Monthly Archives: September 2015

Self portrait – 100 mile stare

This pretty much encompasses today:


I might redo the face tomorrow (have another idea for it), though I might not. I suppose I should keep the drawings as they are, and watch the progression/change as I get practice under my belt.

This one is definitely reflective of the mood of the day: distance, disconnect, attempts at grounding…

I need a nap

Therapy today was emotionally intense. I dissociated almost immediately when talking about the past…

I’m finding I need to assert that it’s all fake before I can stomach talking about it.

Dr C mentioned the dissociation a few times, but it was safer that way. She suggested I hang out after session and work on grounding. I agreed to sit in the car and listen to music for a while. I know I wasn’t totally back at the point I left, but I was getting antsy sitting there.

Once I got home, I could barely keep my eyes open. I pictured curling up with L in bed and feeling safe. I turned on Netflix and promptly fell asleep.
When I awoke, everything inside was calm and relaxed. I was grounded and present. It’s incredible how exhausting therapy and dissociation can be…

I don’t recall all the specifics of what we talked about in session, but I know we touched on the domestic violence, my previous eating disorders, and a bit about the abuse…

I so want to be through all this. I’m tired of struggling with the memories and after-effects.


Last week in group, Dr C suggested we do a self-portrait a day for a month. I can’t exactly remember how we arrived at the concept, but it’s not all that important. Anyway, I didn’t start till yesterday (4 days later). I kept it simple. I did a quick stylized cartoon of myself. I was trying to go for the frazzled,tired, sad feeling I’ve carried all week. I also didn’t want to have to put much effort into it (I was tired and running out of creative stream).


I left the picture mostly unfinished…

When I showed it to Dr C today, she called it “glamorous”… ?!?!!? I dunno. I don’t see glamorous, but whatever. I told her as much. She then asked if I had done one for today yet.

I shook my head.

She asked if I wanted to do one there.

:shrugz: might as well. I tend to speak easier when slightly distracted.

Then she asked if I had a picture to draw from. I told her I rarely have pictures of myself, let alone ones I like. I suggested that I didn’t mind doing it more representational of what I’m feeling. She shook her head as she launched the camera on her phone. “No. You need to do one from a picture of yourself.”

I laughed and lightly protested. She took the picture anyway… she said it was nice. I looked at it and started listing everything wrong. She cropped the picture and zoomed in on the face. She offered drawing utensil choices, then asked me to start drawing… she grabbed paper and pencil and joined me in drawing.

We chatted, and she gently encouraged me when I started to get frustrated. She gave some tips she learned along the way: 1) draw what’s around the object rather than the object itself. 2) Focus on the shapes, not the finished object. 3) try drawing it upside down.

I was on a roll with my first sketch, so I kept at it. I asked for more explanation on the concept of drawing “around” something to get the goal. She said it had something to do with seeing the shapes that make up whatever it is you are trying to draw. I’m still not clear on that concept… I did try something new with the watercolor pencil sketch though: I didn’t throw down the line with pencil first, but let the drawing appear as the colors were laid down. I think it kinda worked out ok. I look about 80, but that’s kinda how I feel sometimes, so it’s ok.

I was going to do a second one (upside down this time), but session was up.

She asked how that went for me (not talking about what had been creeping on me all weekend. Instead, drawing together in session). I told her I liked it. It was nice, as I had been hoping to find someone to sit and do art with. I also told her that I wished I had talked a bit about what was going on inside. We talked a bit about the value of not always tackling therapy head-on. She cited this session as working on seeing myself as a beautiful person rather than all the negatives I feel. She also mentioned something about still being a person and seeing myself as such (recently I had mentioned more of a disconnect from myself and my life. I think I had phrased it as being surprised again that I had a reflection in the mirror)…

We set another time for tomorrow because the stuff from the previous week is still very present.

I think I could get behind doing more art in session (I have to admit, I’m a bit skeptical on the “take away” message of the session having been a deliberate one… though she is pretty good about stuff like that, so maybe she did plan it at the time she asked if I wanted to draw today).

Oh, the final drawing from the session is on the left. My attempt at drawing myself upside down is on the right. It was done in prismacolor marker while waiting for my laundry to dry…

Been trying to do art today, but just not happy with any of it. Oh well.

Not sure how to ground from these sensations. They are getting stronger, but I’m not sure what’s the trigger. Most of the day (and yesterday, and the day before, and the day before, and…) was spent fighting tears. Not sure of their trigger either. I dunno. Maybe it’s just the depression coupled with the flashbacks that’s kicking my butt again.

There’s some physical pain too, but I’m attributing it to the back issues I’ve been having the last several months. It feels like there’s a burning pain in my right lower abdomen. Last time, the doctor said it was muscle pain due to my back issues. They couldn’t find anything else, so I will say it’s still the back issues. I have yet to make use of that physical therapy referral she gave me last month. I should check with insurance to see how much pt would cost. Maybe it would help the back and side pain…

I’m really tired all the time. Also a fun dose effect of depression. Will this ever go away for more than a handful of weeks? It’s so exhausting…

I have to pick up L from work. Maybe after she relaxes some, we can do some art. I need motivation/inspiration ❤

Shared from WordPress

Healing Quotes Littles 567 –

What I wish people knew about ptsd (reblogged link)

What I wish people knew, too –

Trauma-Informed Creative Arts Therapy Articles

This came across my feed and I wanted to share/save it. I really like this page, they have a lot of good info and resources. It’s mostly geared towards professionals, but there’s other resources there also.

Trauma-Informed Creative Arts Therapy Articles

One of the first articles listed is about art journaling as self-help.

other art

I have a bunch of art journal pages that are just sitting there, waiting for progress. Some are further along than others, and many have been sitting for months. A few are actually finished. Most of them are “left over” supplies pages.

untitled art (needs a name) **might be TRIGGERING**

wpid-20150923_164522.jpgNot exactly what I started out picturing, but I think I like it. This is the “finished” piece, though it may just be finished for today… It also needs a title. It was supposed to be a comforting image, but it turned creepy when I couldn’t get the level of detail I wanted with the pastels. It became creepier still when I needed an outlet for these stupid body memories, so they made it into the painting (awesome how memories can be transferred into & contained by art… kinda reminds me of the Vigo painting from GhostBusters II in that respect).

Some cool things I learned about oil pastels while playing with this piece: 1. to remove it from a gesso’d background, scrape off as much as you can, then rub over what’s left with paint thinner. I used Turpenoid Natural b/c it is supposed to be non-toxic. It smells like Goo Gone so it may be the same stuff. 2. To make oil pastels behave/look more like oil paints, brush over with a small amount of said paint thinner. To keep the detail of the piece, use a very thin layer applied with a soft brush at a nearly horizontal angle. If you want it to behave like paint, use a bit more paint thinner and brush the pastels as you would if you were painting.

These are some “progress” shots.


Loosely inspired by:



Other things in the works:





I’m not sure what this anxiety is about today, but I’m doing my best to “sit through it” until its resolution. It feels like something is trying to break through to the surface. I feel frantic and rushed. I want to find that release for it.

I can feel sensations building to body memories but they are still vague and patchy.

I started doing art in hopes of expressing it, but it’s slow going trying to get the image right. I found something on instagram that reflects the emotion building (or will, with some modification), but it’s also building anxiety around getting the expression “just right”…

I was hoping some of my friends would be around to come play art with me, but everyone is working or sick. I was then hoping to find technique tutorials online, but I can’t pay attention to them. I want to get right to the painting. I really want my bg to dry now (and to give me the look I’m going for, which isn’t exactly happening atm… wishing I hadn’t ruined a bg with the huge flowers I had added to it. Made me have to cover over the bg, and now it’s not the look I wanted)…

Anyway, trying to keep the anxiety in check. Trying also not to bug Dr C again for the millionth time this week. The last 3 sessions triggered stirrings. I need them to hurry up and make themselves known so I can settle again without resorting to those coping skills that shall not be named.

Someone come play art with me…


I’m supposed to work on loving my kid self. She wants me to use art to show my kid self being a care-free kid. She had originally said to show her being hugged or cuddled, but I’m nowhere near that point. The closest I can come right now is passing her Beary… it will have to do.

We were talking about childhood, and what it meant to get in trouble. I could only access the stuff I’ve known all along. The new memories didn’t make it to my descriptions. Another check in the “they’re fake” column…

But then there’s the stuff I feel in my body. It feels so real… check in the “they’re real” column.

I just don’t know…

I was mad at her today, though I’m not sure why. She didn’t do or say anything insulting or mean… but every time she brought up loving my inner kid or younger self, I just got more and more frustrated. I think I was stuck trying to convey how scary that would be, yet she kept insisting. The concept of (care-giver/person in power/parent/adult:kid) love and care is so messed up in my head. For some reason it translates to hurt and violation, and that’s all my inner kid could hear today. She didn’t hear that Dr C was advocating actual care, she heard am adult planning for her to be hurt…

One thing I never thought about, but which Dr C  brought up today: where does that hurt I dissociate from end up? She thinks some part of me is holding it but out of my awareness. I guess technically, self harm should hurt. It should trigger pain. Only I’ve stopped if it ever does… I’ve gotten so adept at dissociating pain that I don’t even know where the sensations end up being felt. It just feels like comfort to me… (it branched from a combination of trying to explain that care was confused with hurt; and that I hadn’t cut in a while now).

I dunno. Guess I will have to think about that one some more. She seems to believe the pain had to go somewhere. I’ve never given it much thought. I’m certainly not aware of carrying it around.


There are no words, no pictures, nothing. Just tears and shutting down…

My lips have electromagnetic forces all their own that keeps them stuck together. My hand freezes over the page when I try to draw. Words won’t materialize at the keyboard. My mind goes blank and fuzzy if I try to get anything out.

The only coherent thoughts I have admonish me for making up all these lies, for needing the attention…

Tomorrow is therapy. Hope I can find a way to communicate.

Things seem to move in circles

Part of an entry from 2 years ago works perfectly again for this week:

had some trouble with some flashbacks earlier today.  got through them ok, but they triggered a stirring in my head also.  still don’t have a clear picture about what was disturbed, but some of the monsters have been roused from their slumber.  they are starting to shift and awaken. not sure I want them awake. don’t know how to get them tucked in all nice again.  trying to get through some of it with art. not really getting anywhere with that.  don’t have coherent words or phrases to explain them.  can’t put pictures to any of it.  just sensations right now, moving, shifting, causing sparks. waking more monsters, but they’re slow to rise this time… really wish I had more talent to put them to pictures.  wish there were words with which to speak of them.

Only maybe this time the pictures are just grey haze, no form or specifics. Most of what was awoken is still trapped in physical sensations. No words or pictures. And my tongue feels heavy like stone if I try to think of how to describe any of it…

Therapy via animals

One good thing about working at a kennel, there’s lots of “therapy dogs” to choose from…

Whatever was stirred-up in Wednesday’s session has not stopped playing out in my body since. The only thing that has helped has been one of the heavier dogs pressing into me. I didn’t have my kids at work, but was able to snag one of the camp dogs to take their place. There’s nothing quite like a 120lb rotti pressing his full weight into you for pets…

While I may not need a service dog all the time, a dog trained to help with body memories would be awesome at times like this. Mush-face will not always be there (he won’t be there tomorrow and neither will my dogs), and I’m not always at a place I can access either my dogs or a suitable replacement. I just don’t have the energy to train my own dogs for it right now. I’m also not certain I could justify in good conscience the necessity for a service dog at all times…

Hoping therapy progresses faster, and I’m past this point of relentless intrusive memories soon. It’s really tiring.

Don’t want to sleep

I don’t want to go to sleep. I’m scared of my dreams. I don’t remember them though, so maybe it’s not them. There’s just this fear of closing my eyes and sleeping, like something bad will happen. It’s not as intense as last year when I was terrified to go to bed after dark, but it’s anxiety provoking. We sleep on the couch because we still have not fixed the bed. I can’t be terrified of heading to the bedroom because it’s simply a matter of laying down on the couch. But I’m scared to close my eyes. My body is anticipating things. I don’t want to sleep. It’s ok to sleep during the day, but after dark it’s scary…

I can’t take benadryl to help because I have to work again tomorrow. The anxiety just keeps rising… it’s too late to text Dr C, and L is sleeping.

I wish the memories didn’t revisit me. I wish I could figure out how to put them away and leave them there. But Wednesday stirred stuff up that never settled back down. Everything that couldn’t find its way to my lips has found its way into my body… is it Monday yet?

Tongue tied

Therapy yesterday was a mess on my end. I couldn’t get my internal censors to back off enough to let me find a way to communicate the things going on in my head.

There was so much bubbling around before I even got there, but it all fizzled away on the walk between my car and the building (that whole 15 steps I had to take)… I kept wanting to cry, only I never made it past the point where tears well up a bit.

She was patient though, and really nice as I sat there and mentally kicked myself for not being able to speak.

I hate wasting sessions like that. It’s exhausting and frustrating when I can’t get out of my own way long enough to communicate what comes up. It all felt like I was trying to describe a dream. The harder I tried to grasp and express what came up, the faster it slipped away. There was a moment of wanting to cry, but fearing too much would come spilling out of my lips (all of which was subconscious stuff. I wasn’t sure exactly what would come tumbling out, but knew there are specific things just out of my conscious awareness that threatened to speak through the tears). There was another moment (after I was done explaining to Dr C that part of me very much felt/feared my dad’s presence despite knowing he is on the other end of the continent) where a very graphic picture of someone (a version of myself I’m assuming) bloodied and skin-less is running up to Dr C to talk to her. She wanted comfort… it was all like a waking dream. It flashed into my awareness, then receded. The harder I tried to find words or courage to describe it, the faster it slipped away, and the further I withdrew into myself. I think out of the whole 50 minutes, I spoke maybe for 15. The rest of the time was spent trying to find words or getting lost inside myself.

It left me mostly silent and isolating the rest of the day. I slept when I got home. I would do something similar today if I had a chance, but I have to go to work now. It feels as if there’s a padlock on my voice box. I just want to hide away in bed where it’s safe…  Wish me luck for a quiet and slow day without any mystery shops (I hate those calls)…

Missing people & vulnerability

Suddenly missing De a lot.  I think it might have to do with recently being asked to submit art for a domestic violence awareness exhibit next month…

It’s a weird feeling; missing someone who played a really significant role in your life, but who you will never see again.

My train of thought then flips to TM, who I also miss. I could probably call her though. I could get away with some form of connection by listening to her outgoing voice mail greeting (wouldn’t presume to cross boundaries by actually calling when she could pick up).

Going to see Dr C in a few minutes. Bringing in my inside out box to show her. Not quite sure why it’s something I want to show her at the moment, but likely has to do with missing De… also with feeling very vulnerable lately. I dunno.

Vulnerable and overly emotional for no real reason. Trying to figure out if there’s an anniversary of any sort coming up (or recently passed), but nothing significant comes to mind. The closest I can think of is that this time of year was when I started talking to De about Duckboy details (should never have done that, it helped burn her out)… two years ago this month was the first time I every shared any of what he did… the memories of what I went through with him feel fake also (unless they are intruding upon my body). Maybe I’m just exaggerating everything…

The little kid inside is out…

For laughs: little chicken by Rudy Trubitt

Heard this song on my brother-in-law’s serous xm radio (sometimes he listens to the Disney station for haha’s)… omg, wicked funny!

Was searching and found it on this other blog,

Laugh, just be prepared to sing it for the rest of the night.


Monday’s session brought up a lot. She played a song that she said made her think of me…

That was weird on a couple of levels. 1) why in the world should she waste her time thinking of me outside of session? I’m sure she had better things to do (today, she reflected back at me that she probably had “other” things to do, and deliberately omitted my use of the word “better”). 2) the gist of the lyrics communicated that I may have been hurt in the past, but I’m not going to be hurt again… ::shudders::

Don’t notice me. Don’t think of me outside of the paid hours… Don’t know I exist outside of the office.

Also, for the record, I was not hurt. I was not traumatized. Nothing happened. You are mistaken.

Then we talked about work, and if it’s a good environment… She’s not so convinced the pro’s outweigh the con’s. I’m undecided.

Anyway, I was going to work after session. I’m not sure when I dissociated in session, but I was a total flake for my whole shift.

Fast forward to today. Another session. I managed to bring up with Dr. C that both the concept of her thinking about me outside of session, and the reaction I seem to have when anyone not only acknowledges, but also reflects back to me that stuff happened (I’m having trouble even typing that right now) made me really uncomfortable… I’m not really sure what we talked about around that though. I think I checked out.

I also brought up the trouble I have with intimacy, but it was the last 5 minutes of session so we didn’t get anywhere with it… maybe next session…

It’s weird to suddenly not trust her even though I intellectually know I trust her. It’s the inner kid. She’s freaking out. I know Dr. C would uphold confidentiality. I know she would never tell anyone what I tell her unless I give her express permission. I know I have no reason to fear her, but my inner kid is shaking in her boots. :/

Studying Stones – art journal

I finished this page up the other day. It didn’t really have an original direction, but it went through a bunch of layers before I settled on an ending.

It started as lyrics to a Flyleaf song (So I Thought), then was covered by some vintage papers… I colored over those in gelatos thinking they would be more translucent, but I ultimately liked the way the colors spread, so I kept them. I still wanted some of the paper peeking through, so I used stencils and wiped away some of the gelato through the stencil…

I wasn’t sure what to do next, though I thought I would try maybe some zentangle-style things. I quickly remembered I kinda suck at the zentangle style though, so I went digging for other things. I found a print-out of the lyrics to Ani Difranco’s Studying Stones. I did an image transfer of that onto the b/g… then I went searching for reference photos of balancing stones (I had a specific picture in mind, but could not find it). Along the way, I stumbled upon a pic of stones that looked kinda like a little stone person, so I used that as a reference instead. More gelatos. I also added the phrase “you are magical” as I had seen it on one of my social media feeds and thought it would work for this piece (I know it was meant as an inspirational phrase, to mean that the reader is magical, but I also liked the concept of the little stone person believing the stones are magical in their own right: being unaffected by life, and simply being stones – as the lyrics to the Ani song describe).

Anyway, here’s the final result (and a few more “progress” shots)

I would still like to do something with or of my interpretation of the flyleaf lyrics at some point. There are some lines in that song which I can really relate to…