BuJo for June 2018 and a reflection on May 2018

Angela Porter Bujo June 2018 CoverAngela Porter Bujo June 2018 MonthlyOverviewAngela Porter Bujo June 2018 Mood Habit TrackerIt’s that time again – starting to fill in my bullet journal (BuJo) pages for the upcoming month of June.

I’ve set up part of my bullet journal for June. I decided to go with daises again.  They’re such happy little flowers, bright spots in the green grass. They remind me of innocence and hope. Pale pink, green and flashes of gold will be the colours I use, where I use them, for this month.

May has been a very stressful, upsetting and emotional month, and my bullet journaling, along with lots of other things, went out of the window.

My little smartcar, Smartoo Deetoo, broke down. I had the stress/anxiety/panic of a very long time for the car and I to be recovered and taken home, and then organising recovery of the car to the Mercedes dealership in Cardiff for repairs. Eventually it was diagnosed with a terminally broken gearbox.

Instead of paying to have it replaced, I decided to buy a brand new Smartcar fortwo, which then had the added stress/worry/anxiety/panic of applying for finance.

Very quickly though, Binky was with me – my third Smartcar. Binky is fantastic and I can’t be happier with it.

Just after I signed all the paper work for Binky, I went to check on my cat who had been poorly for a day or two and who had rallied round that morning. I found he’d gone seriously downhill, so to the emergency vets we went.

After a night at the vets, test results and observations of my beautiful boy Cuffs, the diagnosis was brain cancer, so I had to make the decision to let him go, and went to say goodbye to him.

Cuffs was amazing. I had 16 years companionship with him.  He was with me for some of the best and the worst times of my recent life. He always greeted me when I came home and he often tried to stop me leaving for work, especially when teaching had become so very, very hard for me when my mental health was plummeting downwards.

There’s just too much to say about him here. To say I’ve been upset would be a gross understatement. I’ve grieved for him, and it’s knocked me not just for six but for 6 million I think.

I’m beginning to feel better, I still have moments when I miss the purrfurball, when a lumpy bit of the duvet will make my heart leap that he’s under it, only to remember he’s not and to feel that disappointment and sadness.

I am feeling better and getting back into my creative stride.

I’m working on the illustrations for Entangled Butterflies.

I will be working on the June colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group later today.

 

mhaw18

Angela Porter mhaw18 17 May 2018

Today I’m feeling tickettyboo, a little tired, but definitely only a teeny tiny bit emotionally drained.  I think that some lovely icecream on a toasted waffle after my talk yesterday, in the company of a lovely friend, seriously helped, as did time with other friends in the evening and a serious dose of meditation.

Of course, my morning drawing helps me, and today it’s a mandala.

The perfect kind of relaxation to do before I head out later to do my fourth anti-stigma talk of the week, this time at Companies House.

This morning it’s time for some self-care, and for learning how to create amigurumi critters.  Crocheting is always a challenge for me, but I had an overwhelming desire to create a cuddly cuttlefish, all rainbow colours.  However, I think I bit off more than I could chew by starting on something so big without practicing and figuring out how amigurumi works and how to avoid increasing the number of stitches when they’re supposed to remain the same number, and how to know when the next ‘row’ starts when you’re essentially working in a spiral, and and and …

So, I finished the body and ears of a simple bear yesterday and started on a little mouse. I’ve still not figured out fully how it works, but I may be getting there, and smaller projects are definitely the way to go to learn and understand the techniques needed.

mhaw2018

Angela Porter mhaw18 16 May 2018Today sees me do my third anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales as part of Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) 2018.

I am tired this morning.  Each talk I do is emotionally draining. It also takes a lot of energy for me to keep up a happy, smiley and laughing mask when in public and not to get overwhelmed by my story and allowing aspects of it to re-traumatise me.

I put myself through this for some good reasons, and one of them is NOT attention seeking (which is what my narcissistic mother would say).

I really do believe it’s time for the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness comes to an end.  I know it’s not going to happen overnight, but little by little.  I tell my story to give people an insight into what it’s like to experience depression, anxiety, hyperperfectionism, hypervigilance, emotional flashbacks, being overwhelmed by choices in a supermarket, not being able to get out of my car when I go to somewhere I want to visit, being in fear of going to do a job I used to love when I was a teacher, and more, CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) is so complex.

I also want people to know that little changes in the work place can help people remain in work.

I want people to know that the social stereotypes of depression, anxiety and so many other mental illnesses are incorrect and that they lead to be people being stigmatised/prejudged and treated differently/discriminated against as a result of the urban myths that exist.

The more we can have conversations, the more people open up about what it’s like to experience mental illness, the more people will, hopefully, have a better understanding and the urban myths will lose their power.

Not only that, the self-stigmatisation that results in people not seeking help, acknowledging they are not thinking well of themselves, will result in people seeking that help and advice they need earlier.

On a more personal level, telling my story is helping me ‘own’ it, and though I still minimise the traumas I’ve experienced from a very young age, it’s helping me understand that they are not small little things that everyone goes through, as well as me understanding that it’s profound effect they’ve had on me that is the important thing as well as having counselling/therapy to help me heal from my past and have a healthier way of thinking about myself and living my life without avoiding all kinds of things for fear the same things will happen again and again.

I come home from a talk emotionally drained and tired; I either want to nap or just draw, or both, but not at the same time!

When I draw I like to just draw intuitively, drawing on my visual vocabulary of favourite shapes and patterns, and just let them flow onto the page. I can lose myself in that flow, I’m able to enjoy drawing familiar motifs and patterns and the intricacy of my work. Just letting things flow, drawing for the pleasure and contentment it brings me, the calmness that results, lets me put to oneside the anxiety I can feel when I’m creating for a particular contract, to put aside my hyperperfectionism and just go with the flow in a way that can be difficult when I’m drawing for a publisher and can add anxiety and frustration when I need to draw for peace and calm.

And that’s what this drawing helped me to do. Today, I hope I’ll be able to draw again, however after the talk today I’m taking a friend out for ice-cream and I think I have something occurring this evening too.

MHAW18

Angela Porter20180515

Today I give the second of my anti-stigma talks for Time to Change Wales.  Today, it’s just a couple of miles down the road from me.

I was tired yesterday after my talk; not physically tired, emotionally tired, and I still feel a little so this morning.

I started drawing this before I went off yesterday, did some more work on it last night and finished it this morning.

Art really helps soothe my emotions and helps me find that place of calm, contentment and balance.

That’s my #tuesdaytip.  Find something you can lose yourself in, that brings you peace and calm and contentment and a break from the stresses, worries, problems of life. It’s all about self-care. For me it’s art or making music, sometimes taking a walk, and mindfulness meditation. For others it could be gardening, baking, woodturning, swimming, cycling, or any one of a myriad activities that bring peace and contentment.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Angela Porter mhaw18 14 May 2018

This year, in my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales, I’m giving (at the moment!) four anti-stigma talks to various organisations this week.

The aim of the Time to Change Wales campaign is to help to bring about an end to the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health.  In my anti-stigma talk, I talk about the campaign and tell my own story of my mental health issues.

It’s not a secret, I have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (cptsd) that has resulted from constant trauma from emotional neglect, emotional and mental abuse from a very young age and that persisted throughout my life until the past two or three years.

EMDR therapy with a fabulous therapist is really helping me and my mental health is so much better than it used to be.

If I help just one person through my talks, then it’s a worthwhile exercise.

For myself, it’s helping me to ‘own’ my own story and to not minimise the effect the traumas of my life have had on me, on the way I think about myself, about how I behave to avoid triggers or more trauma, and to begin to live a healthier more rewarding life.

Art is not only how I make a living now, but it is also my therapy, my way of helping myself when I’m anxious or depressed or stressed. It helps me to find my balance again, even if temporarily.

Spring themed dangle design

Angela Porter 2 May 2018 coloured Friday is #dangleday as often as I can create one.

This Fridays design features stylised hawthorn blossom and daisies, along with hearts, leaves and berries. Oh, and a pastel feather.

It would make a charming piece of framed art, or a greetings card, or a cover page for May for a BuJo, planner or journal.  I’m sure there’s many other uses that the design, or parts of it, can be put to.

If you have any ideas for how this design could be used add a comment, or visit my facebook page – Angela Porter Illustrator – and drop me a line there.  You could also try tweeting me @wyrdsmithing if you wish too.

It’s been a nice way to start the day, and to get those #weekendvibes working. I started by doing a quick sketch of the design on paper, scanned in, inked in using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book using my Microsoft Surface Pen, and then simply coloured with some texture added.

It helps me to calm down a bit; there’s still a lot of anxiety floating around my body after the saga of my car, and I’m waiting for a call back from sales about the possibility of me having a new smartcar. I find it all very stressful, even though there’s a part of me that’s very calm, the surface emotions are all over the place, sometimes overwhelming me like an emotional tsunami. Having poor sleep because of the anxiety isn’t helping too much.

I just remind myself to breathe, that ‘this too shall pass’, and find things to do that help me calm.

Talking of calming down, over on the facebook group ‘Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans it’s #furbabyfriday.  Why not pop over and join in the fun with the lovely group members there?

If you’d like to learn a bit more about creating your own dangle designs, my book A Dangle A Day is available for preorder, just click on the link!

Eerie Entangled Art is also available for pre-order from Amazon and other places.  It’s my next book in the Creative Haven series from Dover Publications.

What a heck of a time, and bujo update

Angela Porter May Bujo1

The saga of my little car continues

Roller coaster rides abound here.  I’m very anxious, fearful today, but there’s also a calmness there too, which is well weird.

Yesterday I picked up a loan smart car from the garage, and not long after I got home I had a phone call to tell me that after trying what the experts had suggested, the conclusion is that something has broken inside the automatic gearbox.  It would cost over £4000 to replace the gearbox, and the car really isn’t worth it.

So, I had the panic and fear and worry about sorting out a new car. I’m going to try buying a new Smartfortwo first through the garage. I need to trust my car; I have to travel around a fair amount with the talks that I do.  Breaking down causes me huge stress, and not being sure of a car I’m driving does so too.  Having a second-hand gearbox fitted wouldn’t fill me with that kind of trust. There are other options, including buying a cheap runaround until a few things come together for me.

I know things will work out fine.  That this too will pass.  It makes settling down to focus on anything difficult for me, and when I’m like this one of my coping strategies is to sleep, lots.  Which I can’t do at the moment, though I really want to sleep, just sleep.

I need to run errands while I have the loan car, to make the most of it. I have editing work to do for A Dangle A Day.

Other stuff has gone out of the window. I did set up my monthly spread for May in my BuJo, along with my monthly trackers this morning; I couldn’t believe how shaky my fingers were.

May Monthly BuJo Spread and a large disc-bound format

The picture shows my monthly spread for may as well as the pens I used as well some pictures of my new disc-bound journal.

My monthly spread and trackers are decorated with hawthorn blossoms and leaves.  May blossom, as we call it here in the UK, is usually out around now, but it seems to be delayed this year, but it is a flower I associate with May time.

I included a little quote about May below the header:

May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive.                          – Fennel Hudson-

I’ve moved to a large disc-bound planner because I like the larger format as well as the flexibility of what paper I can use and the ability to rearrange pages as I understand my needs more without having to re-draw/re-write everything I have in my collections.

As I’ve said before, my BuJo is more like a Zibladone, where I collect all kinds of ‘stuff’ that interests me that I want to reference, including collections of patterns and drawings on various themes.  With the addition of the planner elements that are useful to me, I turn it into a very basic BuJo, where I include yearly, monthly and weekly diaries/calendars and also a journaling section, which is more important to me than having a page for a day with planning and so on in.

The eagle-eyed of you may have spotted that I’ve used quadrille/squared paper in this spread.  The simple reason is that I can cut down on the number of lines I need to draw for the tables! I particularly like it for the tracker.

Yes the lines are more obvious than the dots on dot-grid, but I’m happy to work with this in this instance.

I haven’t done my weekly spreads yet; and I don’t think I’ll get them done today as I have so much to do in terms of errands and also a nearly 3 hour round trip to make to give a talk tonight.

I do need to find time to meditate and let some of this anxiety/fear bleed off and to let the calmness that is under it become stronger.

Pre-orders

A Dangle A Day is available for pre-order.  I will be having a give-away for those of you who do pre-order, so check back for details of this once I’ve set it up.

Eerie Entangled Art is also available to preorder from Amazon as well as anywhere that stocks the Creative Haven colouring books from Dover Publishing Inc.