Last Call for Hallucinations

Wow, I’ve been away so long on an exciting vacation! Not really, I just got a job, saw some hippos swimming and listened to a woman in Victorian garb giving me one word answers.  One of those was a hallucination.

I fell asleep on the sofa and awoke to a woman in Victorian clothing, content to call my name and dispense advice in a three syllable word.  I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming, but I called out “what?” in a startled voice, and she just nodded her head and said “attrition.”

Well, of course I looked it up, and I absolutely chose the definition that works best for me:

at·tri·tion
əˈtriSH(ə)n/
noun

the action or process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of someone or something through sustained attack or pressure.

I tried to bargain with her in my head, because I knew she meant I needed to stop obsessing over some things, one thing in particular being a man, but I promised I would be ever vigilant about signs of a bipolar episode, never letting my guard down, always taking preventative measures.  She didn’t seem content until I acknowledged that it was the guy.

Did I listen to her, to myself, or whatever?  No.  I mean, I tried.  I really did.  But eventually I had to learn that I have some symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder as well, and that maybe it’s time to take it seriously.  That was in February, and I was a mess.   But hey, I’ve already had DBT therapy for bipolar, and it’s a suggested therapy for Borderline, so I’m thinking I got a bargain; two mental illnesses for the price of one therapy.

Those old time feelings of abandonment are creeping in with another relationship and I am handling it well.  I keep the image of the Victorian woman in my head as a reminder; I picture her smiling, showing off her newest dress sewn entirely in DBT diary cards.

Not so moody paper

For the last twenty years I’ve utilized the creative process to expunge the negative feelings I experienced; my work is neutral or dark in tone. Relationships, when depicted, seem twisted, and it was all very much needed and genuine at the time. But I am challenging myself to try something new. Brighter colors and a different kind of beauty that focuses less on past suffering and more toward joy. Maybe it will be a successful experiment, or maybe I won’t feel that I am in my own skin, but I think it’s worth a try.

I felt like I needed a guide, and I have always loved the work of Kelly Rae Roberts, so I have signed up for one of her e-courses. It doesn’t start until mid-February, but I am already excited about the possibilities and it is helping me with a very important DBT skill already.

As I am winding down with DBT therapy I am finding that my art is integrating the concepts and skills we use on a daily basis. One of those is opposite action, which is, as it sounds, mindfully choosing to behave in a way opposite of an emotion that isn’t effective. All emotions teach us something, but there is a difference between experiencing pain, and choosing to dwell in it, which leads to suffering.

I also chose Kelly Rae Robert’s e-course because there is a community section where participants will interact, and I have been longing for more of a community studio time without having to leave the comfort of my home studio. I am so excited to see if I am able to take her teachings and apply it to my own work, creating my own unique look that may have a thought provoking message for others.

creative goals

I’m an artist, a single mom and a person with bipolar. I use my blog to set creative goals, to talk about what inspires me, or express myself to get through what we call a bipolar “mixed state.”

I don’t know that I’m in a place where I can help others beyond saying I’ve been there too, I know how it feels to have bipolar, especially mixed states, to struggle, to achieve and then fall a few steps back. I do love to celebrate the moments when we are able to use what life throws our way to create beauty in the world.