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Posts Tagged ‘Journalling’

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Grab a cuppa and settle in, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, so as someone who struggles with a number of mental health issues, I’m gonna share some things that have helped me. Most important of all, is to remember, what helps or doesn’t help us, is a very unique thing.

If you are someone who struggles but keeps quiet coz you don’t have the capacity to fend off all the ‘ideas and suggestions’ when you have either tried them all or can’t access them, then I am totally with you. Often if you find the courage to speak your truth, it goes one of two ways; they look at you as if you have a lurgy and they are afraid they will catch it OR you are bombarded with a list of sentances that start with ‘You should… You must.. Why don’t you…’

My post it not trying to fix anyone, coz not all of us can be fixed or are on a page where advice feels right and I totally resepct that. My post is simply sharing something that is helping me at the moment. What feels possible and impossible is variable moment by moment, no such thing as a straight line for chronic pain n health here.

I live with anxiety depression and chronic pain, and ‘Keep calm carry on’ isn’t helping!

I feel a lot of my anxiety and depression come from chronic pain, which impacts my life greatly and not in good ways. I’m not gonna bore you with the details but its about trying to live WITH stuff, as the condition I have isn’t fixable. Which is a tough one to live with. Its one of those that won’t kill ya just makes your life hell.

Gee this is a cheery post isn’t it! Anyone still reading? Please do, I’ll share happier stuff too but I’m not gonna fake like everything is fine, dandy and sorted coz its not. #justsaying

Stationary Island A5 journal and Ethan Elephant from Rues Bears
Here is Ethan the Elephant from Rue’s Bears on Etsy next to my A5 Stationary Island journal, where my stories and poems live.

Creativity is the nemisis of Depression

Now a long time ago, when I was in primary school, I used to love to write stories and poems, and in recent times I have got back to that. I used to love, when you could go choose a picture and then just write a story based on it. I could write pages and pages from that.

As my physical health has suffered, I find it too much to get a load of supplies out to paint or rubber stamp, though high five to Tim Holtz for the stamping platform or I wouldn’t be able to do it at all. But these days its all about minimal, coz if it takes all my energy to get all that out, then I don’t have energy to create.

Art

I got back into drawing thanks to Suzi blu (she’s back on You Tube and is putting up her old videos and ones that used to be her classes so I’ll put a link in if you haven’t seen them yet. Totally awesome) I bought some Jane Davenport online classes some years ago and they really have made the world of difference to my art.

My dream of it being just me and a sketchbook has happend. I got a bit stuck tho and wanted simpler figures too, and found Kawaii (Japanese for cute) like clouds with smiliy faces on, omg so cute! Kawaii is simple to draw and then I found Chibi, its part of the manga style of drawing. I love books that show me the building blocks of how to draw. and these got me doodling away happily in my various journals.

Creative Writing; the poems and stories just flow

Have you found Etsy? Its kinda like Ebay but full of wonderful handmade things by artists of all kinds of genre. I wanted a figure, I could have next to me to draw. To help me with perspective, and found Amigurami.

Amigurumi is cute crochet so I found both Chibi styles and Kawaii within it and was delighted when I found some cute cute mice. The crochet mice came home and from there I got a journal and started writing stories and poems about their adventures.

Here is a picture of the current crew

Crochet animals
Some of my crochet companions for creative writing.

The cute crochet creatures, that inspire my writing and drawing

This is what happens when u can’t sleep and are up late scrolling on Etsy, you find wonderful things. I’ve named each of them and for some reason when inspirations strikes it comes in verse. I have an idea, maybe a line or two then I have to get a pencil quick and start writing before I loose the words.

This was so much fun, I could do this with just a journal and a pen/pencil. Then I started drawing the figures in the book too and another time colouring them in and on days when I can’t hold a pen to write or pencil to colour I can read through the journal and enjoy the stories.

Then I found Rue’s Bears who I was talking about yesterday and that’s where Ethan the elephant came from, he was so wonderful when he arrived that I’ve ordered some more characters from her. (see links at the end of this post).

Next came something I didn’t expect. Sylvanian Families! Now as someone with a collectors kind of nature, I can see this could get addictive so I’m gonna have to sit on my hands. The characters are more affordable than some of the artisan hand made charcters and my reason for getting The Elephant Family, was because they are posable and I’ve been enjoying drawing and want to get the hang of a range of angles for the characters so the Sylvanian fam’s will help me do that.

Confession ‘the milk rabbits also came home, sorry not sorry’ shh I am repeating the mantra ‘Not gonna get lots, not gonna get lots, not gonna get lots!’ But they are SOOO cute!

How is this helping my mental health?

How is all this helping my mental health and not just the fix of ‘buy stuff to feel better’ which only helps short term as today’s happy post is tomorrows, there is nowhere to put this, I should get rid of it but I don’t want to’.

Well, when I look at these characters, all these stories and poems fill my head and it helps me forget the pain in my body. It helps take my mind away from the fears and worries that keep me up all night. It takes me to a softer, kinder gentler place where I can imagine what they are all doing. Its very calming, one day I might write, another draw in the margins, another colour the pictures I drew in. It really is a dream come true.

For me the bottom line is, its not what you choose but how it makes you feel. If its not hurting anyone (including yourself!) and your bills are paid first so you don’t get into debt, then go for it.

FUN matters, play matters, no matter your age. Not all of us can get out and about, and for us life is really small and so the little things become the big things.

Start where you are, use what you have.

If you want to try this, you don’t need a fancy journal, or fancy pens, use what you have to hand. Images are everywhere, just pick one that calls to you and then pick up your pen and write. You don’t have to tell anyone, you don’t have to show anyone. Just see where it takes your mind.

Maybe its a seasonal image, perhaps you enjoy a certain time of the year, see if you have a photo at home or in a book or online, perhaps from a magazine. Stuff rules, just start to write and see where the words take you. I fyou like it keep it, if you don’t, you can shred it, rip it up whatever feels right for you.

This was a way of meeting myself on the page that I’m on, and just trying to make it feel a bit softer, safer and more possible.

Links

Where the characters you see above came from, I didn’t make them, I don’t have the fine motor skills for that.

Etsy shops

  • The mice and bear in this photo were from Eliza Like (check back for when more stock is available)
  • The elephant is from Rues Bears

If you want to know more about Ethan the Elephant, see my previous post Meet Ethan the Elephant

Come back soon and I’ll share the books that have been companioning me on the dark days too.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie x

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