Tag Archives: mental health

The Process of Art

Did you know that creating art can be therapeutic? Well, of course you did. There is even a branch of therapy called art therapy, and of course you knew that, too. I learned recently that the art created for the purpose of therapy, is often referred to as “process” art (versus “product” art which is the kind of art you create to sell, or turn into a product of sorts).

I did google process vs product art, and it appears in my (very brief) investigation, that the interwebs use this term primarily regarding children and their free wheeling creation of art vs children given a structured art project to make, complete with the right colors, etc.

So. When I think of art therapy, I think of someone going to an art therapist and art is used in their therapy. Imagine my surprise to learn that much of the art I’ve been creating this year has been very therapeutic. Sometime this spring this began to dawn on me, starting when her therapist made a comment about wondering what is really going on in my blog header picture.

My own therapist went crazy (well, not literally) when I showed her these insightful creations I’ve made. I’ve written about some of them here, but I haven’t really gone too deep here in blogland about the meanings behind them. Hell, I was unaware at first that there even were meanings behind them, but it turns out there are. The ideas for the paintings are often triggered by family photos, but the feelings behind these ideas often don’t show themselves until some retrospection has taken place.

Sharing these paintings can be intensely personal, and some I’ve made may not be shared at all.

This is all a very long introduction to my latest painting that is part of the Baby in a Raft series that I introduced here and here. I’m relatively certain that you’ll figure out the meaning of this one. I did not write the poem and traced it back from pinterest to this blog on tumblr.

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The Journey

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“Little by little, one travels far.” says JRR Tolkien. That was one of the inspirations for this new painting. This was Roland’s other birthday painting, and one I’m really proud of.

Since April, I’ve been joining him on his weekly hikes which are mostly taken in the Chattahoochee River National Park. Being in a beautiful setting like this area, the hikes have a very calming and healing effect on my anxiety, and are, of course, great exercise. We bring our 3 dogs, so it’s both an upper and lower body workout!

The painting is of one of the paths. At the bottom of those steps is a deck area where you can stop and look over the river. Admittedly, we’ve had so much rain this spring and summer, that the foliage is very lush, and blocks much of the view right now.

Everyone should have somewhere that restores their soul.

Blog for Mental Health 2014 – The Time Has Come

I have been meaning to write this post since, well, since the beginning of this year when I first discovered the A Canvas of the Minds. It’s not hard to be a part of the Blog for Mental Health, but I was “what if I don’t do it right” kind of person which has stopped me all of my life from trying things that I was not 100% sure I could do. More on that later (as in, a different post, not yet written).

Without further adieu, here is my pledge:

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”  

That wasn’t so hard now, was it?

Why am I doing this? While I do not have a diagnosable mental illness, perfectionist tendencies aside (see above), I have spent my life around those that do. Of course, through childhood and young adulthood, I was not fully cognizant of the mental illness that was swirling around me. I am certain by adolescence, I was at least marginally aware that there were some irregularities going on with my family. But we didn’t talk about it. We were taught at a very early age that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

And talking about something being mentally wrong with anyone in the family definitely fell into that “not nice” category. Shame. Stigma. How it thrived.

And how we’ve all suffered for the silence.

The time has come to speak up.

If you want to join me, and learn more about the Blog for Mental Health 2014 project and A Canvas of the Minds, please click here or on the picture above.

 

Eso Si Que Es

I learned that way back when, in 7th grade Spanish, and I think it may just be my aha moment for knitting. But I’ll come back to this thought in a minute. For now, a sock, in progress:

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I’m belatedly participating in a Knit Along (KAL) that was hosted by Kristin who beautifully writes about knitting, as well as sewing, yoga, and life in general on her blog K-Line.

I’m using sock yarn from knitpicks which feels nice and soft. There are mistakes galore, and while Kristin says you can knit a pair of socks in one week. I’m laughing hysterically at that!!! Really. It is taking me for-effing-ever! Or at least it feels that way.

But what I’m thinking will be priceless about knitting socks is that I wear socks year round (at least in the house), and handknit socks seem cozy. Plus, these could be much appreciated gifts, I’m thinking, that need minimal fit. And, having multiple pairs of socks isn’t a burden like, say, too many handknit scarves in a warm climate.

This could be the ultimate anxiety controlling project!

Like the title says (roughly translated)… this is it!

S-O-C-K-S!!

Knitting is My Xanax

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I’m an anxiety prone kinda person. I just am, and I’ve had to find some useful coping mechanisms to keep it in check. Plus, I just can’t sit and watch TV in the evening without doing something else. I learned how to knit decades ago when I made a scarf for my then boyfriend (now husband) for Christmas. Only I didn’t finish it until his birthday. The next July. And we lived in Texas. Yeah, not really scarf weather. Whatev. I finished it.

I decided then that knitting was just not for me, until about 3 years ago. Right around that time, Kyle (son) was diagnosed with bipolar I and, yep, I was pretty much a nervous wreck. But when I was knitting, the anxiety just flowed out through my fingertips as I knit.

The problem is just finding the right project. I discovered knitted toys, and they’re a lot of fun. My favorite resource is the book Itty, Bitty Toys by Susan B. Anderson. This is my latest creation, Mercer Bear. I made him for Kyle, who is a student at Mercer. (If you fall the NCAA March Madness basketball extravaganza then you know Mercer.)

The best thing about knitting toys is that it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, and they don’t have to fit. Also, there are tons of mistakes, (at least when I knit them) but yeah, who cares.

Tomorrow. Socks.

Look at that cute tail!
Look at that cute tail!

The Jar Of Positive

IMG_1353Do you ever think of yourself as being one way, and then someone points out that, more often than not, you are acting the completely opposite way? I mean, if you asked me, I would say I am a positive, optimistic person. But last year, Roland would tell me that more times than not, when I came home from work, I would only relate all the bad things that happened that day.

He said that’s a real drag. Not very attractive, and didn’t really make him want to even ask how my day was.

Ouch. But, yeah, I have to admit, there was more than a little truth to that.

The fact is, I don’t really like my job. OK, I actually hate it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find positive things about it.

January 1 is, of course, the chance to start over, wipe the slate clean and for me, an opportunity to change my attitude. I can’t take credit for the way I am choosing to accomplish it, however, because I’m certain that I saw something at least a little similar on pinterest.

But there it is. My jar of positive. The idea is that every day, I take one of the little slips of paper, and write about something positive that happened that day.

Not gonna lie, I haven’t done it every day. Sometimes I don’t, simply out of laziness (yes, I know it only takes a minute or so). Sometimes I don’t because I’m too caught up in the negative-ness of my day, and I’m just having a little pity party.

But there it is. On the kitchen counter. To remind me that I have so much to be grateful for. To remind me to just get over myself, and be thankful, positive and optimistic. To let go of the bad, and embrace the good.

I need to go write something about yesterday.