I originally wrote this blog post in December 2018. Have since had 2 years of weekly therapy a trauma psychologist. Transferred this blog post as not renewing the domain name. A lot of my processing for post-traumatic stress disorder was self-directed. I often have elevated moods (hypomania, mania) when processing intense themes.
I published my novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice (about processing grief and trauma with bipolar disorder) in 2021. One reason it took so long (7 years) is that I needed recovery time as became elevated each time I worked on it and vice versa.
I wrote this blog post in February 2019 on another blog. Moved some posts here after deciding not to renew the domain name. I had another solo art as therapy exhibition since plus published my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice.
Collected the rest of my 'art as therapy' paintings from the gallery (they were happy to keep them for a few months after the exhibition for some colour on the walls). It was my first (and maybe last?) solo art exhibition with a difference. It was to highlight bipolar disorder and art as a healing medium. Many people commented how colourful the paintings were. I'd even painted pain in bright colours. My paintings were symbolic abstracts and only I know what they all mean.
I wrote this blog post in March 2019. Will not be renewing the domain name of the blog, so moving some blog posts to here. Since writing this, I have had two solo art as therapy exhibitions and published my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice.
I've just painted two landscapes in acrylics, after not having painted landscapes for more than 20 years. I can only remember two landscapes I painted in oils. One was of a snowy mountain and another was of some trees along a dirt road - I was told by the art teacher and other students that my trees were too bright with too much yellow and that I reversed the lights and darks. I've come to realise that I like painting with brighter colours than are really there in nature. And that yellow is one of my bipolar mania colours.
I wrote this blog post in February 2019, on a blog I am not renewing the domain name for. Transferred a few posts to here. Since writing this blog post, I had two solo art as therapy exhibitions and published my first novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice.
Enrolled in a series of 4 lessons in landscape painting in acrylics. Last time I had lessons was over 20 years ago in traditional oils. I love the buttery texture of oils but not the slow drying time, the fumes of solvents and messy clean-up.
I have decided not to renew a Pet Purpose domain name, so will move a few blog posts to here before it goes. This post was originally published February, 2019.
Sometimes I paint with a knife. This could be a finished painting but I feel that I want to paint the patterns in it with blue (representing depression) and yellow (representing bipolar mania) over it.
This is the one page artist's statement I wrote to go on the wall for my art as therapy exhibition, Speak, in 2020. With some of the artworks.
Speak is a second solo art as therapy exhibition by Xanthe Wyse. Xanthe’s first art as therapy exhibition, Spinning Orbit, was two years ago. Spinning Orbit was messy, raw and intense artwork to help calm Xanthe’s mind while on a challenging journey towards stabilising bipolar disorder with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Over the past few years, I have been on a journey of processing trauma. Finally, I am seeing a trauma psychologist, and she agrees that I have been finding ways to process trauma on my own.
I am a very sensitive person and I can feel very intense emotions. So intense that I would 'shut down' all the emotion and the trauma would be locked inside, still there - frozen and stuck. It has been a process like in waves, to get unstuck. Sometimes there would be intense waves of intense emotion, like I expressed in the scribble below today. Scribbling messy words helped discharge intense emotions like anger.
Today I burnt 15 journals. Journals I had written during months of a mania episode after going back on medications for bipolar 1 disorder two years ago. I was encouraged by my psychiatrist to journal rather than blurt out all my disjointed thoughts on Facebook. So I filled over 20 books, mostly school exercise books and scrapbooks with colourful scribblings, often in felt tip pen rather than biro.
I had felt an extreme need to express myself at the time. I understood what I wrote, but it would have been complete nonsense to anyone else. Trauma was a recurring theme in amongst all the mind-maps, associations and symbolism. I was trying to process my trauma and calm my racing brain. Often my brain was racing too fast and was too disorganised to write, so I painted brightly coloured abstracts instead.
It's hard to find the words when I am depressed, but I will try anyway. I also don't feel like doing anything, including writing this, but I try to push through it. I first suffered depression in my late teens. I am now in my mid-forties. My diagnosis was changed from 'treatment resistant depression' and anxiety to bipolar 1 disorder, PTSD and social anxiety disorder. I want to try to describe what depression is like for me and some things that help.
"I think adults who paint are brave. They need support to shine." Sue Graham, artist.
Art was one of my favourite activities as a child. I have memories from kindergarten slapping on thick layers of brightly coloured paint at a stand up easel. I won a poster competition when I was around 10 years old. It was judged by a well-known landscape artist whom I met. She told me my poster stood out because of the colours and composition.
When I was a teenager, my art teacher at school said, 'you always paint differently according to what mood you're in.' I felt criticised but thought, 'isn't that the point?' The same teacher said, 'you're going to have a nervous breakdown one day.' She said it was because I was busy doing so many activities with no down time to rest.
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).