Phew! It’s been a week!

©Angela Porter 2019

It really has been a week for me. I seem to have dashed from one thing to another, sometimes seemingly without time to catch my breath. I’m still feeling dazed, mentally drained and emotionally fragile after it all, particularly the events of yesterday’s ‘Time to Talk Day’.

I do have, however, lying beneath all of this a sense of a gentle smile, a soft calmness that I have been aware of since starting loving kindness meditations to help me with self-compassion. It is this presence that I’m trying to focus on and find when I feel overwhelmed by tiredness and fragility.

The tiredness, the fragility will pass. Some of the fragility and the deafening shouting of the inner critic will need some help to dispel, and that’s where EMDR comes in. Bit by bit it seems EMDR is helping to disempower that inner critic, the beastie on my back.

Time to Talk Day – a review

It was good yesterday to be able to help out on Time to Talk Day as a champion for Time To Change Wales, draining as the anti-stigma talk in the morning was for me. I spoke to a lovely group of police officers from the South Wales Police at Ton Pentre Police Station. They even gave me two rounds of applause at the end of the talk.

Part of the anti-stigma talk is sharing my story of my mental illness, cPTSD, my life, how cPTSD has affected my life and the stigma and discrimination I’ve faced as a result of it.

The biggest stigma I’ve had to contend with is self-stigma. It was that which stopped me from acknowledging the thoughts and feelings I had about myself were not healthy and it stopped me from seeking help for a very long time – nearly 50 years of my life.

It is draining to tell my story. I get some emotional flashbacks. I’m letting people know some of the most difficult times of my life in terms of what I was thinking and feeling at that time, though I don’t share everything that has happened to me in terms of trauma. I still can’t talk about some of it, and some of it I have amnesia about – a coping strategy for those like me who have traumas they can’t speak about. There were traumas that were horrifying to me at the time and I had no one to speak to about it. I didn’t think anyone would believe me. That inner critic still tells me I’m making it up, attention seeking, swinging the lead, pathetic, weak, useless, and more ugly words it has about me. I sometimes feel a total fraud when telling my story, doubting what few memories I have of my past, wondering if people actually believe me.

The evidence of the trauma is there in the way I think about myself and the way I speak to myself however. The trauma is also stored in my body and that comes out during EMDR, sometimes with a memory of something I had no recollection of until that time. That is extremely uncomfortable when it happens and it can challenge my view of my childhood experiences.

Why do I do this when it causes me some difficulties post-talk?

I want people to know what is mental health and what is not.

If I had known at a younger age that how I thought and felt and behaved wasn’t healthy maybe I would have sought out help sooner and maybe my life would have been different. I can’t do anything about that, though. I am doing my best to recover from all of this trauma and cPTSD. But if me talking about how my thoughts and emotions were helps them gain a better picture of good mental health vs poor mental health and perhaps even recognise in themselves that they’re struggling even a little and they get help, then that is a good job done.

That’s why I do this.

I want people to know that they are not alone in their struggles. Because mental health is something we don’t talk about, that people fear and fear talking about, it’s all too easy to feel that we’re alone. By talking about mental health, our own mental health, bit by bit we can change fear into understanding, stigma into acceptance and recognise that our mental and emotional health is as important as our physical health.

That’s why I do this.

I want to help break the stereotype of what someone experiencing mental ill-health looks and acts like.

That’s why I do this.

I battle with the shame of trauma that has been inflicted on me in my past, trauma that the perpetrators should feel shame about NOT me! I felt so shameful about struggling with my mental and emotional health as well. It’s enough to fight being ashamed of things others did to me without the shame of the stigma of mental illness too.

That’s why I do this.

I want people to know that it takes a lot of strength to live life when you’re not feeling well mentally or emotionally. It takes a lot of effort to do life’s daily tasks when you’re well, when you’re battling yourself, your mind, your emotions it takes a lot more energy and strength to do that. It takes a lot of energy to hide what goes on under the surface, what people can’t see – the storms in the mind and emotions – to appear that you’re coping well and can do everything. Doing that for too long and not recognising that I was struggling was what nearly broke my mind totally. I don’t want other people to experience that

That’s why I do this.

I am on the road to recovery from cPTSD. I want people to know you can recover. I want people to know that it is ok to ask for help.

As I explained to someone yesterday that if you want to learn to drive a car you seek out someone who can teach you and we’re not ashamed about this nor do we feel week about it either. However, if we’re struggling mentally or emotionally we don’t want to ask for help because of the fear of how people might view us – that’s the stigma and discrimination that exists. But if we need help and don’t know how to help ourselves we should feel able to ask for help for someone to help us learn the tools we need, tools we can add to our mental and emotional wellbeing kit, whatever those tools may be – medication, counselling, advice, help to see things in a different way, and so many more I’m sure.

That’s why I do this.

I’m sure there are many other reasons, but my brain is still tired and a bit addled from EMDR on Monday, which left me tired and drained and I hadn’t quite recovered from that for yesterday’s anti-stigma talk and then the stand at the ABM Trust Headquarters in Port Talbot.

Self Care Day

I do know that today I need to do a lot of self-care activities. That means doing things that are familiar to me. I think in artsy way I’ll be adding things to my visual reference Leuchtturm. I may also spend some time knitting and watching Star Wars. Again, these are familiar to me, there are no surprises waiting for me and I can just relax into them, and that is soothing to me when I’m emotionally drained.

I also need plenty of tea today. I have run out of milk though, so I’m going to have to brave the heavy rain and wild winds to pop out to get some, and some food that doesn’t take much in the way of preparation today as well. I think cooking, though it can be soothing could be annoying today.

The arty stuff

Usually on a Friday I’d post a dangle design. Today, I wanted to post a quote about mental health, and I decided to have a play with a similar very graphic style of art to place behind it. I’m not entirely sure the art works. No doubt I’ll have a go at another version later on today, perhaps.

For this one I sorted out the words and black boxes in Publisher and exported the page as a jpg file. I then used this file in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro along with my Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio to add the artwork behind the quote.

If you want to know what a man’s like…

Angela Porter 14 July 2018 Sirius Black Quote 1

One of my most favourite quotes of all, from one of my most favourite book characters.

I printed the words out using Publisher, and then I added the design around them by hand, using a Sakura Pigma Micron PN pen.

I have scanned the finished image in, created a transparent background, and filled the background with a rainbow gradient for now. It’s going to be a long term project to colour it in as I’d like it, though I’m not sure how that is going to be. Having said that, a rainbow gradient may be the most appropriate colour scheme of all for this.

I think I need to learn a lot more about typography and setting out words in a quote, however. That will come with time should I choose to continue to use fonts and computers to generate the wordage for an illustrated quote.

As always, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts, suggestions, advice and so on.

Definitely got some #weekendvibes going on here!

Dream…

Greetings Cards

Dream is the message on a three 6″ x 4″ greetings cards I’ve made over the past couple of days.
DreamCard3©Angela Porter 2012

DreamCard1©Angela Porter 2012

DreamCard2©Angela Porter 2012

Each card measures approx 4″ x 6″.  The card blank is made from brown kraft paper card.  The little artwork on each has been created with the use of Sakura Glaze pens, watercolour paints and metallic pens/paints.

The lovely purples, blues and greens relate to Neptune, the planet associated with dreams and visions.  The flowing forms in two of the cards related to the flowing energy of this planet, astrologically speaking that is.  The saying ‘Shoot for the Moon; even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars’ has inspired the use of Moons and stars.

I’ve also made some with Thank You, Joy, Peace and Love on them, as well as quite a few with abstract trees on them.  They, along with the dream cards, are available from my shop at Etsy.

JoyCard1©Angela Porter 2012

ThankYouCard1©Angela Porter 2012

PeaceCard1©Angela Porter 2012

LoveCard1©Angela Porter 2012

I’m trying to find my ‘style’ with this kind of thing.  It’s an interesting kind of thing to do, exploring something new and finding my way along with them.  I’ll eventually work out exactly how I want this to work, in fact I’ve just had an idea now as I am tip-tapping away at the keyboard.

I want to create artworks with inspirational words within them, and this seems to be a good way to do that…or a good way to start to do this…

Etsy

I’ve been making a home for my art and craft works on Etsy over the past few months, and it’s an interesting kind of place for lots of reasons.

There are an incredible number of gifted arts and crafts people there whose works are a great source of inspiration.  I can spent way too much time just browsing through the listings …

What is a cause of concern for me is pricing my wares there.  It’s a very difficult idea for me to grasp – that my artwork has value.  What value it has is still beyond me, and trying to price things sensibly is … difficult.

I have had two pieces of work purchased through Etsy – one a custom ordered auragraph/mandala, the other a piece of my textile jewellery, so it has, from that point of view, been a successful venture.  It also means that I am not out of pocket in the great Etsy Escapade.  I’m hoping it will be a way for me to share my art with others, for others to own a little bit of my creativity, to share in the pleasure that creating art gives me.

Having said that, I have had a request from someone on deviantART for a listing for a torc to be placed on Etsy, so that is something I will need to get along with.  First find the photos of the torcs I have created in the past!