I had a therapy session last week for PTSD. When I first started therapy, my emotions were shut down and I talked about trauma like I was a news reporter - factual without emotion. But last time I cried and cried.
I said, "I'm such a failure - failed in my career, can't work full-time, divorced, hardly see my son, own practically nothing."
The psychologist replied, "You're not a failure. You have bipolar disorder and trauma which has made things very difficult for you. You've been doing the best you can."
After the therapy session, I had vivid dreams and sleep hallucinations. The hallucinations are like intense dreams but I'm partly awake and have strong sensory sensations - they can be terrifying. Some of the imagery was metaphor of carrying a heavy load that threatened to throw me off a cliff. I haven't worked out how to let go of the heavy burden. But painting and writing helps me process things and I've come a long way since I was hospitalised and diagnosed with bipolar disorder four years ago at the age of 42, even though I've had symptoms since my late teens.
The day after the therapy session, I decided to do a painting. I hadn't painted in weeks because I struggled to do anything with an episode of depression. I wanted to try paint a bird. I'd only done a few digital paintings of birds in the past. I only recently picked up paint brushes after not having painted for many years.
I chose more muted colours than usual and used a reference photo of a Tui I took when I went for a walk around the botanical gardens. Painting is relaxing for me - quite meditative. I found it calming when my mind was manic and it has helped me process traumatic experiences on my own while I was waiting a long time to see a trauma psychologist.
I think the Tui looks a bit sad - mainly its eye. Its shoulders are hunched like it's carrying a heavy load. I painted it in autumn colours even though it's a summer composition. It's facing away from the viewer. I called it Mixed Seasons because it's like a mixture of seasons, much like mixed moods with bipolar. My paintings reflect my moods and emotions, even if I shut off my emotions. That's why I've found painting and writing to be therapeutic - it has expressed how I've felt, even if I've just splattered paint on paper or scribbled with a pen or typed a few paragraphs.
This Tui might be sad at times, but this Tui will find her voice to sing again.
30/4/2019 02:26:01 am
Love your blog!
30/4/2019 01:11:08 pm
Thank you. Appreciate the feedback.
Leave a Reply.
I am no longer blogging or vlogging as a mental health and disability advocate. The politics of it is too toxic for me.