All the colours! I must have them.

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idlikemycrayonsbackplease

I have never understood why I had to give up my crayons. In fact, most people who know me will tell you that I didn’t. I knit, crochet, cut, glue, pin, sew, colour, and glitter, because it is within me to create. It always has been. My mother tells of how easy I was to occupy with paper, pencils, glue and scissors.

I haven’t gone far really but I suppose that when you find the thing that sings in your heart, you hold onto it no matter what. Or maybe we don’t because the voices of ‘others’ tell us the things we’re supposed to want. I think that is one of the roots of depression – no one wants to be wrong or strange or peculiar so we put away the things we love to fit our round peg into the square hole of social acceptance.

I’ve never been very good at staying with the proverbial pack. I never saw the point. Obviously this does not silence their voices or stop my own insecurities but it does give me something to come back to, and time and again I have seen society learn what I already knew – arts and crafts are good for the soul!

books

You have no idea how much I love that colouring for grown-ups has become so popular. So many books and no one thinks it’s weird when I buy the biggest box of Crayola colouring pencils I can find then buy a second, smaller set for my son.

ALL THE PENCILS

I have a lot of pencils. No, really. I even dug out the Duct tape and old cardboard boxes to make a container to sort them into colours. I think I hit the 500 mark this week though I have thinned out the ones I keep in my box to just the ones that I use (the ones that produce good colour and coverage) so there’s only about 200 in the box. But with this many colours I needed to catalogue them.

bigbookofcolour

Yes, I am this OCD.

And just like with my yarn, I think I have more colouring books than I have years enough to complete but that’s ok. Some of the pages are too ‘busy’ and just looking at them makes me feel tense so those don’t get coloured. Other pages I just don’t like. The vast majority of the pages in each book will get coloured but I have so many for a reason.

handbagbooks

There’s even a couple just for my handbag.

So far, I use coloured pencils exclusively though I do have some markers/pens. I’m still experimenting with them though.

Psychologists and psychiatrists recommend colouring as therapy. Even Carl Jung, one of the founders of modern psychology, recommended it.

An npr.org article titled ‘For Adults, coloring invites creativity and brings comfort‘ quotes clinical psychologist Kimberley Wulfert (everydayhealth.com):

“In coloring, you’ve got this physical sensation of the tool you’re using touching on the paper. You also have the feeling in your hands and fingers holding this tool, and moving in different rhythms as you fill in the space,” she says, adding that “you’re being mindful, and when you move in a rhythmic fashion for an extended period of time, that becomes a meditation.” 

To fill in the space, you have to think about it even if you treat the lines as optional. While you’re thinking about it – the individual colours, the overall look – you can’t be thinking about something else. Colouring takes you away from yourself for a little while and when you’re done, you’ve got something to show for it.

butterfly maze

In the last few months I have created a gallery I like well enough to want to put some of them up in my house. Find my virtual gallery is at deviantart.

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For the betterment of my mind

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Three months is a long time to spend in hospital and it messes with your head. Since coming home in January, I have faced a deeper type of depression than ever before as I try to reestablish myself. I will likely always be susceptible to pain in my abdomen from the damage my pancreas took. I will likely always live with the fear of the return of the indescribable pain that sent me back to the hospital. But in the more immediate future I am dealing with the frustration of waiting for my gall bladder to be removed. I have heard nothing from the doctors since February, despite my efforts to the contrary and this is amping up the fear that I will end up in hospital again with the same problem. It also means that despite increasing discomfort in my back, I won’t be going to the osteopath to get it sorted (it was immediately after my last appointment that this all started and though I’m not saying the treatment was the cause, I do worry that it shifted something that acted as a catalyst).

Logically, I know that I’m giving this all too much space in my head but emotionally… well, it’s not great. I find myself staring for hours at blank walls on bad days and there are more of those than ever. I find that often, any positive event is followed by a disproportionately low period. My ability to focus and concentrate is sporadic and very short. And worst of all, I find it difficult to enjoy my crafting in the same way which takes away most of my personal productivity.

I’m working with a therapist on CBT but I’m not sure, in fact I’m fairly certain that now is not the best time for this. I am already vulnerable and unsettled, and the trigger is something that I cannot resolve on my own.

I don’t know where I’m going with all of this, or even what it all means but I’m hoping that venting here will help me some.

I have a new long-term project. A friend in my knitting group showed us a crocheted blanket she was working on and my friend G and I decided to get the kit and make our own. She’ll need some crochet lessons but it’s a simple pattern repeated several times on every row so the paper pattern is really only needed for the colour order. It’s this pattern/kit by Attic24 (I have no affiliation with Wool Warehouse but can tell you that my order with them was a smooth transaction and arrived quickly).

I’m 2 rows in but have crocheted as much as three – I missed a stitch at the beginning of the first row but didn’t notice until I’d reached the end and I’m enjoying it a lot more than I expected to. 200 stitches is a lot more than I usually work with.

Things I’m trying to do to regain some control over my scatter brain :

* daily journal/planner that allows me to record mood, craft/education, tasks, cleaning and eating/medication.

* limiting the number of projects I work on for any given craft. For example, in my work bag I have 1 knitted shawl (Solar Flare), 1 knitting design (a headband and it’s variations), 1 art therapy colouring page, 1 large crochet project (ripple blanket). This is enough to keep me entertained and give me some choices but doesn’t overwhelm me (and some days, just choosing which coloured pencil to use is too much).

* going to therapy

* going to my knitting groups

* spending time with my friends outside those groups.

It probably looks like a pretty regular sort of plan to most of you. It’s a lot of hard work for me. Trying to rein in my attention is exhausting.