I finally got around to editing some videos where I improvised painting Flossie Fluff in October 2020. To make one video with some of the main points. I paint when I feel the need to and paint abstracts when I feel like I need to shift something (often start off feeling shutdown, down, burdened) and during the process, with the music, go temporarily elevated.
My current main diagnoses are bipolar disorder (type 1) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Movement to music helps me to process and move on when triggered (I tend to freeze and shutdown and dissociate when triggered). Music also eases the pain and helps me to let go of the painful emotions, plus claim back the good memories.
When tidying some things, I found an undated essay I wrote around 2009. I was diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression and generalised anxiety disorder and fibromyalgia at the time. Now diagnosed bipolar 1 disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and coeliac disease. Although the generalised anxiety and fibromyalgia diagnoses are still current.
Also, now divorced. The essay was called 'Struggling to Find My Niche' (retyped below unedited, other than changing to indented paragraphs, plus read on video). I have self-published two books since.
Going through deleting old photos to clear up space and came across some of my paintings in progress. I started painted Whitewater Roar in a small group art class. I chose what I wanted to paint, based on a photograph I had taken of the Huka Falls, New Zealand. A professional artist gave me some tips as I painted (other students worked on paintings of their choice), then I finished it at home.
This was the final painting, acrylic on canvas. Will upload beneath it some of the layers underneath. I like acrylics as they dry fast (unlike oils) so can be ready quickly for a new layer. Plus there are no toxic solvent fumes.
This is my first ever attempt to paint this waterfall. It really does look aqua and turquoise with white foam. It was exhibited in my second solo art as therapy exhibition.
It's been nearly three years since I started Bipolar Courage, when I was expressing setbacks writing my semiautobiographical novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice. I was in a depressive episode when I started this blog, as a distraction and a tangent. My first blog post was about how I get through depression.
My brain naturally goes off on lots of tangents. My psychologist said that creative brains do. It's also exaggerated by my diagnoses of bipolar disorder (type 1 which has full mania) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
'Loose associations' is an indicator that one is in a mood episode. It can become distressing in extreme levels, as my brain is linking loads of things from decades ago to recently, very fast. This is very taxing on the brain and can be anxiety-inducing if the links go back to trauma, overwhelming me with trauma triggers (all the links are actually potential triggers).
However, if this can be managed, the going off on tangents, going with how my brain naturally works, can be therapeutic. I can turn the triggers into part of my storytelling instead (I currently write about romantic and sexual relationships with bipolar and PTSD in storytelling form (memoir, novels).
I have been through a stressful process of being assessed for impairment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the purposes of lump sum payment as compensation. For what is called sensitive claims (includes sexual abuse trauma etc) with ACC in New Zealand.
This can only be done after having therapy to treat the PTSD as much as possible. A lot of people pull out of the process.
I am diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They affect my communication in speech and writing, which become disorganised and hard to follow.
I write best in hypomania episodes (mood elevated but not full mania). When I am fully manic, my writing and speech become incoherent to others, because it is all loose associations, flight of ideas and symbolism. My mind races and my speech is fast (pressure of speech).
Below is my handwriting, which changes in mood episodes. Large and messy when manic. The messiness is mainly because my mind goes fast. I write small when depressed.
I am diagnosed with the shutdown presentation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar 1 disorder and mild social anxiety disorder, which multiple strangers online confuse with autism. I have had a lot of abuse online because I no longer call myself autistic, after assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
I have difficulty with communicating with words. Below is an extract of transcript from a recent video, when I was trying to speak, while dissociating (PTSD):
In just over an hour, it will be 2022 in New Zealand. I have been jotting down some notes and preparing some photos over the past 4 hours with the aim to write a final blog post for the year (all improvised really).
I will upload a few pics I took today and write some text around them. It is very challenging for me to organise words into sentences, paragraphs etc. I have impairments with bipolar 1 disorder and post-traumatic disorder (PTSD), which affect my cognition and communication.
I spent most of my spare time today editing the captions for this video (after I finally figured out how to do it). I copied a transcript below. It shows that my communication has impairment. I was dissociating somewhat when recording the video, which affected my cognition, processing and verbal communication. It can be much worse.
People have confused my disabilities with autism. Trolls on social media targeted me mainly because I accept my diagnoses from my clinicians (bipolar 1 disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder) and mild social anxiety disorder and no longer call myself autistic. I am mostly affected by PTSD in this particular video.
It takes me a long time to write and edit to try to be clear, so abusive trolls who accused me of being ableist were being ableist themselves.
Update: my psychologist said I was in a mixed episode in this video, with loose associations and difficulty with my cognition and speech (some slurring).
Xanthe finds creative expression including writing and painting to be therapeutic and helps her to manage her diagnoses of bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).