Took a moment…

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I took a moment today to be calm and relax.  This is the view of the lake from my car.  I had a mocha latte which is my reward for facing my fears.

I have been caught up in the bustle of every day errands.  Groceries and such.  And I’ve had anxiety.  So I listened to my subconscious and thought what am I anxious about.  What’s making my subconscious make me anxious.  It was fear.  Fear of my abuser.  He doesn’t know that I know that he raped me.  But he probably knows that I’ve been mentally ill.  You see his family has ties to friends of my mother’s.  However I am not friends with them.  So no one of my mother’s friends knows the reason for my mental illness.  So I am relatively safe.  But my fear now is what if he finds out?  Will he try to harm me or my family?  I have to be careful on Facebook I think.  I phoned the police.  I have to go in physically and talk to an officer.  I’m going to do that soon.  I have talked to an officer on the phone but he didn’t file a report.  I want it on record what my abuser did to me.  So I have to go in.

It took all of my courage to call the police on the phone.  Now, to protect myself and those I love, I have to go in physically.  I’m not as scared as I was to call.  So that’s a plus.

I have also been searching for a psychologist for therapy.  My benefits cover it luckily.  But it’s been hard going.  Some aren’t taking new patients.  I finally got through to one group of psychologists but I think that there is going to be a waiting list.  So we’ll see when I get an appointment.

All of this has been working in the back of my mind as I do errands and take care of myself.  I am exhausted but staying positive.  I took a moment today to reward myself.  Nature helped me recharge my batteries as it often does.  I just sat and looked over the lake.  Sipping my mocha latte.  I am walking at home now so I don’t get a view of the lake or the time to gaze over it.  I need that.  I’ve been missing that.  I instinctively knew that I needed something today so I took a moment.  Bought the mocha latte and went to the lake.

Take a moment.  Reward yourself for your hard work facing your anxiety.  Facing and surviving your illness.  Take a moment and spoil yourself!  Always keep fighting!


Canoe in Mist on Lake WIP.

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Miriam’s Art is sharing her Canoe in Mist on Lake WIP pastel painting.  It soothed her troubled mind to paint this painting.  She has a special technique for the black silhouette of the canoe.  Enjoy!

The black silhouette of the canoe catches the viewers eye immediately.  The yellow of the mist is not developed yet.  The black silhouette of the trees has been established.  The reflection on the water is yet to be done.

I am in a state of anxiety about seeing a psychologist.  I know that we will cover topics that will be difficult for me and my subconscious is making me aware of these topics.  Painting helped to still my mind.

I have also felt a little bit of anxiety about my art.  Art is a reflection of your passion.  Water inspires me and I have passion for a still lake.  I had thought that waves interested me.  Although they are beautiful, I am not passionate about them.  It took a discussion with my youngest daughter who is wise beyond her years to realize that I should paint my passion.  I am also passionate about animals, water droplets, flowers and about mothers and young, human or animal.  I plan to develop my passion in these subject areas further.

A used a special Rembrandt black pastel for the silhouette of the boat.  It is much darker than the regular pastel black.  The mist is in place.  Now I have to play around with it to make it believable.  The sun spot will be a challenge to do.

I was dealing with this anxiety about the psychologist and therefore didn’t post this week.  Forgive me.  My health comes first.


A healthy relationship.

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A healthy relationship is built on trust, respect and communication.  Slowly I heal.

This week and in the past weeks I have been working on setting boundaries, saying no, and what a healthy relationship is.  I found out at my drop-in center that I am a passive passive communicator.  I tend to avoid confrontation and put other’s needs before me.  There is hope as you can see in this article called 9 signs of passive behavior.  I tried to be more assertive with disastrous results.  I came across all wrong and got mad when I would have liked to educate instead of argue.  I had practiced saying no but then lost the argument when I said something negative afterwards.  It ended up in an argument.  Also the person is so used to me saying yes, that no was difficult for them to understand.  That’s part of the reason it ended up in an argument.  I will try to be more assertive in the future.  But I will use baby steps in saying no.  I will start with small “no”s and see how it goes.  Also if someone mocks me, I will try to say something right away.  I have my own struggles at home even though others may not see them.

Another thing that came up in the drop-in session was setting boundaries.  That’s part of saying no.  Establishing boundaries can be stressful and difficult but important in any relationship.  Be it with a partner, a family member or a friend.  Here is an article called 10 ways to build and preserve boundaries.  In it they discuss important points such as naming your limits, tuning into your feelings, being direct, giving yourself permission to set boundaries, practicing self-awareness, considering your past and present, making self-care a priority, seeking support, being assertive and starting small.  Give yourself permission to set boundaries.  If you feel uncomfortable chances are a boundary is being challenged.  Seek support in counseling for setting your boundaries and being assertive.  Be assertive in a respectful way.  And remember to start small.  This will build your confidence for those bigger boundaries.

We can think of boundaries protecting us and they form a circle around us.  In the center is you who needs privacy, an identity and has rights and choices.  In the next circle close to you are people of emotional closeness to you.  There is comfort, respect, flexibility, shared values, dependability,  balance, non-judgemental, sharing by choice, predictability, and unconditional love.  In a third outer circle are friends.  There is limited emotional closeness, shared interests, information exchange, mutual friendship, and camaraderie.  In the outer circle are people with no emotional closeness, strangers, acquaintances, people you choose to keep at arm’s length.

This is a work in progress for me.  And very difficult.  It tires me greatly to say no and to stand up for myself.  I had to stop and summarize in this blog what being passive and the need to be assertive meant to me.  Thank you for being there.  It really helped to write this blog.   Remember, when communicating, it’s what the right answer is for the situation and not who is right! 🙂

My healing journey…

Not much has happened.  I’m recovering from the stress of having visitors.  And the stress of my daughter moving.  But all in all I am doing well.

I just thought that I’d give you all an update.  I have been walking again.  It’s such a joy to be out in the fresh air.  The snow has virtually all melted though.  I tried to take a picture this morning and it didn’t work.  I’m not very techno savvy!  It’s unusually mild out.  Which makes it beautiful to walk.  However I am anxious about ice patches.  I did some shopping today. Then I decided to walk.  I am recuperating from the anxiety I felt when we had visitors from overseas.  I just blocked out the anxiety and survived, doing what I had to do.  But the fact that I am still tired shows me that I was anxious.

On top of that, one of my daughters is moving out.  She is a free spirit and my home always has a revolving door so I’m not angry at her but I am a bit worried.  She’ll be staying with a friend though.  I pray that goes well.

I’ve met a family from Finland who is staying in Canada.  They are my cousin’s friends.  Now I am a bit anxious about going out for coffee or inviting them to my home.  There’s a lot of anxiety involved in just going out into public places.  And even anxiety about inviting them here.  I don’t know what I’ll do.  We’ll see.

I was stressed yesterday.  Someone wanted a book review of my first book.  It’s not even published yet and I thought that it would be a spoiler alert if I wrote a book review.  My one daughter said just to write a summary.  So I did.  I was all out of whack yesterday because of it.  But it helped to talk to my daughter about it.  Voice your anxiety.  Sometimes just talking about it can help.

I was also anxious about my art.  Yesterday was an anxious day.  So I talked to my other daughter about my art.  I could change my focus from animals which I love doing to waves for example.  Waves would sell much better than animals.  But then am I selling my soul to make sales?  Also I am tempted to paint babies now that I have a grandchild.  So I was anxious about my dilemma of which painting to do next and if I should change my style.  So I asked my daughter which painting I should do next.  A jaguar, a baby or waves.  She said why don’t you do all three!  What a wonderful reply!  The sky’s the limit.  Of course I can do all three.  I didn’t even think of that!  What a joy it is to have someone to talk to!

I am relatively calm.  I have to buy all season tires for my car in the spring.  So I have to budget.  That’s making me anxious.  I have to look a couple of things up that I have been putting off.  But I finally wrote them down.  I am also applying for contests with my art and writing.  So all of this adds to my anxiety but it’s a welcome relief to be worried about everyday things instead of fearing something.  My fears have subsided quite a bit.  I am much more calm.  However there are still triggers to my initial fears.  I deal with them on a daily basis.  But I am much calmer now.  So slowly I am healing.

I have signed up for group therapy.  I plan to go to the drop-in center tomorrow if the snow storm isn’t too bad.  I missed it the last two weeks because we had visitors from Finland.  I was told that I can’t miss the group therapy though.  So I’ll have to remember that.

My daughter has asked me to babysit my grandson next week.  I hope that I don’t get too tired.  We’ll see.  It is such a joy to be with him.  Although driving has made me anxious.  If there’s a snowstorm then I hope my daughter will bring him here.  However it would be a lot easier to take care of him at his place.  All his toys are there.  I’m not really set up for a baby.  I should buy a playpen.  I might do that in the future.

So I’m making plans for the future.  Entering contests.  I don’t know if I have a chance to win.  A lady might be writing a magazine article about me!  Wow!  Things are looking up.

Never stop fighting…and remember talk about your anxiety with friends or loved ones.  You don’t have to say it’s your anxiety.  Just talk generally about what is worrying you.  You never know, they might have an idea that can help you!  🙂

Mother and Child Pastel Painting.

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Miriam’s Art is pleased to release her Mother and Child pastel painting.  This painting was done at a time when I was trying to rest although I was a bit stressed.  Enjoy!

The face of the mother draws the attention of the viewer immediately.  Then the eye flows down to the face of the child.  The blue of the baby’s blanket and mother’s shirt contrasts well with the yellow background.  As does the white of the faces.  The dark brown hair of the mother contrasts well with the yellow background.

As you know, we have visitors from overseas.  It has been a joy but also stressful.  I had to go out and buy the perfect gift from a Canadian.  I decided on maple syrup.  I started this portrait in the morning while I was trying to figure out what gift to buy.  So I was a bit stressed.  I lost myself in the painting and it soothed my anxiety.  When I had finished painting for the day, I had figured out what to buy.  I finished the portrait the next day after looking at it on my easel for a while.

Most of my family is overseas in Finland although I was born in Canada.  It makes it sad when people leave.  When will I see them again?  It was a joy to see my cousins and their children.  It made me fee whole.  I gave me a new sense of purpose.  I had to keep on healing so that I could see them again and enjoy their company!  Family is so important.

The painting was inspired by my grandson Erik and my daughter.  He is a good boy and a joy to hold.  I have a strong sense of everything being right in the world when I am with him.  I already love him deeply.  What a miracle and an honor.  Grandma!

This is my first portrait in pastels.  It’s a much easier and more forgiving medium than watercolor paints.  I am happy with the result.  The contour of the faces was easy to do.  I chose a yellow background since it contrasts well with blue.

If you have anxiety or depression, try coloring.  You can buy adult coloring books from Amazon or Chapters.  Pencil crayons are easy to find.  Buy a coloring book and let yourself go!  It will calm you!  Or you can start sketching.  A sketching pad and sketching pencil are relatively cheap and such a joy.  The more you do the better you will become.  Start with your favorite animal or scene.  Enjoy!

Resting and healing…

I am resting.  We still have lunch with my cousins to do.  I’ve been stressing to get them a gift that represents Canada so I’ve been busy.  But I haven’t been walking, knowing that I shouldn’t do too much.  So I had to go shopping the past few days to get just the right gift.  Light but something that says Canada.  So I bought them each some maple syrup in a plastic bottle instead of glass.  Glass might break my Mom said.  I am also giving one of them a small 4×4″ watercolor painting I did.  Hopefully they’ll like the gifts.  They brought us Finnish coffee and Finnish chocolate as well as licorice candy which I love.  They can’t fit much in their suitcases so we always buy small gifts.

I sketched this mother and child just before they came.  Again, my inspiration is my grandson Erik.  Such a joy!  The visitors loved him too.  He was such a good baby and slept for most of the first visit.  One of my second cousins held him as he slept.

I am reading a new book called The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.  It is a scientific explanation of depression and other mental illnesses.  Apparently I am producing too many stress hormones.  My system is all out of whack.  When I realized this, I felt a rush of fear just watching a tense part in a television show.  I had to do mindfulness for about half an hour to calm down.  So it is true!  I am producing too many stress hormones.  Hopefully this book will help me to calm that down.

I have learned not to get too tired.  So I’ve stopped walking this week.  Trying to rest.  Tomorrow I have to buy a fruit platter for the coffee date at my daughter’s place.  Along with Tim Horton’s coffee.  Finnish people love their coffee strong.

Hopefully your week is going well.  Remember if you know that you’re going to be stressed, make sure that you get extra rest.  You don’t want to overdo it.  Never stop fighting…:)

A relapse…a small blip but I’m OK!

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I had a small relapse along with severe anxiety.  But I’m OK!

My mother is coming over for a visit.  She lives in the same town as the person who abused me.  In fact she knows his family.  This was a trigger for me.  My inner demons raised their ugly head.  I knew that it wasn’t real!  I was extremely anxious.  But I kept telling myself that it was all in my head.  So it was me voicing my fears of what that person would say about me.  But he doesn’t know that I know.  Hopefully he never will.

I had gone for a longer walk than usual that day.  On top of that I had read for the whole afternoon.  It was a good book and I couldn’t put it down.  I know that reading tires me.  So I was tired.  Now I am being careful about how long I read.  It was scary but I used logic and my knowledge of my illness to guide me through it.  It wasn’t real!

I still have to talk to my counselor about it.  She hasn’t called me back.  But I figured out what the trigger was and that I was tired.  Slowly I heal…Never stop fighting!

Vision Board or Inspiration Board?

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I was lucky enough to be able to go to the drop-in group again today.  We made vision boards or inspiration boards.  Interesting and something I’ll look at every day.

A vision board has cut out pictures of your goals in life.  It’s a 12×18″ peice of bristol board with cutouts from magazines.  It represents your goals in life.  One of my goals was to travel.  Another one was to hike again.  The inspiration board holds pictures of inspiration to you and quotes that inspire you.  Why don’t you try making a vision or inspiration board for yourself.  Then hang it on your wall.  You could even frame it.  Look at it every day and keep your goals in mind or be inspired!  This drop-in session was a very positive experience.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m depressed on top of everything else.  Cleaning especially depresses me.  But I am working on doing more.  Before I let myself be spoiled and pampered but now I am actually cleaning more and doing more around the house.  Slowly I heal.  Self-care is another thing that gets let go when you have a depression.  I am showering more often.  If you notice that you are not as clean as you used to be, make an effort!  Take that shower.  Wash your hair!  Then concentrate on the good feeling you get once it’s done!  Slowly you will heal too.  But even this is tiring.  So make sure that you rest your mind during the day.  For me it’s the afternoons that I rest.  Then take one day a week where you do less.  For me that’s Sunday.  I might even start meditating on Sundays or doing yoga.  I’ll see.  Slowly I heal.  Slowly we heal.  As the Bipolar Writer says….never stop fighting!

I have posted my Wave pastel painting with an added touch.  I used a uni-ball Signo broad pen to add white highlights to the wave.  This makes this painting a multi-media painting since I used more than one medium to do it.  It helped in getting a glistening effect on the wave!  Painting has always helped my mood.  I loose myself to the painting and sometimes things that have been bothering come to light afterward or I even at times have solutions to things after painting.  Painting calms my mind and allows my subconscious to work on the problems facing me.

I also exercised this morning.  Shoveling snow!  It’s good exercise.  I have been depressed the last couple of days because I’ve been working more on the computer which tires me and I haven’t exercised.  On top of that my 17 year old cat is sick.  I might have to face the choice of putting him down.  He’s that old.  I spent yesterday afternoon with him in my arms watching television.  He seemed to need to be still and in my arms.  But he’s better today.  Getting around on his own.  Keep your fingers crossed!  I love that Old Man!  I call him Old Man now although his name is Echo.  He’s a black cat with one brown eye and one green eye.  A character through and through.

Keep on taking one step at a time and soon it will be one day at a time!

Exercise and Mental Health.

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Exercise can help anxiety and depression which are a few examples of mental health problems.  And it doesn’t have to be a full workout.  Enjoy!

It is a proven fact that getting out in nature in the fresh air and exercising can help relieve stress, depression and anxiety.  And it doesn’t have to be an all and out workout either.  Just a simple walk in the fresh air can help.  It releases endorphines and changes your mood by getting you out of what may well be contributing to your distress.

Endorphines are released when you exercise.  It’s often called a “runner’s high” and you are actually euphoric.  It affects your mood and your reaction to pain.  The more of a workout you have the more euphoric you are.

Don’t get me wrong a workout means different things to different people.  A person used to exercising has to work a lot harder to get to this euphoric stage.  Someone who is just starting to walk can get to this euphoric feeling by walking for an hour.  It doesn’t have to be a run that is hard on you.

Just taking a walk changes what we’re thinking about.  As does running.  It changes our perception of things.  It calms the mind on a stressful day.  And when we get back to our home we feel refreshed.  Able to better take on what that the world throws at us.

To make your exercise a habit start with one or two days a week.  Once you are regularly walking one or two days a week, add another day.  Try to walk at least an hour per day but if all you can do is half an hour then that’s good too.  Or you can run.  It’s up to you.

We are survivors.  Keep walking!  Keep running!



photo credit:  Bruno Nasciment on Unsplash

Learning to say “NO”.

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Sometimes you find yourself between a rock and a hard place.  You have to say NO.  But if you’ve been abused that word is a difficult one.  Learn how to say No and read on!

If you’re anything like me the word no feels foreign on your tongue.  It takes all your energy to be able to say that word and usually it comes out harshly because it’s so hard to say.  Or you feel exhausted since you’ve practiced how to say it over and over.  Stressing about it.  Well I’ve learned a way to help you.

If you “free-write” for 20 minutes about it all your arguments will come to you.  Free-writing is when you write for an allotted time and write without any sensor.  You write freely.  Anything that comes to mind.  If it’s your first time do it for ten minutes.  As you go along it will get easier and easier.  And I do mean set a timer!  It will force you to keep on writing and you’ll be amazed at what you discover.  Write about a particular person and saying no to that person.  I know you have at least one person that you need to say no to.  Then after 20 minutes your arguments will all be written down and it will be easier to say no and you’ll have the arguments to support you.

Then comes the action of actually say no.  So choose the place and time wisely.  And then let it rip!  Just come out and say it will all of your arguments already in your mind.  Then don’t spoil it by apologizing.  You have a right to say no.  You are strong.  You are a survivor!

Photocredit:  Luca Bravo on Unsplash