Drowning Monsters

Growing up surrounded by masked monsters it was inevitable I would unknowingly inherit some of their traits. As I gear up to talking at another mental health conference I have to balance what I write and say publicly to avoid becoming vulnerable to the tempers of abusers that squat at the very edges of my world. I understand why they are frightened and how that makes them dangerous. I’m not here for them. My responsibility is to keep my family little safe and to be happy.  Im doing, talking, making, writing for me. I do what I need to do to be happy, which in turn makes my family happy, that is what matters to me. I tried pouring from an empty cup and it almost destroyed me.

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I was unaware of my mental health needs, of the significance of my own traumas. I couldn’t see. It’s impossible to be accountable for your mistakes if you’re too busy avoiding or denying them. I was an empty cup that couldn’t protect my son,

that is the monster I became.

An empty void where he needed a containing safe place, emotionally unregulated when he needed stability. You can only parent what you know though, unless shit hits the fan so hard you have to change your approach or lose everything.I had been a reactive intuitive parent. I became depressed and non responsive. That is scary.  I understand where my responsibility starts and ends in this story. I do that often by inspecting how I feel, often with an ugly visual. I will continue to talk and visually explore the difficult parts of parenting and mental health, under the domestic abuse umbrella because it helps me to continue to make sense of it. I often draw myself at different ages, through different events, waves are a predominant motif that helps to convey different emotional states. When I talk about emotions it helps to have the sea as a reference. Very early on in my recovery I drew women battling sea monsters. Now I realise the monsters aren’t mythical and I can’t drown them, but I can be safe. What I’m discovering more often is that by being equally

vulnerable and courageous,

helps others do the same. To hear a similar story and see a positive outcome soothes us, makes us feel less isolated in our circumstances and less alone in the world. Feedback Mental Health  conference “Shedding the Light on Loneliness and Isolation” is a space that I can use to promote the tools I used to recover after crisis and re build throughout our recovery.  I built a village that serves us beautifully, because we are enough to be cared for and loved. Abuse can make you unable to believe you are valuable and worthy. I hope buy showing my ugly others will feel less ashamed and more able to seek help and

lean into the discomfort.

 

 

 

 

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Pain comes in waves.

I have anger, it is rarely seen or heard but it’s there and valid.

Often my anger comes from pain, it comes in waves. Just like watching the sea roll onto the shore, periodically there is a bigger wave that rolls in and if you’re not aware, you don’t know till you’re feet are wet.

I sit watching my life sometimes, I’m so greatful. Sometimes it’s shitty and unfair, but I can only control what I can control and I love how freeing that is.

I can’t hold an ocean.

I tried to hold a wave.

The only thing I can contain is myself and my babe.

That’s all, that’s enough.

Work in progress, oil on canvas, pretty big, 1×1.5m playing with layers.It will be finished by October because I want to put it in a pop up solo show.

Keep On Keeping On

#Trauma #depression #anxiety

There there isn’t a cure, there isn’t one pill, there isn’t one method to make the ongoing struggle of trauma disappear. It’s not fair but I is what it is. It looks like anxiety and depression but it’s different.

For quite a while I found it tricky to stay present in an authentic way. Trying to stay connected to the things that I wanted to be connected to, rather than connected to everything in a hypervigilant kind of way. After becoming aware I had been numb completely because I had been hypervigilant in a way that didn’t seem to bother me, I had to re-adjust to cope.

Anxiety wasn’t a thing for me except it really, really was. The short tempered, hot, anger explosions when leaving the house have now turned to just crying.

And that’s ok because I’m aware and I’m engaged with it. Sometimes I might cry because there’s too much and I can’t do it anymore and I have to stop. Then I realign myself and start again, I’m 4 years on becoming aware, from understanding where my difficulties came from and understood why I was stuck there. 4 years and I’m still working things out.

Trauma sticks and it sticks to your kids and it takes a lot of growing and peeling and gentle, meticulous, agitation to wash away the bits of crud that you can. There are parts of me that I will never be able to change some reactions, wires crossed or unplugged. I’m staying engaged with it, I’m not done yet. Finding my new normal is exhausting but I’d rather this than the than lust for escape.

That’s what I think it’s difficult for people to understand that it’s a process that it takes long time that once you start un peeling this stuff there’s more. There’s no cure and it just takes time, courage, acceptance and a bloody good village.

This is more than mindfulness and good wellbeing practice, it’s a bigger more complex project for you to take on.

If you’re looking for care or therapy keep trying, you might have to pay for it, all the more reason to work hard at it.

You are worth the hard work.

You are enough.

Hold on.

Without Waves

This painting is incredibly private, its one of the first where I was trying out full figures, and flesh with oils, I was attempting to stay true to some of my pencil and ink drawings. It hangs im my bedroom, unseen by the world but reflects back to me every day. A full circle of paired down concepts.

Last week I saw a brilliant woman courageously show her vulnerability and she rocked it 🖤 Lowestoft babe @kelllyannbrooks you are a massive source of awesome & I will never forget the strength and kindness you have given me.
Just last week ideas telling some one that you gave me your mum’s advice “just hug him, every day, just keep hugging him” And I do & always will as long as he’s happy for me to🖤🖤🖤 Mumming done right.

What ever you are sitting in or running from #youarenotalone there is some one who has seen it and felt it to, maybe not exactly the same but enough to share common ground and authentic empathy. You may only ever read about it, but some times thats enough.
This week Im spending time thinking how to best utilise my time and words when Stepping way out of my comfort zone, on my way to making big waves 🌊 Speaking at Shedding The Light conference in Lowestoft. 22ndJune

I’ll be telling parts of my own lived experience of struggles and how I over came them, with a little #creative breakout too. Looking forward to it.

https://www.facebook.com/event

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shedding-the-light-on-loneliness-and-isolation-tickets

⬆️ follow the links or search Facebook and eventbrite.