September 24th, 2016

blue pattern

Feeling ... something unpleasant

Been feeling weird lately: withdrawn, upset, unhappy, and just exhausted by everything. On Tuesday in the art room, at a loss for what to work on, I turned to my old stand-by, the self-portrait, because it often helps me figure out what's going on inside when I'm having trouble putting things into words or even identifying what's happening. This was the resulting watercolor:


I started out with the hair, which was cheerful enough, but then it all went pretty unpleasant from there. When I finished, I looked at it & thought, "Hmm. I'm apparently not doing that well." It's gratifying and interesting to me that art can be so effective at helping me figure out my emotions when they're confusing the heck out of me.

On Wednesday, my therapist asked me lots of questions, trying to explore what flavor of "unhappy," I was feeling, concerned that I might be slipping into depression, but I explained that depression (for me) tends to feel very passive, and I'm feeling pretty actively unhappy right now. There's an energy behind it, one that resulted in a very cranky, fight-picking email to my mom a couple days ago. With my therapist, I came to the conclusion that I'm angry, but I still feel pretty confused. Anger isn't a very comfortable emotion for me, as I tend to identify it with abuse and violence (since that's what anger always meant when I was young). I try to remind myself that anger isn't a good or bad thing in and of itself, that it's only if you react to it by mistreating others (or yourself) that it becomes a problem; but I think I'm still having trouble dealing with feeling angry, especially as there isn't anything currently happening in my life which I can pin down as a cause. I think it's all about past events.

I've been thinking about starting work again on my "Trauma Project," the collage book I started last year about the upsetting and damaging things that happened in my childhood. The first collage book I did, which focused on my reaction to my kidney disease diagnosis, really helped me express and process the opaque emotions I was having at the time. I think getting back to the Trauma Project might help with the stuff that's got me tied up in knots right now. But it's scary to contemplate, because it opens this whole upsetting can of emotional worms that has overwhelmed me in the past. But not opening that can of worms seems to leave me in this emotionally constipated place of confusion and vague, persistent unhappiness.