You Matter – a poem by Nikita Gill

You Matter by Nikita Gill; Artwork by Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
You Matter by Nikita Gill; Artwork by Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

The poem.

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.

My touchstone.

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.

Reef WIP

Reef WIP ©Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve had a busy day today. It started with therapy late this morning. Then, I took myself off to the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne for a walk and to look at, photo and draw some flora and foliage. I must admit I took more photos than I made sketches.

If you’d like to read more about my trip then please visit Curious Stops and Tea Shops, my other blog which is all about my trips out and about.

I have been working on this artwork where I’m working on a dark background with a soft pastel type effect upon it.

The colours are a lot brighter on my monitor than on wordpress. However, I’m sure you’ll get the idea. I like the floaty, fuzzy, ethereal feel the soft edged ‘pastels’ give the art. I also like the way I can get colours to glow against each other – very coral reef I think.

I’m still finding my way through this way of working. I’m not sure that it really is ‘me’; part of me thinks that it’s quite childish. I will persevere though and see where it leads me.

WIP Monogram A

WIP "Monogram A" © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com
WIP “Monogram A” © Angela Porter | Artwyrd.com

I’ve managed to get a bit more of this design done today.

I’m finding I’m enjoying working ‘freeform’ i.e. without a sketch. I’m just adding shapes and patterns that I particularly like and trying out colour combinations that may work well together and alongside others.

Also, I’m finding that the more I work digitally, the more my head is getting around this digital lark.

As usual, my digital tools are Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, a Microsoft Surface Pen along with a Surface Studio.

So Angela, how are you today?

I had a good night’s sleep, sleeping through to nearly 8 am from just before midnight. I felt really upbeat and ticketty boo, once I’d come around. It takes me ages to wake up properly these days and I have no idea when that crept up on me!

All the same, I felt up to some ‘adulting’. Today, that involved posting a couple of packages off and doing some shopping.

I also have to say that I’m quite content, and today I don’t seem to have much anxiety. I noticed yesterday that I kept trying to find it or to make myself anxious so that I could feel it.

When did this happen that the anxiety has not vanished but diminished noticeably.

And here’s me thinking that Monday’s EMDR didn’t have much of an effect …

And that is all I have to say about that today, other than I do have to go and do a bit more ‘adulting’ in the form of cooking a healthy meal. I really fancy a curry … one with lots and lots of veggies!

Mandala WIP

Mandala WIP 12 June 2019 © Angela Porter - Artwyrd.com
Mandala WIP 12 June 2019 © Angela Porter – Artwyrd.com

My current work in progress is a mandala. Also, I’m using my line art as a guide for the coloured areas which is quite different for me to do. No black lines in the finished design. Not a one will there be.

I’m working digitally using my trusty trio of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pen and Microsoft Surface Studio. I have also chosen a coloured, texture background for the design to sit/float upon.

Just as a guide, it took me an hour or so to draw out the mandala design. So far I’ve spent around 6 hours on adding the colour and so on – and that’s with the help of the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. If I’d had to do each section individually it would’ve taken me eight times as long!

You can see I still have a lot to do, so it’s going to be a long term project for sure.

I’m actually enjoying this one. It’s been rather soothing to do given that I’ve not been feeling too well with some kind of upset tummy. I’m still not fully well today but I am feeling a fair bit better than I did yesterday, thank goodness.

So, how are you feeling today Angela?

Other than still feeling not too well physically with some kind of dodgy tummy, I’m quite contented.

Contented is good enough I think. I’m being creative, quietly so. I’m enjoying listening to Audible (currently it’s “Fatal Alliance” the first in the Star Wars Old Republic series of books. This one is authored by Sean Williams) as I’m being artsy. However, as I type I’m listening to the Maroon 5 station on Amazon Music. I can’t write and listen to a book!

To go back to my mental and emotional health, I feel quite content and my anxiety levels are at the manageable background levels, which is barely noticeable unless I focus on them. That is good enough for me, though I do know that it doesn’t take much for them to be triggered.

The CPTSD hair triggers that lead to emotional flashbacks. Not clear memories of a traumatic event, the emotional memories of a series of similar events that tapped into the stored trauma of the first traumatic event, reinforcing the trauma again and again and again.

That’s one way in which CPTSD is different to PTSD.

As I become more aware of my emotions and what can trigger an emotional response I’m more able to manage how I interact (or not) with the world until that trigger no longer affects me.

All part of self care which is so important.

My recovery from CPTSD is a work in progress, something I won’t stop until I’m good enough in terms of my mental and emotional wellbeing as well as my relationship with myself.

Coloring nearly done …

©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

I’ve had a quiet morning at home today and have taken the opportunity to have some self-care time, which for me means adding more colour to this design.

I’ve had three emotionally tiring days in a row; EMDR on Monday and anti-stigma talks on Tuesday and Wednesday. I also had two longish trips on Tuesday to Swansea and then Hereford in absolutely horrid weather.

I had a good sleep last night, but I still feel exhausted and I have one more anti-stigma talk to do in Cwmbran this afternoon. All done in my role as a champion for Time to Change Wales.

I could just curl up in bed and sleep again now, but the shower is calling me and I need to sort myself out for that trip to Cwmbran.

Some might say I’m doing too much. Possibly. But it’s important stuff talking about mental health in the aim of raising awareness, understanding and reducing the stigma and discrimination that exists around mental illness.

Yes, I may be exhausted afterwards. Yes, I may need self-care time for a day or so. But it’s important to do this. It’s important to me.

If I’d known more about what a healthy mind and healthy emotions are when I was younger maybe, just maybe I could’ve sought out help and it may have been easier to achieve recovery.

Maybe I would’ve been more self-aware and able to make better life choices so I didn’t add to the trauma I already carried within me. Maybe I would’ve been wiser and cared a little more about myself and not given so much of myself.

If I can help people to recognise that their mental or emotional health isn’t as it could be and to find a way to change that without fear of stigma or discrimination then I think it’s worth it.

That’s why I do it. Even when I myself am emotionally drained from it. I know I’ll recover. I know that on my way home today I’m likely to get some nice food to cook this evening, maybe even some Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra, and I would like to settle down and watch some Star Wars.

I also want to get some cotton yarn. I had a book in the post at the weekend that has crochet patterns in it for what the American’s call ‘market bags’ and we in the UK call ‘shopping bags’. Crocheted, netting, pretty, reusable, personalised in terms of colour and embellishments.

I shall look forward to an evening of such self care tonight. A chance to properly stop, breathe and relax.

And the color goes on … and on …

© Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com
© Angela Porter 2019 Artwyrd.com

The work in progress so far. I am definitely learning new tricks, though I’m not quite sure if they’re all easily visible in the reduced sized image for the interwebs.

A nice way to spend an hour or two after an anti-stigma talk this morning to a group of South Wales Police officers. I’m emotionally whacked out. I do have to go out to an appointment shortly, however, otherwise I’d definitely be asleep before too much longer if not already!

I am noticing that as I tell my story of my mental illness I’m getting more in touch with some of my emotions. It used to be that I would just tell my story with little emotion being visible to anyone else. I seem to be getting more emotional about my story, sometimes almost overwhelmed by it.

The ice-maiden melteth, mayhaps.

I do know that when I get emotional I get so tired afterwards.

I just hope that telling my story helps people in someway and goes some way to helping end stigma and discrimination around mental illness.

That is why I’m a champion for Time to Change Wales.

Work in progress

©Angela Porter 2019 - Artwyrd.com
©Angela Porter 2019 – Artwyrd.com

As well as working on templates for my latest book, I like to have some personal artwork on the go.

These two are the current works in progress. The dragon is partly through having the patterns added to it. I’m not sure about the circular fill pattern yet, hence the break from it. I also wanted to include some dangles, especially as his front paws seemed to be quite the right shape/posture to be holding the threads of the dangles betwixt the talons. As this is a digital drawing (I did start with a sketch on paper with pencil which I scanned in), it’s easy enough to edit and alter. Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro were my tools for the dragon.

The other has all the linework finished. Like the dragon, I’ve added a ready-made background I purchased from Creative Market ahead of me adding colour, in this case it will be primarily blue. The symbol is a Zibu symbol that represents release. Again this is something that ties in with my EMDR journey. Part EMDR is about processing and releasing past trauma. Of course, the symbol does look like a fancy ‘h’ or maybe a capital ‘L’. This was drawn on bristol board with Sakura Pigma Micron pens; it’s postcard sized.

Yesterday was a funny day for me. I thought I had a meeting in the morning only to discover that I was two weeks early! That’ll teach me to read my emails properly rather than assuming the meeting would be, as it has been, on the first Saturday of the month. I then had an event in the late afternoon to attend and I didn’t get home from that to nigh on 8pm and I was absolutely shattered, so just needed some quiet time.

The weather has changed here in the UK, as is it’s wont. Wild, windy and wet over night and it’s still wet today. I’m not sure if it’s the weather, me being tired, it being the eve of therapy, or any possible combination that has mee feeling a tad low and flat today. I’m happy to stay inside today in the warm and dry, taking my time over doing things.

I do have some templates for the latest book sketched out, but not sure I want to ink them in at the moment.

Another mug of mocha is needed I think…before I decide what to do.