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perkreations

Honesty about creativity, art, mental illness, grief, feminism, human rights and chronic pain with a healthy dose of sarcasm

Month

October 2016

What are the Consequences of Destigmatizing Mental Illness ?

I have put myself out there. Out there into the ether of cyberspace, never to be reeled back in. I’ve laid myself, my psychee, bare for all to see and what’s true about me is nowhere near perfect or ‘normal’. Whatever normal means I’m not it.

This is me. I am more than my depression and anxiety. 

So far nothing negative has come of my blogging, in fact overall it’s been a great cathartic adventure, but I have this niggling worry. What if in the future I am judged for this writing and perhaps denied a job or prejudiced against in some other manner? Unfortunately the stigma surrounding mental illness is still alive and well and I cannot predict possible outcomes stemming from the information I’ve revealed.

I suppose it’s too late to worry about what I’ve put out into the world already. I cannot unbake this cake and, to be honest, I don’t want to. Despite the possible negative possibilities I’ve decided I want to keep communicating and expressing myself via the blog medium.

The more people join the conversation and share their experiences, the closer we get to smashing the stigma surrounding mental illness. I encourage others to become soldiers in the growing army raising awareness about the importance of mental health. Let’s hold our heads high and show the world we are so much more than an illness to be judged.

K


Nasty Chicks Get Stuff Done

That is all.

K

Passion Practice 

Author Malcolm Gladwell posits to gain expertise at something one must put in roughly 10,000 hours of practice and study.

I believe I have my 10,000 in many aspects of curling. I believe I have roughly 10,000 hours accumulated in writing and reading but I feel I could do with another 50,000 hours of study before obtaining the expertise in literature and how to craft prose without sounding like a poseur. 

I was recently asked by someone trying to get a feel for how serious I am about art,”When did you last make art?,”  

I immediately replied, “last night before bed. I try to practice drawing and/or painting every day.”

I’ve been asked about this too with regards to writing and the answer is generally the same. I work hard to practice whatever I want to gain skill at every single day whenever possible because, for me, this is what keeps me moving closer to competence and , eventually, expertise. 

I find my confidence grows the more I practice. I try to vary my studies. I read a bizarrely broad range of books. I try writing in as many genres as possible. With art I experiment with as many different mediums and styles as I can.

Sure there is reading material I prefer but I try to mix it up in order to see what I might be missing. I am often surprised to find myself enjoying things I felt skeptical about at first.

There are also styles of writing I enjoy but I try everything from Haiku to science fiction. Again I am always surprised to find myself enjoying an unexpected new writing style. Art is also always surprising me. The more I learn, the more I grow to llove the practice.  

My wish is that everyone has a chance to work towards exploration, achievement, and advanced knowledge in whatever one finds a passion for, be it anything from plumbing to flower arranging.

Knowledge is power, skills are transferable and practice is a huge part of growing and learning and stoking the passion within us all.

K

Still Here

Almost a year since twilight set in and settled round my shoulders, soon turning my world a shade of pitch black I couldn’t bare. Yet I am still here. Huzzah!

Not sure who to credit with is brilliant photo but I’m using it anyway because it is so fitting. If anyone knows the artist please let me know so I can give credit where it is due.

My Mom’s birthday is November 21st and last year my heavy depression coupled with an unbearable sense of grief drove me to near madness. I spiraled down deep into depths of hopelessness I never thought possible.

Those dark days led me to self harm, suicidal thoughts, and rock bottom levels of self loathing. I cried rivers and affected a zombie-like 1000 mile stare. I’ve never felt so lost.

Checking into the psychiatric ward was the best thing I could have done. I think it saved my life. I realized the therapy I was receiving as an out patient wasn’t enough and even though I didn’t think I deserved help I managed to force myself to seek it.

Staring down the barrel of the anniversary of my breakdown is confusing to say the least. On one hand I am feeling stronger and am proud of how far I’ve come, on the other I fear the triggers from last year will seep back in and rob me of the light once again.

The important thing is I’m still here. I’m still fighting. So bring it on fate! If I’m destined to keep slaying the dragons of mental illness I will with all the strength I can muster. And should I falter again sometime in the future, so be it, I will just keep getting up again and again until the last beast is slain.

K

Fatherly Advice

My Father has reminded me of this, with much love, compassion and sarcasm, for as long as I remember. He’s a man of few words but always humorous and wise. 

K

Meditative Drawing

I have been drawing these little bird characters off and on for about 6 years. I call them Strange Birds (kinda like me😉) and when I draw them in mass quantities they seem to put me into a semi-meditative state. While in this state I feel less pain, less anxiety, less depression and less grief.

Here is an example of a partially finished piece at the beak colouring stage. From here I will move on to add colour and more personality to each bird. Even making colour decisions has a calming effect.

Is this actually meditation? Perhaps not conventionally, but it works for me so I’m not going to knock it!

K

Finish Line

There’s something deeply satisfying about finishing. Finishing is a battle. I’ve learned I hate my art and my writing most right before I turn the corner and finish. 

It’s a struggle to stay with a project I think is nothing more than tripe, fit for no eyes or ears lest the looker/listener cry out in pain from the hideousness of it all (dramatically collapses on fainting chaise lounge).

The satisfying part is when I push and finally see the ugly duckling turn into a swan. There’re few better feelings than signing a piece of art work or seeing one’s byline in print because finishing is incredibly satisfying. 

The painting above is one I began a month or so ago. I showed a picture of it halfway finished at the I-fucking- hate-this-painting-and-can’t-believe- I’ve-wasted-so-much-time-on-it  (dramatic foot stomp and pout) stage. Truth be told that blog, entitled Finding A-MUSE-ment, was written, in part, to help me find the strength to power through and finish!

The finished painting above is titled Espressoscape as I cured the canvas in roughly 10 layers of coffee and espresso to start. I then used both coffee, espresso and acrylic ink for about another 10 layers for both light and dark areas, the shadows were laid in last with about 5 layers of espresso. It smells like the dreams of a Gilmore Girl❤❤❤

It was a really interesting project as I was making it up as I went along. I’m working on another similar and experimental piece where the canvas is cured in a combo of coffee, espresso and red wine. I’ll let you know how it works out😊

K

Are You, Unwittingly, Not Claiming Your Experience as Your Own?

“When I have a panic attack it feels like _____.”

Only one tiny word alteration changes how this sentence will be perceived, either consciously or unconsciously. Behold:

“When you have a a panic attack it feels like _____.”

Take a moment and think how each sentence makes you feel. Take another moment to consider the language you typically use?

Up until a few years ago when I entered group and individual therapy this extreme difference had never really had never given me pause. I was guilty of using you statements instead of I statements. The difference just hadn’t occurred to me until it was pointed out.

Once it was pointed out to me the gravity of such a small difference began to sink in and I began to notice it everywhere; in movies, TV shows, interviews on the news, in writing and everyday speech.

Unwittinly and without malice, many people are guilty of projecting their views and feelings onto others. Doing this, instead of recognizing the need to assume all viewpoints are subject to the unique thoughts and paradigm of each individual, can have a powerful effect on our psyche as individuals.  

As soon as I began to speak in I feel and in my experience type statements I began to notice significant and important changes in my interpersonal relationships. Others seemed more open to sharing their unique experiences and viewpoints. I also began to see my thoughts and opinions as important and, very much, my own, authentic.

If you haven’t already adopted this type of language shift I encourage you to give it a try. To start with, just listening to how others tell stories is helpful. Once the you epidemic is heard it can never be unheard and it is everywhere. 

Try slowly shifting your language to embrace taking ownership of your opinions and ideas as uniquely yours. I found, for me, it took a while to adopt this virtually all the time but the sense of accomplishment and, overall sense of authentic me-ness was worth the effort!

Remember we cannot change the actions and words of others but we do have the power to change ourselves.

I challenge you to try practicing the above dearest readers and let me know how this change makes you feel or let me know if you think this is just psychobabble hogwash😉

K

Make Memories While You Can

I am missing my a lot Mom lately. Triggers are the beginning of the curling season, her birthday drawing closer, baking carrot cake with cream cheese icing, watching the first snowfall, and drinking from the Bette Midler mug she bought me after see the Divine Miss M in concert. 

My favorite sweater of my Mom’s and my well loved moccasins. 

When I miss her like this I try to gather her to me as best I can. I pull on the tatty old sweater my Grandmother knitted her years ago. It was my favorite thing to borrow when I got cold while visiting her and now it is mine.

I also pull on the moccasins she bought me for Christmas in Yellowknife when I was about 14. They have stretched perfect to fit my feet and still smell of that delicious, warm scent that goes along with tanned hide.

I cry a little and choke up a lot as I remember all the good times we shared. It sinks in, yet again, there will be no more chances for the two of us to make more memories together. 

I try to carry this knowledge with me when engaging with other loved ones. Make memories together now. Don’t waste time waiting for the perfect moment. The perfect moment is now. 

Get together, love each other.❤❤❤ Live as though there’s no time to spare because eventually there won’t be time to spare.

K

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