Archive | April 2016

How Safe Is Your Emotional Health from your family?

You would probably normally not think of safeguarding yourself from your own family members. Your family are your loved ones. You’ve been together from the very beginning. Your sister, brother and your cousins are probably all your very best friends.

Anyone who is related to you would surely only want what’s best for you. They would never manipulate you, abuse your mistrust or use you for their own gain. They are your relatives, you share the same blood (often said about family in drama tv and movies). They are the safest people for you to rely on for emotional and physical support; they are always there for you.

Aren’t they?

Your sister wouldn’t try to get you to do her University assignments for her while she chats idly on her mobile to her friends. She would never act dumb and ask you tedious questions just to beg you to write down the answers for her cause she “can’t quite understand”. She wouldn’t then over-react when you try to make your excuses to go do something else in fear of her getting caught on the telephone while everyone thinks she is doing her work…? Would she?

Your cousin wouldn’t manipulate you into thinking other relatives think badly of you so that you don’t take up their time and energy, just so she could get all the attention she wants. She wouldn’t then go and expose your personal problems you’ve shared with her to get your other relatives to hate you if you try to expose her for what she’s done. She wouldn’t try to make you look like a bad person or try to help keep you sad or depressed if you try to improve yourself…

But these are the sorts of things friends have told me they have experienced, and I have had similar occurrences in my life also.

I’ve tried subtly requesting not to be treated badly, I’ve hinted at my becoming stronger and my no longer allowing people to use and abuse me. I even resorted to openly requesting certain relatives that certain behaviour had to stop. Though there are only a few people in our family circle that were openly and deliberately treating me badly, it is enough to make a person feel depressed and alone.

I questioned myself and why I felt upset and confused from encounters with certain relatives for years without realising that they were treating me badly and using me.

Once I improved my self confidence and worked on certain bad thinking habits I had formed about myself, I was able to see how I was being treated. I decided that enough was enough and I ended up cutting certain people from my life that just weren’t open to changing how they treated me.

As always I turn towards my crafts in solitude, but now I also have my wonderful husband and beautiful baby to consolidate me. I have had to keep several people in my family out of my life in order to remain happier, it’s been hard a bit lonelier. Sometimes I do feel sadness at having had to cut certain people from my life, but I know that I am a much happier, stress-free me!

I’ve always had trouble focussing on one single type of craft long enough to get really good at it and a majority of my craft work always got thrown out eventually or adapted to create something else. I don’t mind though, it’s the actual creative process that usually helps and uplifts me!

Mainly in the past I usually used my Fashion Design sketches to keep me happy, for approximately four or five years now, I’ve turned to Scrapbooking and other hand crafts.

I’ll post some of my design sketches into the gallery for everyone to see, though they are usually too dramatic to easily sew or sell, I really am proud of some of them! Then I’ll also start posting more of my craft projects for everyone to see! It’s always to get creative works out to encourage and help clear the mind from negative, annoying incidents in life!

© Crafty Divaz, [2012 – 2015]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Crafty Divaz with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Creativity helping Happiness

I was looking up information related to being mindful, creativity and how it all relates to our mental health. When I stumbled upon an article related to the literary and video work of Ms Elizabeth Gilbert.

Ms Elizabeth Gilbert has been promoting how to be creative and how to do it if you have mental health issues.

It seems that I’m not the only artist in the world that struggles with wanting to be creative and how hard it can be due to life circumstances. There seem to be more artists out there that struggle with the urge to create and opposing forces from outside as well as from their own negative emotions. Artists have to fight negative influence and consequences from outside forces as well as fighting their own negativity related to their creative efforts.

Ok, so if I’m not alone in all this. Why doesn’t knowing this make it any easier? That’s because only another artist will understand how other artists feel and think and then it’s only every individual that know’s the level of anguish they each go through. One person’s level of confidence and motivation might not match any other person’s…

Every individual needs different motivational techniques and prompts in order to continue working on their artwork. One person’s strategies might not work for other people. Every person’s fears and barriers that keep them from achieving their artistic goals may be different. Their reasons for whether or not they are able to overcome their fear’s and barriers will all be different too.

Ms Gilbert explains ways to push forward through bad mental issues to continue being creative. Pursuing creative endeavours is believed by many to encourage happiness. So what is it about creativity that stimulates the brain in ways that helps make us happy?

Repetitive manufacture of fulfilling creative art/craft work is believed to arbitrate depression and anxiety by stimulating the “accumbens-striatial-cortical” connection in the brain. This is based on a theory made by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi named “flow,” when a person “experiences complete concentration and absorption.” (Cathy Malchiodi, 2011)

This complete concentration is compared closely to meditation and yoga, which helps shut out any negative unwanted thoughts and emotions. These are the main reasons why art and creativity are closely linked to happiness and relaxation. There are many theories as to how and why creativity helps stimulate happiness, studies are being completed as more scientists want to delve into exactly how it helps create positivity.

We all need more positivity and happiness in our lives. How great it would be to harness our inner creativity to help manipulate ourselves to create more positive emotions, rather then having to be dependant on medications and other outside sources. Better to harness our energy towards positive, creative processes, then to allow ourselves to be consumed by negative, harmful thoughts and emotions.

For more information on exactly how art and craft help make you happy, and how to utilise them as self-therapy, post your interest and I will let you know when my upcoming E-Book comes out;“Beating The Blues: Beat Depression/Bipolar & Find Happiness with Art/Craft”.

 

References:
Online article by Douglas Eby (M.A./Psychology), CreativeLife Newsletter, “On fear and creativity and mental health”, 2016, http://talentdevelop.com/2344/elizabeth-gilbert-on-fear-and-creativity-and-mental-health/
John S. Allen, Apr 29, 2010, “Creativity, the brain, and evolution”, 
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/lives-the-brain/201004/creativity-the-brain-and-evolution

Scott Barry Kaufman, August 19, 2013, online article “The Real Neuroscience of Creativity”
(http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-real-neuroscience-of-creativity/)

Susan Scutti, Jan 4, 2016, “Emotion And Creativity: Jazz Improvisation Of Happiness Activates Different Brain Networks Than Sadness”, http://www.medicaldaily.com/emotion-and-creativity-jazz-improvisation-happiness-activates-different-brain-367718

Online article by dunekahnshillan, October 31, 2013, “A Summary of the Interaction Between Creativity, Personality, and Happiness.” 
https://dunekahnshillan.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/a-summary-of-the-interaction-between-creativity-personality-and-happiness/

Cathy Malchiodi, Sep 27, 2011, 
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/arts-and-health/201109/art-and-happiness

Dong, Guangheng, Yanbo Hu, and Xiao Lin. “Reward/Punishment Sensitivities Among Internet Addicts: Implications for Their Addictive Behaviors.” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 46 (October 2013): 139–145. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2013.07.007.

Desperate for my creative time!?

Ok, so it’s another one of those nights that I know I’m scheduled to post on my blog, but I have to watch our sleeping toddler. We are a co-sleeping family, so he’s so used to sleeping with atleast one of us with him that he wakes up if I try to leave him alone to sleep so I can be crafty and creative.

This means that I am really limited on what I can create as he also needs the room dark. If I choose to blog, I have to write and post from the ipad, which means high risk of errors.

I’ve also noticed that it can be pretty tricky at times trying to find and enough time and being able to focus on creative work while running a household and looking after kids. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to find time around doing household chores and answering requests from your family.

Even if you try to distract your kids or partner enough to get any work done, it can also be hard to get complete time alone so that you can consentrate. Other times, even if you manage to make time while everyone’s asleep etc, maybe you will also be too tired yourself or unable to focus from a busy brain still thinking overdrive about household and family issues.

Sometimes it can be a Godsend to be so busy, as it can also help reduce time for you to be thinking too many negative thoughts. Other times, it can be extra hard to wind down and really relax and not have to think anything tiring, draining or stressful.

For people that have a creative nature and find that they really do relax more when they are able to create, it can be down right annoying. Sometims you really do need some alone “me” time, it helps you to rethink anything you need to decide, or to avoid thinking or remembering any negative thoughts or memories. Sometimes you need to be a little selfish and either ask or make time for yourself.

If you find you have trouble letting go of thoughts about daily routine activities or events, take a relaxing hot bath or shower before attempting a creative session. Play some relaxing or motivational music to get yourself going. Try to be flexible on how you attempt to find time for your creative session.

If necessary, get family members incolved in some type of art or craft activity, that way you can remain in their presence and watch your chikdre etc. If you can’t manage to have one long creatice session, use short bursts of time and energy to do small creative tasks throughout the day.

There are many other ways to manage your time and energy to ensure you get your alone creative time. Make sure if you do really need to relax or be creatuve that you do what you can to get that much needed time.

Neglecting your needs and wants will create frustration and drain you of emotional and physical energy. Everyone needs to have atleast some of their wants and needs met once in a while, even stressed out parents and people with emotional stress or strain! So make sure you get your managerial feet in gear and ensure you get your crative time and space to yourself for a while, you’ll be happier for it.

Today I had another meltdown! It wasn’t pretty!

Alot of tears (almost 3 hrs), holding my head begging for the extraordinarily weird, headache and emotional pain to stop. About three phone calls begging my Mum to come and begging my husband to help me as well. This was how I spent my morning today.

Alot of people would perhaps laugh at a 37 year woman begging her mother and husband to help her. A person suffering the agony of a mental illness, on the other hand, may well understand at least some of what I was going through.

I’d had a pretty bad week with my husband. We argued alot over relatively silly topics.  As usual, it hadn’t gone too well with me. No matter how many times he tells me he’s never trying to be rude or not trying to upset me, I always get angry and sad.

My bipolar symptoms seem to manifest irritability in me for almost half the time. I try my best to remind myself not to be paranoid, but with my husband telling me off so often for forgetting certain household chores or not doing them well enough. It can be extremely hard to react calmly. It doesn’t exactly help when half the time he gets mad because I try hard not to argue with him by thinking or saying “it’s not that big a deal.” Even when I remember not to say the words, he always seems to know I’m thinking it, he says he can tell by my tone of voice or expression…?

Sometime other health issues can make your normal symptoms worse, my growing irritability and other symptoms usually always causes more trouble with my husband or my parents. Trouble with my husband always causes me the most pain and anguish. Fighting with my husband builds the most anxiety as I start believing that he possibly can’t really want to live and be married with me. I start obsessing with the idea that my husband’s complaints about my lack of housekeeping capability is due to his wanting me out of his life. How could anyone want to live and spend time with someone flawed and sick like me? How long will he put up with me and my symptoms?

This morning, my interpratation of my bipolar symptoms was to announce to my busband that I felt like I only have half a brain. My anxiety got so bad that I started talking nonsense and the second time I tried to repeat that “my head hurts”, instead of saying head I said “bread”.

My mum came over almost an hour and a half after my husband left for work, I agreed for him to go as he has to earn money for us on his own and he had an important client meeting today. By the time Mum arrived I had stopped crying. My headache from last night still wasn’t better despite my having had two panadols an hour before, but the tingly feeling in my head was considerably less.

Going to the shopping centre with Mum and our son helped distract me a little from my stress. It took about three or four hours after we’d gotten home from shopping for me to really start feeling better.

In the past, on days that I knew Mum might be busy, my husband and I both usually decide not to bother Mum and Dad. I have felt this bad before and not had Mum come over. Usually my husband stays with me for as long as he can and tries to calm me down to stop me from crying, then I usually feel such a burden that I normally tell him to go to work.

I don’t like to be on my own when I feel this bad, but I usually don’t try so hard to get someone to agree to stay with me as I did today. Today though, for some reason it felt worse then usual, today I just couldn’t stand the idea that no one seemed willing to stay with me to help me get through the emotional amd physical pain I felt.

Normally when on my own when I feel this bad, I keep searching for something to use to distract my aching, wired up mind. I look for things to do with our son or try watching different types of movies or tv shows, I try almost everything I can think of to distract myself. For me, it’s usually better to avoid thinking or talking too much about whatever topic caused me to freak out. Taking a hot shower or bath or taking a nap usually helps to calm me down a little, I also have to make sure I have enough to eat or drink to try to reduce the headache and ensure no new symptoms arise.

Tonight, I will eventually sleep, still with a slight headache which has continued since last night. Earlier today while shopping Mum suggested I try one of the vitamin type tablets available at the chemist that are made to reduce stress etc, I agreed to get advice from my gp as soon as possible. My husband also suggested this morning that we should consider the idea of discussing getting me back on some proper medication for the bipolar. At the moment I am considering both ideas, I plan to discuss with my husband the two ideas this weekend.

I’s all good to argue that we don’t want for me to be on prescription medication because of the side effects etc. If I really do need to be taking medication, and if it will help reduce or stop the symptoms I had to deal with today, at the moment I think I might consider taking them.

I wouldn’t wish these sorts of symptoms even on my worst enemies. These are some of the hardest symptoms of mental illness to live with.

These are the symptoms that make people want to hurt themselves just to avoid feeling them. This inner gut renching pain and sorrow are the worst, it’s utterly impossible to believe that anyone can love you or want you around. These are the symptoms that truly make a person doubt their own sanity. You simply can’t feel normal in these circumstances.

Even though I normally want to scream at “normal” people that having bipolar doesn’t mean a person is crazy. During these sorts of days, I start saying the opposite. I start to believe myself that perhaps there is something mot quite right in my head.

Sometims I just want out…

This is the sort of pain and symptoms mentally ill people have to deal and live with. These symptoms are totally out of a persons control. No one “wants” to feel like this. If we could avoid symptoms, thoughts and feelings like these, no one would actually be “diagnosed” with any mental illness to begin with.

While it is possible to manage bipolar symptoms without using medications. People have to be well aware and knowledgabke of the possibe risks they take with deciding not to take medications. You have to have a good, caring supoortive team of people willing to give you time and attention if and when you need it. You have to know if you are capable of dealing with the symptoms without putting yourself or others at risk.

Unfortunately most people that are not diagnosed with mental illness are normally unable to comprehend what it feels like to live with symptoms of mental illness. If only there was some way of really getting more people to actually see how devastating some of the symptoms are. If only there was more understanding and true compassion towards people living with the symptoms of mental illness…

IS it possible to manage Bipolar without medication?

Self Help Art-Therapy

I am back!! I had another one of my various months off from blogging/creating products! Again I had various family/personal issues to deal with in the family, my Bipolar symptoms flared up again.

Oh YES! I may have been a little shy about announcing that little problem!

My husband and I have even debating on whether or not I aught to go into detail. I feel that despite my husband fears on giving too much information away online. In the long term, I may be of more benefit to people if I do come out with it. Also, I am using my “online name” to blog and sell my items. If anyone in his or my family figure out who it is posting this blog or selling the products, frankly I am prepared to deal with it. If there’s a possibility of my helping even a few people, I’m old enough to deal with any consequences.

My symptoms do flare up pretty badly and sometimes unfortunately it takes me quite a while before I’m able to find my confidence and time management skills in order to be able to manage my housekeeping and blog/create products to try to sell to pay for my “self-art/craft therapy”.

I started connecting Art and Therapy from a Self-Help book I found in my local bookstore. Although I was never quite able to try all of the activities listed and described in the book, it reminded me of how much I love creating art/craft.

I made an effort never to completely give-up on creating art/craft since then and even though I have various months in the year where I may stop creating. So far I’ve always managed to remember how beneficial and how much fun it is and always get back to creating art/craft work.

For me, there are several benefits to creating art/craft pieces. There is the general enjoyment factor and it creates feelings of completion and accomplishment. I’ve also started learning how to accept negative comments or criticism about my work and I am fairly confident in continuing to create as I am able to see that not everyone likes the same sort of art/craft. It helps to see that it’s ok for not everyone to like my work, if I feel proud and happy with a piece of work, I am usually able to see that if it’s fairly well produced, there is always a chance that someone else in the world may still like it even if my immediate friends/family don’t.

Creating craft/art work is a form of distraction therapy for me, as I am able to keep a more clear mind from negative thoughts. As long as I am emotional healthy enough to focus on a piece of art/craft work, I am more easily able to keep at least some of the negative symptoms of mental health at bay. Any level of reducing mental health symptoms is always a God send and a miracle, especially if you are not taking any medication.

For approximately 5 years now I have been managing my Bipolar symptoms without any medication. I have my Husband, my Mother, one of my cousins and some of my friends (on and offline) as my main support group. I use mainly distraction methods to reduce anxiety/panic symptoms, which also help reduce negative symptoms. I also use various different breathing methods that I read in my self-help books and online, in order to help reduce anxiety/panic attacks. The simple theory of focusing on one part of your body, which is often easiest focussing on slowing down your breathing, really does work. I have used breathing and relaxation methods for more then 10 years since I first realised I was having panic attacks, and even though it can take a short while when you first try, it really does help focus a busy mind/body.

I have made a “habit” of trying to remember to stop allowing negative intrusive thoughts to take over my thought patterns. By “reminding” myself to stop thinking any negative thoughts that enter my brain, I pretty much try to refuse to allow myself to follow the negative train of thought. As long as you keep track of how bad your symptoms are, don’t allow yourself to be fooled into using alcohol/drugs or any other outside stimulants, I believe that it can be possible to manage majority of mental health symptoms without medication.

You do however, need to be extra vigilant and extra watchful of all and any negative symptoms that may be extra hard to avoid or stop. You need to ensure careful monitoring of how good/bad you feel. There is no point of self-care or self management of mental health issues if you ignore escalating negative symptoms that may be dangerous or harmful. You need to be extra careful to ensure that no negative symptom goes without investigation, if you are able to pin point and understand and reasonably control/reduce negative symptoms, you should be ok. There is no need to take any unnecessary risks, you always need to keep medical health practitioners updated on your situation, especially if you are not taking medication.