This picture has taken me over 2 weeks to colour.
I love grown up colouring books and usually no matter how awful I feel I can still colour. It’s a way of escaping for a while. Drawing is harder and needs some part of my creativity that gets frozen by depression but colouring is different. But the past month has been terrible and I couldn’t even do that. Tonight I finished this picture at last. It’s not any good all in all. I like a couple of the flowers.
Colouring for a few minutes was about the only time today I wasn’t breaking down overwhelmed with panic, asleep, mindlessly scrolling through the phone, or lost in dissociation. One small step, maybe.
I’m so mad with myself for not being able to do the simplest tasks, letting the house go, trying and trying and getting lost after a few minutes, binge eating, boiling over with emotions… cutting off for a while… in pain if something or someone interferes with that state… only knowing how to be alone because I only know how to be left even if I desperately want saving… trapped by fear and anger at myself, just hoping to get back to numb again and not remember. Sleep.
I am feeling bad because I’ve not managed to post on several things I hoped to and a couple of them I’d promised to. I should just stop saying I’ll post on x at a certain time because too often I fail to! I should be able to stick to these things. It’s not just about posting; there are so many daily tasks that are taking me much longer than usual and things I want to get done that I haven’t done. It hasn’t been a great few days. I keep saying that. I’m trying not to think of them as bad days because that dismisses the good things that can still happen and the fact that the Lord is always bringing good from every situation.
I haven’t been feeling stable. I’ve had a lot of forms to fill in for out of work / disability Benefits. I’ve had to try to explain my conditions and go to assessments. My support worker is helping me a lot and the hospital I go to for therapy is providing supporting letters that have to go along with the forms I submit. Things are not going badly and without my support worker’s help I wouldn’t be getting through it as I am. It’s still difficult and raises a lot of obsessional thoughts. Whenever I talk to people about my health conditions in this kind of context, or ask for help, afterwards the voices go mad and shout at me that I’ve lied and I’m a fake and everything becomes terrible and hollow and full of dread and guilt. I feel so stupid because this means even when things go well and get sorted out, instead of pure relief, I feel stressed and I’m having to overcome what the voices and hallucinations tell me: that I don’t deserve the help, that I’m a fake.
Physically I am really struggling and getting scared by how little I can walk at the moment. I’m needing to sleep a lot. The pain means I’m needing to lie down often and I’m trying not to give into it as I know doing nothing isn’t good for me either. I’ve tried to keep at least stepping outside into my little garden and enjoy so many things I do have which are good, like talking to a friend on the phone, trying to create something pretty with my meditative colouring books, even an interesting TV programme or passage in a book.
I don’t want to keep on complaining and being negative so I won’t keep writing but I just wanted to try to explain how things have been.
Hmmm. This was a tricky one. I couldn’t find a suitable photo. So this is a slight cheat but it’s late and I have a long day tomorrow including my first 1:1 therapy since the PD Service took a 2 week break in therapy sessions for the summer.
Whilst staying at my friend’s we went to a great craft store and I took the opportunity to refresh 😉 my card-making and craft supplies. I bought this set of pastel and metallic gel pens.
I think I’ll use these for some of my colouring books as well as in card making.
Good night to you all! 🙂
As ever, for details acknowledgments of this challenge created by Soul Seaker, please see here.
This week has been demanding with two medical appointments, an assessment for a disability benefit I am hoping to claim, meeting with my support worker, taking documents about my changes of circumstances (now signed off from work) into the housing office, catching up on filing a massive stack of paperwork which keeps pouring in thick and fast at the moment as I am sorting out different Benefits claims, and a difficult situation in relation to my therapy group, which I’ll post more on shortly.
I’ve been really needing some calming time amid all this. Colouring is still my go-to calming activity at the moment. Also, I’m continuing making greetings cards and have got together some photos to use to make some for a friend who has requested some. It’s lovely to do them with a particular person in mind and I’m happy they are good enough that someone would actually request them.
Here is a picture I’ve just begun colouring, from a book called “Secret Garden” drawn by the amazingly talented Johanna Basford.
My step-brother graduated last week, so I made him this little card with stars on the front, putting to good use some of the materials my friend kindly gave me for my birthday the other week:
This week I need to tidy and organise my card materials, as everything is thrown in a box together and I am sure there is quite a bit I’m not making good use of!
I’m thankful that I have these hobbies which I can still do fairly much unaffected even when my physical health isn’t great.
Do you have a favourite hobby that helps you relax?
“And remember, I am with you always,” says Our Lord.
“I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” – Isaiah 49
Rejoicing in the promise of Easter, and sending love.
[The design is not mine; the colouring is – this is from one of my meditative colouring books.]
I’ve posted before about enjoying colouring as therapy. I’ve now built up quite a collection of “colouring books for grown-ups”. Here are some crazy penguins I did today. This book has smaller pictures than I usually do but it is great to take with you if you’re on the move or for a quick distraction. I find it works better than reading to combat anxiety whilst, for example, waiting for hospital appointments. My good friend R. gave me that idea.
If I’m waiting for someone or something, my anxiety increases ridiculously. I’m never quite sure why. I’ve only just started to become aware of it. I feel the physical symptoms of the emotion before the mental ones – becoming hot and sweaty, or alternatively cold; shaking; finding my breathing tight and constrained; being restless. I’ve identified before that uncertainty over times and meetings with people is very stressful for me. Perhaps part of the reason why is that since childhood, if someone is running late I’ve always imagined something awful has happened to them, like a road accident. I think that stemmed from some of my mother’s threats when I was a young child, usually made when my father was at work and she was at home with me, that if my father ever found out what I was doing to her he would be so upset that he would have a car accident or a heart attack – then she’d phone him and tell him what I’d been doing to her (though it later turned out a lot of the time she was only pretending to phone him) – so if he was ever late I’d become frightened the threatened accident had occurred. But I think a good part of it is just my inability to cope with uncertainty.
Anyhow, colouring calms the anxiety more effectively than reading, or counting backwards, or counting objects or colours and so on. Perhaps because you are physically engaged in doing something and have to make a certain amount of decisions about the colours to use and so on. And it has the added bonus that you can turn your picture into something pretty in the end – frame larger designs, or make cards out of them.
I often pass the evenings this way too, when I’m too tired to do much else.
I’m trying to turn things around. It feels as though things have been spiralling down and down since Christmas. Since I spoke to the police, I think things are starting to shift almost imperceptibly. It is true it hasn’t been easy and I cannot change the hurt, but I think there are a few positive things I can try to keep doing, which I have given up on in the last months because it was just too dark and painful.
Inspired by one of a2eternity’s posts (you can visit her wonderfully frank and brave blog at https://a2eternity.wordpress.com/ ) I am making a list of some things that I am going to commit to trying to do this week:
- Every day before bed, I will write down 5 things that I am thankful for in that day.
- I will do something creative every day – a bit of my colouring books, make a card, take a photo, write a card to a friend, whatever it be.
- I will do something positive for my body every day (like do my makeup, have a nice bath with some bath foam, put on some moisturiser) even when I am hearing voices telling me how ugly, foul and disgusting I am.
- I will choose a passage from the Bible that encourages me with hope in God’s unconditional love for us. Whenever the voices tell me to hurt myself, whenever I hear them saying I’m evil and a fake, when the flashbacks come, I will repeat this line in place of what the voices say.
- Something that I have meant to do for a long time: I will think about what I could put in my memory box and find a box to use (I’ll post again about what this is for, later in the week).
Here’s to thankfulness.
Currently, one of my preferred ways to relax whilst I’m alone at home watching TV or the like, is colouring in complex swirly patterns like this one. It can switch off some of the thoughts for a while, passes time and gives a creative focus outside of oneself, even a way to practice mindfulness. The results can even be used for something pretty, for instance, made into pictures or coasters. Seeing something lovely that you have managed to create, despite perhaps feeling depressed or low, can be encouraging. It is a relatively cheap hobby, especially as at the moment we seem to be fortunate that there is a range of “colouring books for grown-ups” around, often to be found in discount book stores / stationers’ / supermarkets. No doubt you could find template patterns on line as well, which could work if you have access to a printer. Then all that is required is a packet of crayons or coloured pens (note to self, curb tendency to multi-buy pretty pens!).
Happy colouring! 🙂