colour, composition that is distinctly me. Others may work in a similar way, but there’s still something unique about each of us, things about our art that set us apart from each other. These differences can be obvious or subtle, but each is a unique calling card for each artist or creative.
I finished this artwork off this morning, finding a perfect quote about shadow, this week’s prompt for #inktober52.
Border design drawn using Unipin pens on dot grid paper. Typography was done using Affinity Publisher. Colour, background and composition were achieved in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro using a Surface Pen and Surface Studio by Microsoft.