My healing journey…

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Miriam now speaks of her healing journey.  I am challenging my fears.  I believe in them less!  There is still anxiety because part of me still thinks What If?  Slowly I heal.

The way that I am challenging fears is to use the forms that I have at my disposal to help me analyze my fears, rate them, analyze my belief in the, use positive counter statements and rate the belief in these positive counter statements.

I am using the Name Your Fear form and a new one called Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts found on page 216 of The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne.

Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts 500 pi

First I rated my fears in the following way for the general fear of going out:

Fear rating    Is it real?

  1. water flowers outside                                                                           3/10            Maybe?
  2. go for a short drive                                                                               5/10             No
  3. go for a long drive                                                                                 6/10             No
  4. give someone you love a ride                                                             7/10             Maybe?
  5. go shopping                                                                                            9/10             Maybe?

 

I gave someone I love a ride and I went shopping.  I’ve simplified my fears a little but the anxiety was real!

Then I used a Facing Your Fear form (shown below).  For the fear of giving someone I love a ride I rated it as a fear of 8/10 at the moment even though while I was just writing about it I would have rated it a 7/10.  The time to test this fear lasted a half hour.  I was not as scared coming home because I thought to myself that they’re not interested in me.  This positive rational thought helped me to be less anxious!  I even stopped at McDonald’s on the way home!  So I feared less.

Face Your Fears

Then I used the Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts and rated the fear I felt as an 8/10  (they use 100 but I’m using 10).  The automatic thought was they are going to get the person I love and my belief was an 8/10.  The positive rational thought was that they’re not interested in me.  This I rated as a 3.5/10.  The belief in the initial fear thought was changed to a 7/10 because of this positive rational thought.  The feeling after was one of relief that I believed in at a rating of 5/10.  So I still fear and I still believe that they are after me but the more I go out and see no positive reinforcement of that fear, the less I fear!  I did mindfulness while I was driving trying to relax my fear.

Another fear was to go out shopping.  I rated this fear as a 9/10.  The positive counter statement to this fear again is that they are not interested in you.  I called the Crisis Line last week and they helped me with my anxiety and the fear that organized crime was after me.  Firstly I am not rich and secondly I am not involved in crime or drugs.  The probability then that they are after me is low.  So the question is, is this fear real?  Is it true?  I would rate it as 6/10 as being true.  I still have to face my fears and go out to see if people are interested in me!  Only time will tell.

The Facing Fears Form rated the fear as a 9/10 and lasted 1.25 hours.  Only one person looked my way and might have been watching me.  I feared less on the way home.  If no one had looked my way I would have been more confident.  I had never seen the person before.  I would rate my fear of going out shopping now as an 8/10.

The Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts rated the fear as 9/10 with the automatic thought that they are going to get you and a belief of 9/10.  The positive rational response was that they are not interested in you and the belief in that was rated as 3.5/10.  The initial automatic response to the fear was rated as 8/10 after that.  And the feeling of relief was 6/10.

So analyzing my fear to see if it’s real or true is helping me.  When I go out I look for evidence that I am being followed.  As I progress, I think that I will see no evidence and fear less.  My inner instinct is to be cautious because I always ask myself What If?  What if they are after me and find and identify my family who I love?  Let alone myself?  So I have to be smart and safe to keep my family from harm!  I have to wait and make sure that I am not being followed and the only way to do this is to go out and test it!

My next step is to go shopping again.  I will observe and be very careful.  My life might depend on it.  I’ll keep you posted!

I phoned my counselor and talked for the first time, freely, about my fears.  She was very helpful.  She helped me talk about my anxiety and helped me to express my fears.  She agreed that organized crime was probably not after me!  I’ll have to wait and see.  She also suggested that I draw/paint a shield of courage for myself.  I have no idea what that would be but that’s my task for today.  I will sketch a shield of courage and then paint one!  Until next time…

 

 

Humpback and Baby Pastel Painting.

humpback with baby WPress 500 pi

Miriam’s Art is pleased to release her Humpback With Baby pastel painting.  I painted this on days of relative calm.  I am challenging some of my demons and it’s working out well!

The gentleness of the humpback is portrayed well in this painting.  Even though whales are the size of a half a football field the mother is tender towards her baby.  The deep black of the eyes attracts the eye to the humpback whales.  The white and grey of the underbelly contrasts well with the background of deep blue ocean.  The background of the water surface adds depth to the painting

I have come to the realization that my inner demons may all be in my mind.  Now there is relative calm.  This realization has stopped the inner demons some.  I am less stressed and more aware of my surroundings.  I heal slowly!

Painting the water surface was a challenge.  It was the same grey as the whales themselves.  Painting the deep blue of the ocean was also a challenge.  It was too much of the same color.  The eyes are a bit too stark but I wanted them to stand out to draw the eye to the whale.  The white and grey of the underbelly was easy to paint.  The top part of the humpbacks was a bit harder to paint.  All in all this was a challenging painting.

I chose to paint something different this time.  I have been concentrating on animal eyes and needed a change.  Also the blue of the ocean attracted me as it always does!  This painting will be part of my Whale Series.

This is a 12×18″ painting.  This painting is larger than the animal eye paintings that I have been painting recently.  Please see the “Shop” tab and then the “Portfolio” tab of my website for details (www.miriamsart.com).  As always you can reach me at miriamsart@outlook.com.  Enjoy!

My healing journey…

 

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  The meeting with the professional was a let down.  My anxiety is less as I face my own personal demons…my personal fears.  Slowly I heal.

I spoke with a lady who knows about making statements to the police about abuse.  Unfortunately my memories aren’t explicit enough to be considered by the police.  I don’t remember kissing or the sex act only my babysitter crouching over my half naked body.  I had been sleeping and woke up to that.  Had he been in the actual act of sex then I would have had a reason to go to the police.  I could try to remember more but my counselor has already told me that I don’t have to do that unless I want to.  I really don’t want to relive that time.  I am trying to forget it!  We’ll see however if my mind is happy with that.  Now when I do mindfulness often the thought of being raped floats into my mind.  My mind wants it to come out somehow.  Just how far I have to go for my mind to be calm I don’t know!  I’ll continue to work with my counselor.

I spoke of the Name Your Fear form last week.  I have been using that form.  What you have to do is take a fear and rate it.  Then ask yourself is it real or isn’t it.  If it isn’t then remember the positive counter statements every time that fear surfaces.  Remind yourself that it isn’t real.  If it is real, think of smaller steps that could bring you to that particular fear.  Smaller fears if you will.  Rate them.  Then take the lowest one and work on it.  By working on it I mean expose yourself to that fear and rate your feeling/fear on a scale of zero to ten.  As you repeatedly expose yourself to the fear with positive counter statements, your fear should subside slowly.  If it doesn’t then it is time to see a psychiatrist and get counseling.  Notice I use the word counseling.  Therapy without counseling is useless!  So unless you are able to talk about your fear, nothing is going to help you!  Once a lower rated fear has subsided to lets say a two or three out of ten, then it’s time to choose a higher rated fear and work on that.  In the same way expose yourself to the fear repeatedly.  Slowly your fear should subside especially if you are using positive counter statements.  If it doesn’t it’s time to talk to your psychiatrist or a counselor.  But at least you have identified a fear that you could discuss with them and work on further.  By positive counter statements I mean answers to questions like is this real? and has this ever happened before? and is this a proven fact?

Well it feels like a bit of an anticlimax.  I was ready to go to the police and now I can’t.  I will concentrate on celebrating my accomplishments rather than the negative aspects of my bad experience.  But I can’t block it in anymore.  I have a mental disability because of it.  I will continue to read The Courage to Heal and the Anxiety and Phobia workbook and see where that takes me.

I chose the picture above because I love the mountains.  This picture invokes in me a feeling of peace and awe.  A peace that I desperately crave.  Until next time…

Kitten Eye Pastel Painting.

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Miriam’s Art is pleased to release her Kitten Eye pastel painting.  This painting was done at a time of relative calm.  The eye was the focus.

The blue purple of the eye with it’s reflection immediately draws the eye of the viewer.  The reflection is contrasted beautifully by the dark purple of the eye.  The blue of the eye contrasts well with the dark purple and the black shadow.   The blue grey background is reflected in the eye as well.  The fur is secondary in the painting although the cute kitten nose attracts the eye as well.

I finished this painting earlier in the week during a time of relative calm.  I was beginning to realize that many of my fears were in my mind.  It was my mind making them real and a threat.  On Thursday however I had a difficult day but I had just finished most of this painting.  It was doubly difficult because I did not have art to fall back on as a coping mechanism since I hadn’t started anything new!  I was at a loss.

The technique of the eye was challenging in this painting.  It even has a reflection of a cat in a window!  Luckily the eye was large enough that I could get that detail in.  The fur could have been done better.  I have just realized that if I put down a lighter color then add the darker fur color on top then it has more depth.  The shadows of the nose could have been blended more but the shadow had to be defined too.  The background was too blue and I had to add grey to make it look better.  This is the last of close up eyes for a while.  I wanted to develop my technique.  Now it’s time to move on.

As usual this painting is smaller since it is only of the eye.  It would be considered a pet portrait.  To order use the 8×10″ print and comment in the comments that you wish the Kitten Eye painting.

Enjoy!

Name Your Fear.

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Miriam takes the time to write about her healing journey.  I talked to someone important and found out something new.  I created a Name Your Fear form.  I am slowly going forward.  Heal my friend heal.

I finally broke down and talked to my mother about my childhood.  I just told her that I had had a dream about that time.  I didn’t say whether it was a bad or a good dream.  It helped me to figure out what age I was when I had my bad experience.  I was only 1 1/2 years old.  I cry.  My soul cries.  My spirit writhes in anguish.  How could my babysitter do that!  Heal my friend heal.

I spoke to my counselor today.  She calmed me down.  One reaction of someone else was is it credible then if you were only 1 1/2 years old.  I have the memories.  It is real.  My counselor calmed me down.  She helped me think of sudoko, adult coloring books and mindfulness.  She also said that we would discuss more on Tuesday about the legal aspect of filing a third party report.  It doesn’t mean that we will go to court.  But it will be on record!

I have another dimension that I am dealing with.  It is my anxiety.  I have created a form called Name Your Fear.  On it you can list your fear and rate it from 0 to 10 and then there is a column that asks Is It Real?.  Here is a copy.

Name Your Fear short

The most important column is “Is It Real?”.  You can answer Yes or No.  No one in my long history of my illness has sat me down with a form like this.  No one has talked to me about my fears specifically.  And I have been ill for a long time.  Trying to cope with my anxiety and live a normal life.  “Is It Real?”.  Test your fear if it is safe to do so.  Is it real?  Ask yourself.  Open yourself up to the fact that it may not be real and that your anxiety exists only in your mind!  I have tested one fear.  And I will test it over and over again.  I am working on another fear.  I am trying to stay tuned with reality and figure out how much of my anxiety is in my mind.  This form will help.  Heal my friend heal.

Again, writing this blog has helped.  Hopefully it can help you too.  That is why I share my healing journey with all of you.

Sorry for the rant.  I am in a state of flux.  Of self discovery.  Of sadness.  Of mourning a childhood lost.  Until next time…

Red Panda Eyes Pastel Painting

red panda eyes 500 pi

Miriam’s Art is pleased to release her Red Panda Eyes pastel painting.  It is part of my Red Panda Series.  I painted this on a day of relative calm.

The eye is drawn to the reflections in the red panda’s eyes.  They dominate the painting.  The black surrounding the eyes contrasts well with the reflections.  The white of the nose is in the foreground.  The brown and red fur of the forehead is in the background.  The whiskers of the red panda contrast well with the fur and add another dimension.

I was calm when I painted.  This is one of my better paintings.  The old touch is back.  I had lost it for a while.  My inner demons are quiet.

I painted this painting on black 98 lb Canson paper for the contrast between the fur and the background.  Also fo the contrast around the eyes and in the nose.  It looks quite good.

This is a small 5.5 x 7″ painting that will be matted to a 12 x 18″ frame.  So the pricing is the same as for an 8 x 10″ print framed.  Please leave a comment that you wish to purchase the Red Panda Eyes pastel painting.  Enjoy!

My healing journey…

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  I have had a major breakthrough in my awareness of all that’s around me.  I am also assessing the damage of my abuse as a child.

It is so hard to write the word abuse.  It’s something that I try to hide from.  I have shame.  I feel dirty.  Yet what my babysitter did to me was not my fault!  I think that that was the hardest realization and the most freeing realization.  It wasn’t my fault.

I am mentally ill because I was abused as a child.  I am on disability.  I am not able to work.  I fear for my life.  That is how deep the anxiety goes!  My major breakthrough is that my fears may not be real.  What I have feared and the signs I had along the way to encourage the way I feel may just have been coincidence.  This is a major break through!  But how do you test it when even the ones you love might be in danger?!  You test it alone.  Without them being involved.

Today I went out and against all my instincts of self preservation, I went straight to the store and picked up some things.  I was testing if I was being followed.  I wore sunglasses just in case.  People seemed normal.  There was no obvious person that was following me or watching me.  Whew!  So when I got home I filled out my fear ladder.  And rated my fear as well as the event of going out.  You can read more about the fear ladder in this post.  So my fear is about an 8/10 with ten being the worst fear I can imagine.  It went well but was too short for me to be sure.  In addition I have to repeat going out like this more than once to be more sure that I am not being followed.  My psychiatrists response was to increase my medication dose and he had no comments on how to help me to know if my fears were real.  I have to rely on the Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Bourne.  It seems alright but to protect the ones I love I still have to be careful.

On another note I am also assessing the damage of my abuse.  There I said the word.  It’s a word people cringe from.  Forgive me.  The most damage has been in my self-esteem, my feelings and my body.  I have low self-esteem, I am numb and find it hard to cry, and I am overweight.  I have problems nurturing myself.  What I found interesting was that my sexuality has not been affected although I tend to be attracted to manipulators and men who don’t respect me.  I am also too obedient towards my lover and allow him to take over my personality.  Recently my family relations have suffered greatly from my mental illness.  I am extremely sad about this.  Hopefully they will respect me and allow me to heal at my own pace.  It is slow and painful and takes all of my courage.  I am using the book The Courage to Heal Workbook by Davis.

I have to wait until next week to talk with the professional about filing a police report.  We’ll be talking on Tuesday.  Then I think that I will make a report so that it’s on record what that babysitter did but also to protect myself.  What if after all these years he finds out that I know?!  What could or would he do!  Therein lies another fear.  For myself and my loved ones.

In addition I have decided to ask my mother about dates when the babysitter was taking care of me.  I won’t tell her about the abuse.  I’ll just say that I’ve been having bad dreams.  My mother is too old and fragile.  I don’t want to bother her about this!

Major changes.  Major hurdles.  All requiring courage.  The courage to heal.  I thank God for my counselor and the two books that I am reading.  The healing journey is a difficult one.  Hopefully this post has helped someone.  It had really helped me to heal.  Thank you.  I am posting Tuesdays now instead of Mondays.  Mondays are just too busy for me.  Until next time…

Cougar Eye Pastel Painting.

cougar eye 500 pi

Miriam’s Art is pleased to release her Cougar Eye pastel painting.  I painted this on days of relative calm.  It was a joy!

The green of the cougar eye attracts the viewer immediately.  It draws the viewers eye to it.  The white fur around the eye contrasts well with the green.  The brown and white fur of the cougar make up the rest of the painting.

I painted this on days of relative calm.  I was free of all demons.

The eye was relatively easy to paint.  The white and black line add well to the reflection in the eye.  The fur was more difficult.  I spent a lot of time on it.  It worked out well.  The contrasting color had to be laid down last.  It was a lot of work.

This is a 12×18″ painting and available for purchase.  Please see the Shop and Portfolio section.  Enjoy!

 

My healing journey…

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Miriam shares about her healing journey.  There is calm.  I new breakthrough.  Some of my fears have all been in my mind.  Not real.  I think?

Today has been a day of calm yet with a little bit of anxiety.  I am calm.  I painted without too many distractions.  It was quiet.  So much so that it worries me.  Go figure…

A major breakthrough.  If it’s true.  So there is calm as my mind adjusts to this new reality.  I thought that I had proof about something.  But it may have all been just chance.  Maybe it was random and didn’t prove anything.  This is mind blowing.  If so then I am not in as much danger as I thought I was in.  I am safe.  But I have to be careful.  I have to be sure.  The only way to do this is to relax a little and be very observant and cautious.  So I have relaxed.  And it is quiet.  The new demons have been quiet.  The demons of the past have been almost as quiet.  When I sit still with nothing to do, my mind wanders and the demons are present.  If I am busy they are not as present.  I guess that means that I should just keep busy.  But that too is avoidance in a way.  I have to find the underlying reason for the demons.  One demon I am sure of.  I know exactly why it’s there.  The other demons I am not sure of.  So I relax and enjoy this day of relative calm.  I will be careful, cautious and observant.  Maybe it is true.  Maybe that part of my anxiety was all in my mind!  Wow!

Heal my friend heal.

 

Negative Self Talk Continued.

person anxiety 500 pi

Miriam speaks about her continued healing journey and negative self talk.  Her negative self talk is so ingrained that it is hard to recognize it.  So much so that she stopped thinking about it.  It is there however and needs to be dealt with!

I had a previous post on negative self talk.  It can be found here.  I was discouraged because my negative self talk is so ingrained in me that I short circuit to negative ideas without recognizing the negative self talk.  The way to counteract it is to have positive counter statements as I have said before.  However, if you are unaware of the negative self talk this is hard to do.  With practice however it is possible.  It is like exercising.  You have to slowly go through it and lift the weights (use the Worry Worksheet…see Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Bourne and my previous post) and slowly get your mind used to using the counterstatements.  It helps if you write it down.  Another form called Daily Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts is recommended.  The headings in the form are:

Date,

Situation:  1. Actual event or 2. Stream of thoughts leading to an unpleasant emotion.

Emotional:  1. Be specific ie sad, happy and 2. Rate the degree of emotion 0 – 100.

Automatic Thoughts:  1. Automatic thoughts that came before the emotion and 2. Rate the belief in the automatic thoughts 0 – 100.

Rational Response:  1. Rational thought to automatic thought and 2. rate belief in the rational thought 0 – 100.

Outcome:  1. Rerate belief in automatic though 0 – 100 and 2.  List and rate your subsequent emotions 0 – 100.

A jpeg file of the form is found below:

Record of Dysfunctional Thoughts 500 pi

But it takes practice.  Just like exercise.  You have to do it over and over again.  The more often you do it the better you get at doing it!

The book goes on to say that there are three things that you should do if you feel yourself getting anxious or getting negative self talk.  They are:

  •  Notice that you are now doing negative self talk.  This happens when you are feeling depressed, anxious, self critical or upset.
  • Stop.  Ask yourself a) what am I telling myself to feel this way, b) do I really want to do this to me and c) do I really want to continue on being mad.
  • Relax and do something else.  Meditate, clean the house, exercise, read etc.

I have taken a step to the side in my healing journey.  I have to first name the abuser before I can continue healing the proper way.  The professional I wanted to talk to is away on holiday so I can’t do that this week.  So I opted for the Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.  I read either one of the two main books that I’ve told you about.  The other is The Courage to Heal (with a workbook too).  When one is too much, I read the other one!  As long as I keep going forward.  I have promised a loved one that I will work on this and heal and survive.  So it’s important to me.

Hopefully this post has helped some along their own path of healing.  That is why I post on this delicate subject.  Enjoy!  I will be posting Tuesdays now instead of Mondays.  It just works better for me.  Sometimes I will post Thursday evenings.  I will always try to post on Saturday.  Until next time!