The Spice Girls of Depression

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Last night my back pain got so bad that I may have accidentally overdosed on muscle relaxers. I was thinking my prescription allowed me to take up to 3 muscle relaxers at a time, but I was wrong, apparently it was only 2 at a time…and I took 4. I’m not sure if there is actually much danger in that, but I probably should be more careful.

Yesterday was also a horrible depression day for me. I think the combination of physical pain and the despair I feel sometimes about the seeming meaninglessness of life makes for a perfect storm. It probably didn’t help that I attended a group early in the day that talked about the sometimes apparent pointlessness of life when you are agnostic or atheist.

So, last night I was watching YouTube videos (trying to distract myself from the depression) when I watched a video about the 20th anniversary of the Spice Girls. While I was watching it, I started thinking that my depression is kind of like the extremely popular but somewhat annoying 90’s girl group. Instead of Sporty, Posh, Baby, Scary, and Ginger Spice, I have Paranoid Spice, Anxious Spice, Angry Spice, Sad Spice, and Hopeless Spice living in my head. Thinking about all these emotions personified in ridiculously dressed, cheesy girl group images did make me chuckle a bit. Imagine those dance routines!

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Back Pain Troubles

Not feeling very good today. A lot of it has to do with physical stuff. My back has been really messed up for a few days now. I’m not sure if it is the degenerative disc disease or the slipped disc causing the awful pain in my neck and back, but it is starting to take a toll on my mental health too. I find that even when you are doing fairly well mentally, that if you are in chronic pain, it is almost impossible to keep your mood high.

I did hear back from our health insurance that they approved my epidural shots for my slipped disc, but I have to pay hundreds up front for the deductible, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to afford that. I’m also quite nervous about getting the shots anyhow. Having a needle stuck into my spine is scary.

Abstract Paintings for a Bright Mood!

Here are a couple new abstract acrylic paintings (one 4″ x 6″ and one ACEO size). With both of these pictures I was in the mood for bright colors (obviously) and wanted to play around with lines:

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As always, you can find my new art for sale on my Ebay store!

Rages and Paranoia

The past couple months I have been all over the place emotionally and mentally. I plan to go over all this with my psychiatrist when I see him later this month, but felt I would share here some of what I’ve been going through.

It is kind of weird because I have had several bouts of certain types of emotions/feelings that were overwhelming and lasted at least a few days to a week. For around a week last month, I had a real issue with rage. Not just anger, but pure rage. I hate it when I have these rages, because I normally end up taking it out on myself or my things because I don’t want to inflict it on anyone else but have to get it out somehow. Sometimes during these rages I destroy personal things that I later regret. I don’t cut or do anything physical that leaves real scars, but I do sometimes pinch myself or dig my nails into my skin as hard as I can, just to get the anger out and because acute physical pain can be a way to distract yourself from intense emotional pain.

A few weeks after the rage phase, I went through an odd type of paranoia. I just kept having nightmares every night, one after another. All of the nightmares were either about home intruders or something scary chasing me. The first night it started I had a full night of nightmares about home intruders. I became so paranoid I had to get up and double check all the locks in the house and make sure every door was closed and locked between the outside doors and my room. I was tempted to sleep with a knife nearby (which I actually have done in the past when I was afraid of something like this), but instead, I settled on sleeping with my phone next to me. I have never been a victim of a home invasion and currently live in a safe neighborhood, so this paranoia seems odd to me.

This past week I have actually had a positive upturn, where I have felt fairly happy and almost a little hopeful. These extremes of emotion I have felt recently do make me wonder if maybe the bipolar diagnosis is correct. I have never really understood why I had these rages and paranoia episodes, but if I am truly bipolar, that probably would explain it (although my PTSD could easily be a culprit as well I suppose). It is tempting once these episodes are over to make excuses for them or to try to convince myself they weren’t as bad as they really were, but that is being dishonest with myself and won’t help me learn to deal with these problems in a healthy way.

Art vs Mental & Chronic Illness – Please Give Feedback!

Hello everyone! I’ve actually had a few good days mentally, which has definitely been a welcome reprieve! Today I wanted to talk to my blog readers about whether they think I do a good balance of art vs mental or chronic illness posts. I have a passion both for art and for advocating and spreading awareness of mental and chronic physical illnesses. Sometimes I worry that maybe I am sharing too many posts about one subject or the other and may drive off readers who are interested more in the other topic.

So…it seems the best thing to do is to ask you guys. Do you think I strike a good balance? Do you have a preference for subject matter or do you just like to read whatever I share? I have thought about separating into two blogs, one focusing more on art and the other more on mental and physical illnesses, but I honestly don’t want to have to juggle two blogs. Sometimes I struggle just to keep up with one (mostly because of the chronic illnesses I suffer from).

February 2018 ArtSnacks Artist Subscription Box

A few days ago I received the February 2018 ArtSnacks subscription box! I love getting these every month because it gives me a chance to try new art supplies I might not give a chance otherwise, and also challenges me to use the new supplies to create new, original artworks.

Here is what we got this month:

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  • 2 Sennelier French Artists’ Watercolor Tubes
  • Raphael Mini Precision Paint Brush
  • Faber-Castell Goldfaber Sketching Pencil, 2H
  • Sakura Pigma Micron PN Pen
  • Sweethearts Candy Hearts
  • A bonus sheet of Fabriano Artistico Watercolor Paper (shown below)

Of all the items included, my favorites are definitely the french watercolor tubes. Together, these two small tubes of paint retail for $23.50…so they had better be good! I am not a huge fan of the sketching pencil because it is very light and I prefer a darker lead when sketching. The paintbrush is very nice, but it is so short, it kind of annoys me when painting with it. The Micron pen is fine, but nothing thrilling to me.

Every month, ArtSnacks encourages recipients to try to create new artworks using only the materials in that month’s box, which I did, so here are a couple I came up with. The first uses the bonus sheet of watercolor paper that came in the box, which was bookmark shaped:

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I also made an expressionistic ACEO art trading card using the supplies:

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As always, these artworks will be listed for sale on my Ebay store, along with my other art currently for sale!

Playing Around with Alcohol Markers

Recently I found a great deal ($4!) on a package of Brea Reese alcohol markers, so I’ve been experimenting and playing around with them. My husband couldn’t believe that the markers originally retailed for over $17 for a pack of six, so I told him to never look at the price of Copic markers then!

Here are a couple ACEO artworks I made with the markers. I do like how they are a bit smoother and almost more watercolorish than regular markers, but I don’t like how much they bleed through the paper:

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As always, you can find my current artworks for sale on my Ebay store!