Are we happy it's not Monday? Hell, yeah. Now that I have weekends free to art, sleep and cuddle the Colonel (my cat) I understand that coutdown to Friday that everyone's been going on about for years! I used to work 7 days a week (retail - it makes ya grumpy) so resented the weekends JUST as much as any other day, but NOW......aaaah....... Friday........
Aaaaanyway...In this post I'm going to delve a little into how journaling helps to balance my mind and counteracts the negative effects that brainy-grot has on my life. It's just ONE reason that I journal, but it seems pertinent, and might be helpful to some readers, somewhere along the line. It's about finding a positive path.
Last week was a jumpy week, with a total of three full-on, clutch at the chest panic attacks. SUCH fun! I tend to get them in the evenings now when things are quiet and my mind has a chance to churn over the events of the day/week, real or imagined, but I managed a daytime one in there as well...they always seem worse, not sure why! They usually bring about a few nights of insomnia, and last week was no different in that regard, which THRILLS the Colonel, who, in his twisted kitty mind thinks that it's another DAY which means more 'nummy nippits' (our way of referring to his biscuit cat food). In order to distract him from nippit overdose I have to play chase with his favourite cat toys but in the midst of a panic attack that's just not an option, which means I can add clawed legs to the mix. Thank you, Colonel.
I was pleasantly surprised when. once I'd stopped gasping for breath and being gnawed on by my cat, my first port of call for salvation was my art desk and my journal. For once, I wasn't focussed on writing out my spiraling thoughts but instead grabbed pencils and pens and started to draw. Usually, if I'm using my art as a catharsis or a distraction it's a conscious direction, whereas this...just happened. And that's good, I think! I'm happy with it.
When my head spins, I generally retain very little cognitive memory...more a jumble of slightly surreal snapshots. I'm left physically drained but mentally separated from the cause so I feel quite disembodied and not in the greatest place, emotionally. This time round, the process of creating art - almost mindlessly - has left me with a 'trail of breadcrumbs' through the days, which means that, rather than feeling disconnected and slightly lost, I actually feel like I'm climbing out of a journey through a dark valley. It feels....better. Like I have a direction. Like I've achieved something. Survival. I know it sounds a little melodramatic, but that's how things are when brains go a bit squiffy. Anyone who's bi polar, suffered from depression or anxiety or any related issues will understand that melodrama is integral to these disorders. This time, rather than feeling like I'm sunk into quicksand, or am floating with no control in a vacuum I feel that my feet, though wobbly, are actually on firm ground and I'm not so lost or powerless.
This feeling normally comes after a significant amount of cognitive control has been exercised so it's noteworthy that this has happened mindlessly, without encouragement, sans pressure.
So why? Well.... I suspect strongly that the main reason is that I've journaled regularly, incorporating art, for a significant period of time now so it's acted as a kind of auto response....Stress therefore art journal. What's especially interesting is looking at the art I've made. Some of it's a snapshot of whatever my subconscious was struggling with. This is what I mean by 'breadcrumbs'. These things usually just go straight into the bin, but for what it's worth, I've decided to share some of the results with you. I hope you find them interesting.
I do have a memory of painting her. I think I used Gelatos and soluble pencils. Here are some close-ups -
So later that day....well, closer to the morning hours....
I think I got through that night quite well. Ok, so there are still rocks, and a crevass and bloody big bird of prey, but usually if I'm painting water it's because my mood's changing, or I'm dealing with some emotional crap. And it's sunny. Blue skies. Like I say, gooooooooooooo psychology! ha.
Going abstract. This was also gelatos and inktense pencils with wax and white acrylic paint. It's what's in the pots directly in front of my art spot. It's on packing paper, so thin and crinkly. I quite like it. Some close-ups -
And also on packing paper with crumples -
Not sure what I'll do with it, but here are close ups-
Concentric circles are a common one when my head's spinning. I like the colours though!
And in my journal? Well. I like to draw long scratchy doodles with my special scratchy nib pen. They draw my focus and eventually my brain goes blessedly blank. The subject matter is entirely intuitive. It just happens. Apparently, this time around, my head disappeared off into a fantasy world! Everyone seems quite happy though! Go figure!
Not everyone journals or uses art as a conscious catharsis, or therapy, and that's fine. This blog's about me and my work, and why I do what I do. I'm asked a LOT why I journal and what I get from it so I thought I'd address just one reason and subsequent benefit right now. I'm not saying that it's a cure-all for mental or emotional problems, but I hope it's useful or at least vaguely interesting as a point for consideration. I promised myself that this year I would take a step into trusting, so I'm sharing a little more that I otherwise might - I hope you don't mind or take any offense. And maybe I can encourage you to use your art to help you focus, to create your own links and strengthen the chain that you forge in your life.
Thank you as always for your time - I know you're busy so I REALLY appreciate it when you pop by. If you get a chance, you can leave me a comment to say hello and I'm interested in what you think - and if there's anything you want to ask me. You're all awesome! I'll be back soon with a fun arty exercise to help us loosen the grip on our inner perfectionist! See you soon -Shroo :) xxx
The Colonel is watching you....