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.

Saturday Mandala

Angela Porter 28 April 2018

No quote, no lettering, just pure mandala. Drawn using my Microsoft Surface Pen on my Microsoft Surface Book with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.  The background was created using Rangers Tim Holtz’s Distress Inks on mixed media paper then scanned in.

Just a quick one to start the day.  I have some editing to do for A Dangle A Day (available for preorder) before going out to a Lebanese/Moroccan restaurant called Mezza Luna with my sister. For the first time, she gets to drive!

My car is still poorly; the Mercedes garage seems to be having problems working out what has gone wrong with Smartwo Deetoo.  I hope I get her back soon; if not, I’ll have to hire a car for a day or two for some appointments I have later in the week.

I’ve still not calmed down after the drama of last weekends car breakdown.  I’m all of a dither, my mind all over the place, my digestive system is still upset, and I’m so tired all the time.  How I ever managed to function as a teacher when I felt like this all the time is beyond me, but I did until my precarious mental health crashed in on me.

Over on the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group it’s #supplysaturday.

Tuesday Tip

Angela Porter 24 April 2018 small watermarked

My #tuesdaytip is to do just this – create every day!

It doesn’t matter for how long – 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour, longer.  Just take time to create.

You can create something new.  You can work on practicing, say, your hand lettering. You could re-work or add to something you thought was finished.  You could try a new skill or technique or medium. You could doodle aimlessly.

There’s just so many possibilities, so many ways to be creative – art, crafts, cooking, gardening, wood-turning, sculpting, decorating, sewing, colouring, are just a few of the possibilities.

Just create.  Have fun.  Play. Relax.

Take a break from the worries, stresses and strains of everyday life by focusing on being creative.

I use art to help me find my inner calm and stay there.  My whole body exhales, calms and relaxes when I ‘art’. It’s a daily practice for me that has a similar effect as meditation and mindfulness does. Even if I don’t meditate every day, I ‘art’ every day, just for pleasure (as well as for my work).

When the days are very trying for me, as they have been lately due to a nightmare of a car breakdown and recovery that took 8 hours Saturday night into Sunday morning, I find creating collections of doodles and patterns for my BuJo or hand-writing quotes or words really soothing, especially if they are familiar to me.  That’s what I needed at that time, something I could do automatically, that didn’t cause more stress for me.  The rhythm and flow soothed. Just the process of repeating the drawings and drawing of letters involved practice and improvement of my favourite motifs, patterns, words; and when calm, I could move on to create something new.

Being creative isn’t just about making great works of art or craft, or any thing else.  It’s also about feeding your heart, your soul, your being and finding calm and joy in what you do.

 

 

Christmas mandala

AngelaPorter_ChristmasMandala2_2017

I enjoyed drawing and colouring the previous mandala so much, I thought I’d do another.  This was particularly helpful for me as I was rather emotionally drained yet emotional yesterday after doing a couple of anti-stigma talks in my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales, a campaign that aims to end the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness.

I started this yesterday, but it’s taken me much of today to complete it.

 

Abstract and stylised flowers

Angela Porter Spring Flowers Watermarked SmallAngela Porter Bright Flowers Watermarked

I’ve had a couple of busy days, including a Time to Change Wales anti-stigma talk with the South Wales Police.  The talk wiped me out for a day or so, it always does as I get very anxious and emotional in telling my story.

So, I’ve been relatively quiet on the artsy front, but I did get these two abstract, stylised floral images done.

I rather like the bright colours, achieved using Kuretake’s Zig Clean Colour Real Brush Pens and a water pen.  I like both the white and black outlines, though I do prefer the black; they make the image look more like stained glass.

Both of these designs are available on products from both my Vida collection and my Zippi Portfolio.

A nice change of pace and way of creating from my more usual entangled drawings with tiny details done with fine pens and a whimsical quality.