Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Light Switch

Not long after or before my Walk of Doom (which is easier to say than attempted suicide) I posted about how frustrated I was that none of my talents or gifts work any more.

Then slowly things began to change.

About a week after my med change, I began to draw again. And then paint. And it came out beautifully.

Earlier this week, I became able to actively affect how I feel. For instance, today I have a fever, chills, and feel dizzy - and am choosing to enjoy the day instead of feeling miserable. I sat outside in the sun to warm up and enjoyed the sound of the birds, the feel of the wind, and the joy of my son riding his bike up and down the sidewalk.  I don't feel gray, empty, blah, or flat, instead I feel happy. Obviously my body needs to purge something, so I will let it go about its business and I will enjoy the small things.

Yesterday I received a phone call. It was an amazing phone call, truly a gift. I won't go into details, because it's very personal, but a light switch was flipped on. Today when I look out at the world, I don't just see green trees, blue sky, and houses. Today I see the life and the magic behind all that. Oh how I have missed being able to *feel* the world around me. I can feel the life, I can connect to it. I can feel the people and really see them again.

It's not exactly like the world had turned gray, but having that part of my life shut off felt like trying to breathe underwater. Today I can breathe. Today I can feel.

Is it because the meds are working? Hopefully, yes, and also because of the extra help I have received both spiritually and physically.

Is it because I've gone from a low phase into a manic phase? This question is worth serious consideration, and I don't have a definitive answer for it because all I can do is wait and see. But I am not expecting to go down so low again because now some of  my *real* tools are back in play.

It's only been a month since my lowest low. Since the day I honestly thought that returning Home was the right and correct thing to do. I am still stabilizing. I am still finding my footing, and working my way through the myriad of emotions that race through my mind. I still have fears and doubts and I still have a hard time handling basic things that used to be easy.

I'm not out of the tunnel yet, but the light at the end of it is getting bigger and brighter. Baby steps. Sometimes those baby steps are painful, but I am moving forward, readjusting, re-learning, and still living.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I am an introvert.

Yes, I am, I promise.

This surprises a great many people who know me, because I love people. Talking to complete strangers is not easy for me, especially when I have no idea what to say. But if I have a purpose, or a question to ask, or a comment, I can do THAT without issue. And if that's a starter for me, then I can usually keep up a conversation from there. And I usually enjoy myself once I get started.

Which means I'm not shy. Exactly. I feel shy a lot, but I know people who really are shy, and I do not have the same kind of obstacle they do.

My therapist says I'm an introvert who processes externally.

This explains why:

*  I can be around people on bad days, laugh a bunch with them and feel better.
*  I can write soul-baring diaryish blog entries about what I'm going through. I have to talk about it to process it, look at it, deal with it, and send it on its way.
*  I enjoy having things like Game Night and the occasional get-togethers.

Ok, *before* the social anxiety kicked in, I could handle bigger get togethers than I can now. Now any extra people in my house is hard, even if it's just one person.

However, all of the above considered, I still require:

*  Alone time to decompress
*  Time without people to just be, think, and feel.
*  A quiet place to be alone with my thoughts.
*  I like walking alone, but since my attempted Walk of Doom, I am not really allowed to go for walks by myself anymore. Which, you know, is understandable, all things considered.

I do not have a gazillion best friends. I *DO* have waaaay more male friends than female friends. Because girls are weird and I don't understand them. --It's probably why God sent me five daughters? So they'd confuse me even more??--   Anyway, the few female friends that I do have are dear, dear, dear, dear friends who know everything about me from the inside out. Very few people get past these mental walls of mine and see the real inner workings of my soul.

You wouldn't know it from a lot of my posts, but I really don't share everything. Because MINE.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Gross Happens

I was doing the dishes the other day and there was a bowl in the sink that was just icky. I have no idea what was in it or how long it had sat there. Because no, I am not one of those perfect parents who keeps the sink clear every day. When I rinsed it out and shoved it in the dishwasher, I wondered if Mike Rowe ever considered doing a Dirty Jobs episode on homes. One doesn't even have to have kids for this, especially if you have pets. As I have six kids, well, I have mostly kid stories.

Gross: When your son gets distracted by something while peeing and turns to look at it. Because when a potty training little boy turns, it's not just his head but his whole body that swivels, which then gets pee not only on the toilet, but also sprays the walls and floor and whatever else is nearby.

Gross: The leftover moldy bit of something hidden under a child's bed that is the source of that smell you've been wondering about for days.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Huh. Ribbons. I seem to love them.

Yep, ribbons. I can't explain it, I just seem to have a thing for them right now. So ok, a ribbon it is.

A firey, flamey golden ribbon if I have anything to do with it.  I'm mostly happy with this sketch. It's not perfect, and I see a couple of places where I need to exaggerate the ribbon, but that's all fixable.

Now, I get to transfer this to tracing paper to do color comps. I want to make sure I have the idea for the flames right *before* I start inking.

I wish, wish, wish I could photoshop bits of this image so I could move them and re-angle parts of them. Either I'm too lazy to erase all of it and start over, or I just need to leave them as is and make it work. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Being an Art Student

I have a degree in Illustration. That means I went to school and took all kinds of art classes, including  *gasp* figure drawing classes. Yes, most of the models were *louder gasp* nude.

There are several members of my family who consider all of those drawings porn.

I have never understood why. Seriously, Porn? Because I'm learning how to draw the human figure accurately? I'll be honest, while in those drawing classes, I was barely aware that it was a nude person up there while I was drawing.

I was focused on 'how does this muscle shape and curl around that bone?' 'what is the proportion of that leg to the torso?' 'if that's the shape they'er making, how exactly is the spine curving and what do I do to draw the pelvis correctly?'

It is/was all about accuracy, shadows, light, form, proportion, and how to blend charcoal and oils into accurate renderings.

Porn...pbbbth.  Instead, I have a reverence for the beauty of the human body. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

Now... if I were drawing something specifically to evoke a sexual response in someone, then sure, you could call it erotica or porn. Otherwise, TALK TO THE QUACKING HAND.

This is all in preface to my new art project. Because OMG nudity. *sigh*

So I'm a little annoyed, grumpy, and irritated at having to self-censor my artwork on FB so I don't have to hear the lectures from well-meaning helpers. I'm well aware that I could post it anyway, but that's more of a headache and I'm under orders from my psychiatrist to avoid stress.

Therefore, I am going to post pictures here of my project as I go. It's therapeutic for me to not only pour emotion into my drawings, but to put all of that out into the nether. (As evidenced by all my previous soul-baring blog posts.)

Today, I'm sharing the initial sketch. It's very rough and very not perfect. It's going to be some kind of phoenixish/fire something. Don't ask me what those ribbons are all about, I have no idea. Maybe I was playing with partial modesty? They may stay, they may go. It's again related to emotions I can't really explain.

BLUE??  yep. I forgot to change my camera's white balance. Ooops
I'm not thrilled with the arms right now, and am doing more roughs in my sketchbook to play with form. Also: it looks like she's wearing underwear, I know, but that's how the hips attach to the pelvic area. It won't look like that when done.

Why then did I put in on the huge drawing board already?  Because I needed to. It makes me itch to complete it when I see it there. And I have wonderful gummy erasers that fix anything needing fixing. haha :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I spent some time yesterday updating my 'portfolio' blog. I don't think I'd use it to apply for a job anywhere yet, but I added a lot of the stuff I worked on last year before all of my creativity disappeared.

If you're feeling bored, you're welcome to take a look:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Further progress

I'm so pleased that I have not only started an art project that means a lot to me, but have nearly finished it. It's taken me over 20 hours to work on this, and wow, it's kind of fun to see it evolve.

Day 3: I mixed gauche and ink together and painted the dragon. My 11 yr old daughter followed along and salted the paint as I worked around the dragon. I wanted to set the texture for the future scales. After all that had dried, I then went in and inked part of the butterfly. I wasn't sure how I wanted to do the dragon's head, so I left that alone.

Just a side note: That butterfly is NOT red. I can't get photoshop or my camera to get the pink and purple to show correctly, so... meh. You'll always see it as red digitally.

Yesterday (Friday April 17) I went in with ink and drew in the scales. And then, because my white gauche paint was all dried up, I mixed blue gauche and white acrylic and then used a small paint brush to add the white highlights to the scales. I am kind of pleased with the final effect.

Using the same blue, I colored in the butterfly. Originally I had in mind that I wanted the butterfly to look like it was merging with, or matching the dragon. But then I decided it needed to be it's own separate self. So I painted over some of the blue on the main wing of the butterfly. I just felt that the white looked better.

And then I did the head and horns of the dragon. It's difficult to see what I did with the horns in this picture, but I am pleased with how they turned out.

All that is left now is to add a background. If I had known what I was going to do with this when I started, I would have already had a background laid out. As it is, well, we'll see what happens.

I think this is one of the few colored pieces I have ever done that I am proud of. But maybe that's because it means something to me. I poured a lot of emotion into this one. It took a lot of patience and a lot of steps to complete.

I'll admit right now that patience in art is very hard for me, except when I'm working on a portrait. To learn that I can do it with other art is fascinating to me.

I have no idea which emotions I'll be exploring next. I have no idea if I'll attempt another dragon. Right now I'm going off my gut, and this is what came of it.

On a side note, someone offered me $20 for this piece. I am hoping that was a joke, because I sure laughed. At worst, it's worth at least $150. For me, it's priceless because of what it represents, and it is NOT for sale.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Arting Harder

As most of you know, I've found the lack of creativity and/or imagination very frustrating.

In the last two weeks since my attempted Walk of Doom, my meds have been changed, I've been on an emotional rollercoaster, and I've had plenty of time to think. And sleep. And think.

I think the new meds have started to work. I know this because this happened in my sketchbook a couple of days ago:

I was so excited I had to text the image to several of my friends. Because ART!!  I ARTED!!!

And then the next day, this happened in my 18x24" Drawing pad:

And for reasons unknown to me, I pulled out my ink set and began inking, not quite sure where I was going, or what the outcome would be.

1: I was ecstatic that I had an image in my head to begin with
2: It came out on paper nearly exactly as I'd imagined it.
3: When I made it much bigger for my giant art pad, it STILL came out like I imagined it.
4: And for the love of Pthalo Blue, I was playing with color! Holy milestones!


Now, just because my creativity has started to kick in, doesn't mean it's all the way back yet. I find myself going slower than I used to. I'm putting more emotion into this piece because there are some difficult things I feel, want, and dream that I cannot articulate. And as my brain connects or reconnects synapses and feelings and fingers, I find that I get emotionally exhausted as I work.

So this one is taking a lot longer for me to finish than normal, but I am ok with that.

I made a flub with the ink - my hand was a little wet, and the ink smudged on part of the... hair? wavy whatsits on the back? The next day I decided it looked cool and incorporated it into the picture with a damp paper towel, then inked over it.

Yesterday I bought colored ink for the butterfly. Today I woke up with an idea for texturing the scales of the dragon.

The important thing to me isn't how perfect it is, (because it isn't,) it's that I've made progress. Check it out:

The good student in me is screaming "AAACK!!  Off Balance!! Fix it!!!"  But the artist in me is insisting on patience. It'll get there. I know where and how the balance with the tail will be. I know where I need to adjust the inking on the tail. And Oh Holy Crap I hate that I inked the butterfly green. Ick. Double-ick. After I experiment with the scales on the dragon, I'll un-mask the butterfly and fix it, fix it, fix it. Because ew. And it's too close to the blue/black of the dragon ink. And it's just wrong. If I'm the butterfly in this pic --which I am I think-- I am NOT green. That is not my current color.

I'm not used to forcing myself to exercise patience in art. This is a new thing for me. But I kind of have to. After a few hours with ink and nibs, my brain says "Ok, done." And that's that. No more images, no more inspiration, no more ability to guide the pen in a coherent line or shape.

Part of my artistic self is still in hiding. I still can't envision someone else's dream or idea. I don't know if I could work on a timetable yet for the simple reason that I have no idea how long it will take me to finish my current project. I'm not even confident that I could draw something not related to my emotional state right now.

And that's ok. Healing, growing, and re-learning can't be forced. It comes when it comes. I think what's important here is that I'm trying. I haven't given up --on my creativity-- just because it got hard.

I still scribble in my sketchbook. I still attempt to work on my story, although no creative juices have started flowing in the fantasy/sci-fi direction yet. Which is ok. One project is good right now. I have hope that eventually I'll be able to regain all that I've lost.

Monday, April 13, 2015


I've had to look at some of my choices very closely in the last couple of weeks in an attempt to pinpoint self-destructive behavior. Some of the coping mechanisms I have used fall in this category. Some of the things I do in my free-time also qualify.

Sometimes I have to make choices that are for the overall good - you know, what's best for my family and kids. I can't *always* be selfish and just do what's best for me. Recently one of those choices has made me sad. I know it's for the best to say no to this, but it was one of those things that made me feel good. It wasn't good for me; *isn't* good for me; but I miss it.

However, the less destructive behavior I have - things that tear me down emotionally, physically, or spiritually - the better I will be.

Sometimes it's hard to choose the right.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


I saw my psychiatrist today. I spent a good part of the session answering questions like, "Define 'not functioning'" "Are you still having suicidal thoughts?" "Explain how you don't fit" "How's your anxiety?"

Obviously there were a lot more questions like that. And quite a lot of waaaah, poor me in there. He listened, he took notes, his voice was moderate and kind. And then he asked, "What can I do to help you?"

I shrugged and said, "I don't know if you can."

It was obvious that he then made up his mind. He began typing in his computer and said, "Ok, we are going to switch your medications. Hopefully we can reconnect you to your creativity again. But--" And here he turned and looked at me, quite seriously.  "You made an extremely poor choice that would have long lasting incredibly negative effects on your children, your family and friends. You need to find more effective coping skills to deal with frustration and stress. You NEED to get back into therapy. Find a way. You're extremely determined when you want to be, so you can make this happen. It needs to happen for your thought process to get back into alignment so you can see the difference between your choices."

Sometimes I need to be smacked upside the head with a wallop of reality. I had prayed and prayed that my doctor would be helped to know how to help me, and I needed to hear that.

And now, hours later, now I feel the shame. The "what in the world was I thinking???" has kicked in. The realization that my sweet, sweet children would have been traumatized and hurt - Would have been? no, HAVE been - putting it mildly. Scarred forever. What kind of mother does that to a child?

Well, obviously this mother. This mother who is struggling to control her thoughts, her feelings, and everything. I guess I just have to come to terms with the fact that I am not the one in control here. I have to have a little more faith than I have had.

It's extremely embarrassing and humiliating to see how wrong I was. At the time it felt like the only right decision. Tonight I don't even want to admit that it happened, but the whole world knows.

Guilt can be unhealthy, but it can also be a spur to be better, to make something right. I don't know how to make right the fact that I scared everyone - that I gave up. I can only hope that by continuing to try to be better, by still being here, those who I hurt can eventually decide to forgive me. Maybe I can learn to forgive myself for being weak.

The consequences are very real. One of my children won't look at or talk to me. Another is afraid to go to school because she's worried I won't be here when she gets back. Another cries over everything and holds on so tight when she hugs me, willing me to still be her rock. And yet another is angry and doesn't understand why I'd do that to her.

Oh, there are probably more consequences that I'm not aware of or that haven't cropped up yet. Some that are less obvious than the blisters, the sore legs and muscles. More than the emotional pain I've caused everyone around me.

I won't say I don't deserve this. Of course I deserve it. I may get to make a choice, but I don't get to pick the end result.

I will say that I will attempt to make things right. I know I'm limited in what I can do and what I can give, but I will do what I can. I have to struggle with down days and I may not be able to do everything, but I CAN, for crying out loud, be here.

Monday, April 6, 2015


I find it somewhat amusing that I can articulate how I'm feeling, but I can't seem to write fiction. Of course, I also find it extremely frustrating.

After Wednesday, as my husband was holding me super tight, afraid to let go, he said, "You should finish your book."

That was super awesome to hear. I'd never heard him be excited or supportive about that particular endeavor before. Not that he complained or said anything against it, but he hadn't been a cheerleader, either.

However, when I sit down and stare at the screen, I don't hear the character's voices. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm crazy, but when I'm in the middle of a writing streak, it's like I'm seeing a movie in my head. I can be each character and act out what they'd say and how they'd say it. I'd hear their voice, then I could put it into words on paper.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

On Politics and Religion

Politics:  Oh, hey, guess what? I have opinions about gun control, abortion, marriage, government, and all kinds of stuff. And I vote accordingly.  Hopefully you do, too. And I hope some of you have very different opinions than I, because it would totally suck and be boring if we all thought the same.

Religion: Yep. I totally am religious. I believe what I believe and I --very much imperfectly-- try to live it. I'm pretty sure there are millions, if not billions, of people who are also religious. And millions who would consider themselves spiritual, or agnostic, or atheist, or some other belief / non-belief 'label.' And how cool is that? All these different ideas, all these beautiful ways of seeing the world and life and each other.

So, yep. I have my opinions.  Hopefully you have yours. I love that you have yours. I'll believe what I believe over here, and hope, hope, hope that what you believe and choose makes you happy, too.

Can we be friends even if we're different?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

To be or not to be

Yesterday I hit my limit. I was done. -- well, to be honest, I still feel done, and am extremely angry that I'm still here.

I sent three texts. One to my daughter in Cedar City, one to my other daughter in Logan, and one to a friend of mine who never reads his texts. Just told them I loved them and that I was leaving. I didn't tell anyone else because I knew they'd stop me.

I left. I left the house, I left my phone, I left my kids, I left my purse. I left everything and started walking.

The clouds looked like wings, taunting me to fly away. As the sun set, they changed into a dragon, beckoning me forward. Pulling me.

I walked all the way to Antelope Island, wanting to go for a late night swim in the lake. That was my plan. None of the kids would find mom and have that memory. I could lay there and float and freeze.

Except I couldn't.

One of the biggest lakes on the planet, and I was walking through the dried up lake bed toward the island, and so help me, there was no lake. I could find mud, but no water.

So I cried and railed at God and hiked back to the road. By that time, I could feel how far I'd walked. I know people run that far or more, but I'm not one of the runners. I could feel it in my hips, every leg muscle, and especially my feet. Oh my feet hurt. But I plodded along on the road.

At one time I curled up on the side of the road just wanting to sleep. The gate was so far away. Probably a couple of miles. But I got up and pushed myself to get there. I mean, I had failed at leaving, I had failed at fighting my inner battles, I may as well go home and accept that life is what it is. And the temperature was dropping, the wind was blowing, and I could feel the cold seeping into my bones. Maybe I wouldn't make it home after all?

Cars passed. The moon was large and bright, so visibility was not a problem. More cars passed. I plodded along because an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Then a truck stopped.

"Are you ok?"

I could barely answer him. I didn't want to answer him, but I knew he was there for me. And yet I struggled to let him help me. His wife came over and they talked me into getting in the truck, then turned around and drove me to the gate. It was not a fast drive.

The guy insisted on calling my husband, and there I was, waiting for the ride home. I expected my husband to be so angry with me that he'd refuse to come get me. But no. He came, and he hugged me so hard.

Perhaps today isn't the day to be writing this. There isn't a happy ending yet. Everyone is glad I'm home and that I'm safe. I still find myself staring at the walls and wondering why I'm here.

My aunt says it's because my kids need me and I'm the only one who understands them. Some of the other comments I've seen or been sent have said it's because I'm loved and wanted. And it's true. I have a lot of friends who love me and like having me around.

Right now that all feels like obligations and it feels too hard.

Is my medication not working? Is that why I feel trapped in my head, trapped in my life, trapped in this body with no working talents?

I don't know. I really don't know. I know that I am so frustrated with everything, I'd rather burn in hell than live like this forever. Screaming kids, husband who doesn't understand -who tries, but just doesn't- a house I can't keep clean, and other obligations.

It's all too much. It's still all too much. Of course, I don't have a plan anymore. I don't have anywhere to go now where no one would think to look for me. And the only other options I can think of would hurt or traumatize someone else.

Yeah, hypocritical, I know, when my leaving and not being found traumatized my whole family and community of friends.

I made the choice. One must pay for one's choices. Part of my consequence is the extreme pain I have from the waist down. My feet are bruised, my toes are numb, and I can barely walk now without crying. I have several friends who are furious with me. Rightly so, and I expected that. I know I have family who will never understand.

I don't expect anyone to condone my actions. I made a choice. At this moment in time I don't regret it. I probably will another day.

This struggle is so hard. I'm so tired of fighting my emotions, of fighting the dark cloud, of trying to find the humor in every situation. I'm exhausted. Yet I'm still being pulled in every direction. Fix this, do that, "moooom, she looked at me."

yeah, this is all one -waaah, pity poor me- post. I should just suck it up and deal. But maybe, just maybe someone else will understand this blackness. Someone else will see this and say, "Yeah, me too. Hang in there, because yeah, it's hard."