A few more hours work on this entangled art. In the past day or two I’ve done an additional 6 hours, so I think that takes me to around 21 hours or so in total. It’s a long job, a big job, but an enjoyable one.
I’m definitely getting my head around working in layers, though I need to work on one motif at a time before combining the layers into one image and carrying on.
Now I know that you can have many, many layers open at once, but my brain just can’t cope with that. I can do one thing at a time, and that suits me just fine.
It does make it a bit more awkward if I want to go back and alter the colour, shape, pattern or something else on a particular design element. However that’s not an impossibility, just a tad more awkward.
I am, however, quite pleased with how it’s working out.
There are some colour choices I’m not all that happy with at the moment. However, I will let them be until more of the art is done. Also, I think they represent how I’m feeling on that day, and as this is along term project that’s likely to happen quite a bit.
Last night I was feeling a bit subdued, so some subdued, vintage-ish colours crept into the design. As doing art, being creative, soothed my not quite right emotions, the colours brightened. The elements I’ve added this morning are much brighter in colour, which reflect my current quite content emotional state.
Well done me for spotting this. I’d not really noticed how my emotions influence my colour choices before!
My tools for digital art are Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
Be Brave Angela Porter
Finding that bravery to live my life as I’d like to and to know who I am without the effects of trauma is one of my goals.
I have enough courage to go to each EMDR appointment, even though I know how it could affect me for a few days afterwards. The effects pass and are part of the healing process.
This is a small price to pay to be able to what I’d like to do, such as go out drawing, walking, having lunch in a cafe.
I find these things hard to do as nowhere is safe for me except home. Rather, that’s what the CPTSD caused by repeated trauma has me believing.
Processing that processing the trauma, replacing the negative beliefs about myself with more positive ones will allow this to happen.
I’m trusting that there’s a watershed in my healing journey where I’ve processed enough trauma that I can overcome what anxiety remains.
I think I’ve had one watershed in my journey – the one where I now feel content on most days. That’s progress!
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.
I’ve spent another 3.5 hours on this design today, bringing it to a grand total of 10.5 hours just on working in colour. The design itself took around 2 hours to draw out.
I’ve cropped the image to show the coloured parts. I still have an awful lot to do.
I really am finding my way with this still. Mandalas are one thing, but entangled art is something else. I seem to be trying all kinds of techniques, texture brushes and so on here. Eventually I’ll work out how I like to work on such images.
I can see where my shading has been heavy handed. In other places I’ve not done a good job with texture brushes.
It’s very much a learning process for sure.
Colour is also a bit of a problem for me it seems. I’ll work it out, maybe. Time will tell.
I did say yesterday this was going to be more of a learning experience for me than anything else, and so it’s proving to be for sure.
So, tell me Angela, how are you feeling today?
I’m ok. I’m quite content verging on almost happy. I woke looking forward to working on this artwork even though it’s going to be a source of many challenges for me. Perhaps it’s because of the challenges I was looking forward to working on it.
And I have, as frustrating as it is when I see the colours I’ve used and wondering what on earth I was thinking. I just hope this is one of those points I get to when doing art where I think I should just give up as it’s horrible.
I’ve found that if I persevere at these points, after taking a break to freshen my eyes and mind, that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
After all, if the worst comes to the worst I can just start over!
Maybe I really should use a fairly limited palette of colours that I think work harmoniously together and that may help me with colour.
Anyways, I’m mostly content. I’ve had other challenges in my life in the past day, not least of which was deciding to abandon my lost souls skull shawl that I was working in very fine yarn. I’ve switched to a thinnish DK yarn using a 4.5mm needle and I’m much happier working with it. The other yarn is gorgeous, but I think I’ll find another project for it, maybe a knitted one.
I can either give up on things too easily or stubbornly persist even if they bring me no pleasure. So, to make a conscious decision that I was frustrated and fed up with the fine yarn and to abandon what I had already done was a step forward.
I also had a decision to make about an event happening in a couple of months time. There’s a lot of conflicting emotions around it, but I’ve said a tentative ok to it. I have time to work on the conflicted emotions in EMDR and to find coping strategies for myself.
I also have some adulting to do tomorrow. I have to contact my bank about online banking and the fact that my password etc just doesn’t work anymore, all so that I can view some correspondence they’ve sent to me via online banking. There’s some other bits and bobs too, such as deciding whether to renew my RAC membership after the debacle of a recovery of SmartooDeetoo last year. I do have SmartAssist with Binky so I think I’m ok if I break down as the car is under warranty. But tyres and so on … definitely have to make that decision.
It’s hard to change from something I’ve always used. That causes a huge amount of stress as I’m convinced people will be horrible to me about it, that they’ll get ranty and nasty on the phone, or will make me feel guilty about leaving.
Thing is, they never do. Me saying no is a problem still in so many situations. It’s all to do with the CPTSD, with the past traumas.
The emotional and mental fallout from these events spills over into ordinary, everyday events that have nothing to do with the traumas of the past, other than the fears of rejection, of being pressurised to do something I don’t want to do and so on.
Ah, more grist for the EMDR and therapy mill it seems. And a bit more self-awareness going on. Yay, go me!
And so the process of healing continues, bit by bit.
I thought I’d try out my newest digital art skills on an entangled design of mine. I thought that the ‘Be Brave’ design would be appropriate. I am being brave with my art. I’m also brave through returning to EMDR therapy time and time again even though it’s caused me some considerable distress. The same is true for me telling my story for Time to Change Wales. I’m also being asked to be brave in another area of my life at the moment too.
I’d never describe myself as brave. I tend to hide away from people and avoid situations that I’m scared of in some way. I find it hard to make decisions and ‘adulting’ can be a problem too.
Art is something, however, that I am learning to be a bit more brave with, especially when it’s something new/different for me.
This entangled drawing is causing it’s own problems in re-creating in a similar way to how I did my last mandala. My tools are my usual trio of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio.
I will persevere. So far I’ve invested around seven hours of work into the coloured portions of this image. I also I’m trying out some ideas but also working with similar ideas/techniques to those I used in the mandala. So, this artwork is likely to end up a bit more of a hodgepodge that usual for me.
However, it’s an opportunity for me to embed the skills I’ve used, to try out new ideas as they come to me, and also to see the progress I’ve made.
I can already see it with the first motif I coloured in (the one that appears to be at the top of the pile) compared to the later ones.
I’m enjoying it, even though it’s slow work for me. There’s no rush to get it done and I think I now need a bit of a break from it.
I’m feeling rather contented today. I finished crocheting a shawl this morning so now I have just two projects on the go – a stash busting blanket made out of hexagons, and a lost souls skull shawl which I’m doing in rather fine yarn and it’s going to take me some time to complete. Again, there’s no rush for the shawl.
I have quite a large collection of crocheted shawls now and I think I need to let some of them go to new homes. I know which ones are really ‘me’ and which ones were part of my learning process. I’ve enjoyed making each one of them, but I don’t need them all that’s for sure!