new art challenge: “disgustingly happy art”

Therapy was better today. While I didn’t talk about everything I had wanted to, I was able to give TM part of a journal entry to read. She had asked about the flashbacks, but I couldn’t speak it, so I just handed her the pages. I warned her it was kinda detailed, and she could skim if she wanted… After reading the paragraph about the flashbacks, she back-tracked to read the beginning part of the page. I’m kinda glad she did. There was stuff there I had wanted to ask her, but couldn’t bring myself to say. To her credit, I couldn’t pick up on any outward reaction from her. I’m glad. I think I would have interpreted anything at all as judgement…

I also showed her the “monsters in the closet” art journal. We talked about all of it a bit. I ended up describing some recent history from the last batch of hospitalizations. I was trying to explain why I think L is justified in her panic responses sometimes (even though I dislike it and I wish she didn’t worry so much, I understand why she does). I’m not sure if it was the lighting and shadows in the room or what, but I thought I saw TM tear-up. I really hope my eyes were playing tricks on me. If not, I worry about breaking her too. The point that I thought I saw her eyes get wet was not a point in the story that was particularly emotional to anyone that does not know me. That would mean that she was reacting to something on her end. I don’t want to bring stuff up for people. I don’t want to break them just in being me… I did that already with one therapist. I really don’t want to break another. If there’s any credibility to the threat of me possibly contributing to her being broken, I’m out. No way. No more. I’ve broken the dogs, I broke N, I broke L, I broke De… no more breaking people…

10940461_10153013715089892_3865196304632814884_nAnyway, TM tasked me with focusing on the positives this coming week (probably to contrast all the crap from last week). I am to create a piece of “disgustingly happy art” with unicorns and Pegasus and rainbows. “The happier the better” even if it’s totally fake. And I’m supposed to journal about the process. I’m also supposed to journal/track when I feel “ok”. It all feels hugely, frustratingly fake. I’ve already started the painting, but I also already want to tear it up. The proportions and shading is all wrong. I can’t figure out how to do the wings correctly… It was supposed to be a white horse on a celestial bg, but because I screwed up the shading, it’s now a black and brown horse. That means I need to come up with a different bg scheme now. And I need to add other annoyingly, disgustingly cute and happy things, but I’m not sure what. Probably butterflies and flowers and [ew!!] pink things! If I don’t shred it, I may throw up all over it… The only way I got this far was telling myself I was making it to give to TM (or L, who actually wants it. though darkness would seep in to L’s so I have to keep thinking it’s for TM right now)… Another friend also wants it, but she is third in line. I joked and told her I would have to make prints so everyone could get a copy.


So yeah… that’s that. I think I need to try to sleep now before my cranky mood returns.


7 responses to “new art challenge: “disgustingly happy art”

  • S.G

    I think this therapist might be on to something here. While it’s good to get all the bad stuff out on paper, there needs to be balance. Surrounding yourself with pretty things instead for a while gives you a break from the bad. Good luck with all the pink and butterflies 😉

  • andreabehindglass

    This truly is one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen! Please add me to the end of your list of people who’d like it on their walls.

  • grace to survive

    I think you are taking on too much responsibility for your therapist, any therapist. That’s easy to do. I tend to fret over other’s feelings more than my own, even think I know their feelings when I really don’t.
    When a person decides to be a therapist, it’s their decision and their responsibility to take care of themselves. If they can’t handle it, they have chosen the wrong profession. Of course they are going to hear heartbreaking woes of others. That’s the point.
    Raymond, my best therapist, also a doctor/psychiatrist, went on retreats each year where he worked with other therapists. They took turns offering therapy to each other, then critiqued the session each one provided.

    If a therapist finds themselves too attached, or so emotional they cannot do the job they are hired to do, it’s up to them to seek out therapy for themselves and figure it out. I have high respect for therapists who do this, and the good ones do do it.

    There’s also a thing called ‘double transference’ where the therapist is now meeting their own agenda and needs. They really need to keep an eye out for that and seek help when it occurs. Though they are human too, it’s still up to the therapist to meet their own needs.

    I realize I have a strong opinion about this; it’s because I have gone through it. (not with Raymond- he kept his professional skills sharpened by doing this at regular intervals. It’s the same as any medical professional. As an RN I too had to have yearly classes to keep updated on all aspects of education)

    You show such compassion for others, an admirable quality especially in the face of all you endured. That empathy and caring trait is extremely special and something to cherish and protect.

    Love your ‘happy’ project. Can you get a sketch book and just let your gut go page after page sketching one till the ‘happy’ begins to come up and out?

    • Samantha Jane

      Thank youfor thisresponse. I really hope I was just seeing things in session yesterday. I think I’m so scared of seeing any hint of emotion from a therapist because I’m still feeling crappy about the way I left my clients. It was stirred-up with De’s disclosures around her departure from the agency, and now I think I’m hyper-vigilant for it. There’s also a double standard going on, because I know my leaving several years ago was not at all my clients’ fault. It was my poor timing and choice in internship sites that had already made me vulnerable. Then there was that client that reminded me so much of my mom… I broke myself in that situation, but I worry that something I say or do might contribute to that in someone else. When De admitted she was leaving because she was burnt out on the work, I felt partly responsible. As much as she pushed me to work on some difficult stuff, I pushed her on giving more details than she wanted. I was annoying and needy and frustrating… I don’t want to leave more of that in my wake.
      I know, good therapists make self-care a priority. I just worry…

  • grace to survive

    It’s my job as a client to be ‘annoying, needy and frustrating.’ If I wasn’t in such a state, I wouldn’t need to go. I am kind of kidding, yet kinda not.

    Thanks for being patient with my comments which do have some emotion behind them due to my past experiences… : )

    You sound like someone who therapists might tend to open up with more than they know they should, which is a compliment to your depth and compassionate nature. Still, I’m not sure that De sharing her feelings of being ‘burnt out’ was appropriate. Clients are in a vulnerable situation or they wouldn’t be seeking help.

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