After a few very tricky days with emotions and time away with a friend and his partner I finally got some work done on this, and also another project I have on the go.
Digital art – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio.
I’m really very emotionally fragile at the moment. Lots of things have stirred up things and it’s taking time for a settling to happen and me to find the new place of balance. The contentment is still there, but the waves on the surface are strong at the moment. Changes are happening and it takes time to settle into the new state of things emotional and mental. But settle they will, as will I. I have EMDR therapy tomorrow …
I was reading ‘Your Soul is a River’ by Nikita Gill this morning and this particular poem struck a chord with me. I thought it would be nice to use it to create some art to frame it.
It’s taken me a few attempts to get this far today; and I’m not entirely happy with what I’ve produced. However, I shall persevere later today; first I need to go out to do some provisions shopping and to have a very late breakfast. Actually it’s more like a very late lunch!
I produced the words with the border in Publisher. I’m using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen and a Microsoft Surface Studio to do the artwork.
So, Angela, how are you today?
The poem reflects rather well how I’m feeling about myself in the moments when my emotions overwhelm me. I am rather emotionally fragile and vulnerable at the moment.
I am exhausted – emotionally and mentally. I’ve had a heck of an emotional week and yesterday was perhaps the most emotional day of all. No EMDR was done in therapy, but lots of tears were shed as I tried to work my way through what has caused the upsets.
Some of it is very obvious. But some of the triggering events have no apparent link to the past.
No apparent link; there’s something there which I can’t bring up or face at the moment. I’m fearful of it because it is something either unknown or something I have to face the truth of. It’s a difficult truth as I’ve told myself a story to deal with the painful experiences I’ve had throughout my life. Discovering I’ve been lying to myself is not easy, even though it has been a coping strategy, trying to make things more pleasant than they really are.
It’s a common coping strategy amongst survivors of trauma.
It’s a necessary process, for how else can I heal from the past?
It’s another one of those processes that is like surgery, but instead of removing or fixing a physical part of oneself that is damaged or broken it’s all about the mental and emotional processes that are damaged by trauma in the past.
No surgery is without some kind of pain, but the pain is endured as the result will be a better life with less pain.
Therapy is surgery for my damaged emotions and beliefs about myself; this surgery is necessary for me to heal from CPTSD.
Yesterday, I talked about a lot of things with my therapist. One of those things was the recognition that I now have a mental and emotional state that I know I can return to. It’s that state where I feel content and optimisitic, a state of mind and emotions that I’ve not really experienced much in my life.
I know how that feels; even though my emotions are all higgledy-piggledy at the moment I can still sense that inner contentedness and hints of that optimism.
Where do I go from here?
Self-care and self-soothing is the order of the day today. I do need to sleep, but I don’t know if a nap will help or just throw my sleep out tonight.
I know this will pass; it has before, it will again.
It’s all just a bump in the road I’m travelling in my journey to recovery from CPTSD. This is NOT my destination; it’s just the wrong leaves on the tracks.
For today’s whimsical and cute dangle design, I used one of the designs from my tutorial book “A Dangle A Day”, altered the hand lettered sentiment and changed the colour scheme.
I used just five colour schemes in the design itself – blues, yellow-orange, pinks, peachy-orange and yellow-greens. I used a blue and green from the design to create the background colour gradient.
By using the same colour gradients throughout the design it brings the design together.
I added a simple drop shadow to the whole design to give it a little dimension. I could have added drop shadows to the lettering and the flowers in the rectangular charm, but I chose to keep it quite simple today.
I think this would make a lovely note card or greetings card. I also think, perhaps with a different sentiment, make a lovely page for a BuJo, journal, diary, planner, and it would be lovely as part of the design of a scrapbook page.
How would you use a design like this?
I drew, handlettered and coloured the design digitally using my Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio as if I was working with pens on paper. My preferred art software is Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
So Angela, how are you today?
I’m content with that background level of anxiety. I feel motivated to work even though I’m really tired again. This time it was from a late night conversation with a friend in need. I can nap later if I need to. The tiredness is actually giving me a headache.
My Nikita Gill books of poetry arrived yesterday and I spent some time reading one, “Wild Embers” from cover to cover.
I cried at some poems as they really touched something inside me, when she describes in words things I’m only beginning to recognise within me.
With other poems it was like a light bulb came on as understanding was ignited within me.
Yet others highlighted the difference between how girls and women are viewed to boys and men, and treated differently, and brought up to believe different things about themselves.
You can tell in her writing she has survived some serious trauma; she writes not just from her heart and soul, but from experience.
I can recommend her work to anyone who has experienced abuse, trauma and who, like me, struggles to describe what is emerging from the Pandora’s box of the past as the healing progresses.
It helps to show I am not alone. It helps to show other survivors of abuse that they are not alone.
I felt alone as I had no one to turn to when I needed someone most. I withdrew within myself, isolating myself, being lonely even when surrounded by a loud, extrovert-filled family. Desperate to join in, to be part of it, but scared to be noticed as that left me open to being the one who was made fun of, blamed for anything and everything. It was horrible to be ignored too when I’d spoken; that happened often. I never learned to speak up for myself, to ask for help, to say what I needed. I suffered long in silence.
I make no apologies for speaking up now. For talking about what happened to me, not in any great detail as I don’t have that myself.
I make no apologies for trying to raise awareness about the damage that emotional neglect does, how worthless being ignored and uncared for made me feel, and has made and does make others feel. How it grinds a person down day after day after day…
I make no apologies for doing what I can to help others to not minimise the effect these things have had on them. To stop telling themselves, like I did, that I was weak, an attention seeker, a whiner, a whinger, a liar when I was in need of help or support.
Someone made me believe that was what I was as children are not born believing that of themselves.
I make no apologies for writing about these things if it helps people understand that someone made them believe these things about themselves and they can unlearn them and replace them with more positive beliefs.
A thought just came to me then. As I teacher I focused on teaching students with additional learning needs. My first focus was to build their self-esteem and self-belief, always. I was shocked at how little so many of them thought of themselves and I found that incredibly sad.
I could see that in them and I could see how I helped them believe in themselves more, one tiny step at a time.
I can see now how I knew I too felt the same way about myself but believed myself too damaged to be healed or not worth thinking better of myself.
Now, with the help of EMDR, I am changing those beliefs about myself little by little.
That inner critic is mostly silent these days, I think. I still suspect it is still creating a very quiet susurrus deep in the depths of my conscious mind. However, it’s malignant murmuration becomes louder when I’m overly tired, emotionally drained, or my anxiety is increased by some trigger.
However, I have to say it’s power over me seems to have diminished.
That’s not to say I’m healed enough yet. I still have those negative beliefs about myself – ugly, unloveable, self-loathing of myself and my body – and of course there’s the inability to feel safe a lot of the time, sometimes even in my own home.
Of course there may be other things that arise during EMDR.
However I do think I have made a lot of progress over the years. Slow and steady for sure, but progress all the same.
Anyway, back to Nikita Gill.
I can recommend her work to those who are friends, partners, family members of those who have been abused to help to understand what someone is going through.
I can recommend her work to all, for her words are thought provoking in a gentle but descriptive manner.
I think I may be lending this book to my therapist…that’s how valuable I think it is.
A cute and simple mandala today with a little bit of hand lettering in the centre.
I used a Microsoft Surface Pen on the screen of my Microsoft Surface Studio in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro to create this mandala.
So, Angela Porter, how are you today?
I’m a lot less exhausted than yesterday. I slept, lots. I’m still feeling a bit light headed and tired, but I am able to mostly function this morning, as evidenced by the cute mandala.
I have to get my self sorted soon to head off out to give an anti-stigma talk for Time to Change Wales. I’m sure I’ll be able to do it and I can take time to recover afterwards if I need to.
I’m still quite surprised about how deeply the last EMDR session has affected me. Not only tiredness, but my digestive system is again a bit out of kilter. It will all settle down again given time, just has it always has in the past. It’s all just part of the healing process. It’s the after effects of ‘surgery’ to release the trauma. No surgery is without unpleasant after effects and time needed to heal.
I found this wonderful poet the other day and I have ordered three of her books. She so eloquently creates poems that describe aspects of my CPTSD, trauma and my healing journey too.
On the days when you feel ashamed of your scars, your mind only registering how ugly they are rather than the beauty they prove of you having survived, remember that there is an entire art form dedicated to filling the cracks of broken things with lacqurered gold.
An entire art form that proves that even the broken and damaged history of an object is beautiful and should be treasured.
Remember how much more you are than an object. Remember your survival, your journey, your scars deserve to be treasured too.
______________________ Nikita Gill
That is just one of so very many poems that spoke to me. I look forward to the delivery of the books so I can read through many, many more.