Purging Depression Through Art

Here are a couple recent ACEO artist trading cards I made when I was struggling through a nasty depressive episode. I find creating art like this is therapeutic, even if I don’t feel like doing it at first.

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Check out my art currently for sale on my Ebay store!

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“I Matter” ACEO Artwork

I was feeling really depressed when I made this mixed media ACEO artist trading card. I originally wrote “I don’t matter” because that was how I was feeling, but after finishing the abstract artwork, I decided I didn’t want to leave such a negative message permanently. So, I took out my black pen, marked out the “don’t”, and underlined the words “I matter”. Just doing that small thing made me feel a bit better and like maybe I do matter more than I give myself credit for…

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See my art for sale on my Ebay store!

SSDI Hearing Update

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Sorry I didn’t update you all yesterday after the hearing, but I was just too exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically after the stress of the day. Overall, I think the hearing went ok. It didn’t start out very well since my husband and I had trouble locating the right building and ended up walking through the thick, slushy snow so far that I had an asthma attack, started crying, and was totally soaked from the knees down by the time we actually found the right building. The roads were bad too from the snowstorm and parking was almost impossible since none of the parking lots had been cleared yet.

Once we got into the building, I had a few minutes to recover from the asthma attack and calm down at least. I also had about 15 minutes to meet with my lawyer before the hearing to go over everything again. During the hearing itself, I was quite nervous. I was doing a lot of rocking back and forth (“stimming” in autistic terms).

I think I only had the nerve to look at the judge two or three times the entire hour I was in there. I mostly stared at the microphone and tried to block out everyone else there while answering questions. That seemed to help my social anxiety. I think I did a decent job answering the judges questions…and she asked a lot. I never lost control of myself, although in my closing remarks I did tear up a bit and got a little emotional talking about how hard it had become for me to keep a job due to my physical and mental disabilities.

Unfortunately, the judge did not tell me her decision yesterday. I will have to wait to receive the official verdict letter. On the positive side, my attorney did say afterwards that he thought it went great and even on the off chance that the judge gave a negative verdict, he thought I had a strong enough case that he would appeal that. I hope it doesn’t come to that though, God only knows how much longer that would make the whole thing drag out…and quite honestly, we need the money as soon as possible, especially since I just got a $1,500 ER bill (our deductible sucks).

Things I Would REALLY Like to Say to My Past Abusers

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  • I don’t owe you anything!
  • I’m nothing like you.
  • You don’t own me and you never did.
  • You deserve what you got.
  • Sometimes I feel nothing for you.
  • You are at fault for so much.
  • You have no one to blame but yourself.
  • You are lucky to have anyone who still cares.
  • I’m a saint for forgiving you.
  • Without me, you’d have nothing!
  • I hate you sometimes.
  • You’ll never break me.
  • I’ll never crack.
  • I am a much better person than you’ll ever be.
  • I’m smarter than you.
  • You fuel my creativity with anger, disgust, frustration, and grief.
  • I’ve made something good out of your mess.
  • I am superior – by actions and attitude.
  • Your religion doesn’t hide the truth.
  • I found love and success in spite of you.
  • I’m the person you always wanted to be, but couldn’t.
  • Toys have always been better company than you.
  • You helped me find and lose faith in God.
  • I will heal.
  • I’m STRONGER than you.

*By the way, BetterHelp has a great article on emotional abuse, I would recommend it!

Some Good and Bad Things…

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(The Pixabay image above doesn’t have anything to do with the subject of the blog post, but I thought it was cool-looking!)

Things have been busy lately. A few good things have happened and a few not-so-good things have happened. Here is a short summary:

  • My husband was sick over the weekend with a fever, chills, and body aches and yesterday I started running a fever. Still not feeling well today, but I have a doctor’s visit already scheduled for this evening, so I guess that is good timing.
  • I finally heard from my mom the other day after a month of hearing nothing. I guess she wasn’t upset or mad or anything after all, she just had neglected to call me back like she had said she would. At least she did apologize. I think she genuinely meant it too.
  • I have become kind of obsessed with reborn dolls! I ordered my third doll from Paradise Galleries the other day and am excited to receive her! I’m not sure if this is just my latent maternal instincts coming out to play since I never had a child of my own or what, but it is a comforting and fun hobby. Having an excuse to shop for adorable baby stuff is awesome lol.
  • The weather is finally stabilizing somewhat and becoming nice most days! So happy about that! I don’t like the cold!
  • After a few weeks of being uninspired entirely with my art, I have gotten a bit of interest back in it lately and am enjoying making fun little collages.
  • Even though my last therapy session made me feel pretty crappy the day I had it, a couple things the therapist said have stuck with me and might help in the long run. One thing I keep thinking about is how the therapist said it was “interesting and not weird” how I have such an interest in toys and other “child-like” things. I have always felt kind of ashamed for liking “kids stuff” as an adult, whether it be toys, books, movies, or whatnot, but maybe I have been judging myself too harshly for just having unusual interests. I can be extremely obsessive about those interests, but when you have Asperger’s, that kind of comes with the territory.
  • Anxiety and depression have been high (as always) but I’m still here! I’m still fighting for the kind of life I want, even if I do make missteps here and there.

Fundamentally Alone, but Craving Understanding

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The past week or so has been rough on me mentally. I’ve had way too many weepy days where I would cry for seemingly no good reason. Several times I had anxiety/frustration meltdowns. You could argue about whether they were “autistic meltdowns” or “bipolar meltdowns”, but at the end of the day, does the label really matter? What matters is the suffering and finding a way to get through it.

I’ve been upset partially because I feel misunderstood by everyone, including my therapist. Mental health professionals in my experience are generally kind, caring people who truly try to understand, but I think some things can’t truly be understood unless experienced personally. Unless someone has experienced the same level of trauma throughout their childhood and adulthood, been blessed and cursed with Asperger’s and Bipolar, been dealt the same personality and experiences, and developed the same chronic physical conditions, they probably can’t relate exactly to my plight….anymore than I can relate exactly to theirs.

In the end it often feels like we are all fundamentally alone in our experience of the world, even though we desperately want to feel connected and understood. Fortunately, we can connect with others through some aspects of our experience, so perhaps that is what needs to be focused on. It is easy to feel completely separate and different from everyone else. At a base level, it is true for all of us, but that doesn’t mean we should quit trying to reach out. And so, I continue to write and seek out common ground with others, both online and in person. Quite frankly, I’m not sure what else to do.

Therapy Homework: Affirmations for Self-Esteem

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I saw my therapist this past weekend and it went ok, but I honestly think sometimes my therapist gets kind of annoyed or frustrated with me. I feel like she sometimes wants to see more progress than I’ve made, especially in the self-esteem/self-loathing area. To be fair, I haven’t always been the best about following up on actual practices to feel better about myself. I have done affirmations and things like that in the past, but I always end up kind of feeling ridiculous and giving up pretty soon when I don’t see immediate results…even though I know that immediate results aren’t likely.

At the end of the session, the therapist gave me the homework assignment of looking up some affirmations that I genuinely liked and related to and giving at least a few of those a try every day, so here goes. I did a google search and found some affirmations I actually kind of related to on a Huffpost article. Here are the ones I’ve actually decided to work with:

  1. I am courageous and I stand up for myself.
  2. I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.
  3. I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.
  4. My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.
  5. Many people look up to me and recognize my worth; I am admired.
  6. I am a powerhouse; I am indestructible.
  7. I am conquering my illness; I am defeating it steadily each day.

Most of these spoke to me because they were just simple and straightforward, or because they address issues I deal with constantly (like health issues or past trauma). #5 may seem a bit conceited at first glance, but I think it is important for those of us who feel really bad about ourselves to realize that others don’t share that negative view. If any of these affirmations speak to you like they did to me, feel free to use them for yourself!

Lyrics of My Life, “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus

The last couple days I’ve been in the mood to listen to the Hannah Montana movie soundtrack. If you’ve never heard the soundtrack, it is classic Disney with insanely catchy silly and uplifting songs sung by Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, Billy Ray Cyrus, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, and others. It definitely has more than a little bit of a country twang to it.

One of my favorite songs on the soundtrack is definitely “The Climb”, which is the song that is probably most well-known from the album since it did receive some mainstream radio air time. The lyrics to this song really speak to me as someone who struggles every single day with countless mental and physical issues. I often feel like life is always an uphill battle for me. I’m often tempted to just give up, but luckily I always manage to find at least a little bit more of a fighter deep inside of me.

I must say Miley does a fantastic job of vocally emoting the feelings being sung about in the song. If you are unfamiliar with the lyrics of the song, I would like to encourage you to listen to it below and really let the lyrics sink in: