I found this appropriate quote this morning, and thought I just had to try to add some pretty art behind it, and this is what I came up with.
I worked digitally and used some symmetry tools. I’m not entirely sure about it, but it let me try things out and let my mind work out some things, including how I’ve really been doing things a hard, long and laborious way in the past, digitally speaking. All part of the learning process, of course.
Yesterday, I had to take a total self-care day. I’ve had a very stressful couple of days, and that does take its toll on me. Today I feel less emotionally overwhelmed, I can sense that touchstone of contentment inside me, and the maelstrom of emotions concerning the events has mostly calmed down, and I hope the stressful situation will have done so, for a few days at least!
Shatterpoints of change causing stress and distress for someone in my circle, and supporting through it has been…difficult and unpleasant for me. Still, I think the situation has calmed, for now at least. The quote is really relevant to this situation, far more than for this person than for me.
As difficult as it has been, I have been able to see how far along my healing journey I have come. I can also see how my relationship with myself has become so much healthier. So that’s the positive pay off for me in all of this.
Self-love is a concept that isn’t fully understood. It took me a long time to understand it, or to accept that it is possible.
Self-love isn’t about ego, grandiosity, boastfulness. It’s not about thinking you’re perfect or the most beautiful or the cleverest person in the world.
Self love is about accepting yourself as you are, strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, mistakes and all. It’s about accepting that all these, and more, make you who you are and that it is OK to be perfectly imperfect.
It’s about learning to treat yourself kindly, not to be so hard on yourself. It’s about being compassionate towards yourself.
Self love is about nurturing yourself, taking care of the needs of your body, mind, emotion and spirituality.
It’s about having a high regard for your own happiness and well being. It’s about not sacrificing these to please others. It’s about not settling for less than you deserve, about setting healthy boundaries.
It’s a practice, some days it will be easier to do this, others a bit harder. But it’s an importance practice for mental and emotional health.
Over the past few days, I’ve had to practice a lot of self love and self care. I don’t profess to be an expert; I’m constantly learning more about it, as well as constantly having to refer back to what it means and what I need to do.
So, I thought I’d do a blog post about it, as well as some arty stuff. I’ve not done much digital art of late. I became lost in the world of watercolour and journal making and paper crafting. This morning I felt the need to do some digital art. I dug out a sheet of small designs I’d created back in January 2020 and picked one to colour. The rest just fell into place.
I wonder how many are trying to keep busy, busy, busy during the lockdown? And how many are learning how to just ‘be’, relaxing and taking time for self-care?
Self-care has been a long, difficult series of lessons for me. It’s a practice and not a perfect situation. However, self-care is important.
I don’t mean personal grooming, which is important, but it means taking care of your emotional and mental needs as much as your physical needs.
Today is a day where I’ll need to practice a lot of self-care. Migraine-style headache woke me up way too early and although the pain has gone it has left me exhausted, unfocused, and needing sleep. So, I’ll soon be returning to bed to sleep the lingering effects of the migraine away.
To help me cope with the migraine, I spend a few hours working on my mosaic crochet blanket/throw, and then created the above. Both very self-soothing activities for me.
I have a life-long fascination with words and facts that appeal to my curious, squirrel-y mind. I like unusual words. I also like etymology – the origins of words.
Since my first episode of severe mental ill-health due to burnout and cPTSD, I’ve found it difficult to read and retain information as I once used to as well as to recall information that was once on the tips of my neurons.
I’m finding it much easier to read and retain some of what I’ve read, thank goodness! And with that comes a desire to seek out interesting words and facts once again.
Lalochezia comes from the Greek ‘lalia’, meaning speech, and the Latin ‘chezo’, meaning to relieve oneself.
I admit, quite freely, to lalochezia. Not just for physical pain, but emotional pain too. There’s nothing quite like a swear word full of hard consonants to express the pain, frustration or upset verbally.
A friend of mine is constantly amused by my use of swear words even though I sound ‘quite posh’, according to her anyway. I thought of her when I found this particular word and just knew I had to use it for one of my ‘quote’ artworks.
The floral motif is influenced by Art Nouveau. It is highly stylised but there’s also the influence of Celtic knotwork in the way the foliage intertwines and overlaps.
The typography was completed using Affinity Publisher. The artwork was completed in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. In both cases I used a Microsoft Surface Studio and Microsoft Surface Pen.
Today, I’ve been drawing little flower motifs and borders to go along with a lovely quote about flowers and hope.
The line art was drawn using Tombow Fudenosuke pens on ClaireFontaine dot grid paper. Colour, typography and background texture have been added digitally using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
Flowers are some of my favourite things to draw, whether they be highly stylised or more realistic.
My snowdrops and crocus have the feel of being wood cut or lino cut and printed, that kind of vintage feel. The flexible nibs on the Fudenosuke pens help me achieve this look. Also, the fairly simple colouring and addition of texture help too.
I’ve left the colouring as is, maybe for now. However, I now have these motifs ready to use in other projects, as they occur to me. Colour certainly helps to lift them off the background and bring them to life.
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.