abstract, abstractexpressiomism, acrylics, anxiety, art, art therapy, artist, bipolar, chronic illness, colorful, contemporary art, depression, fibromyalgia, fine art, health, mental illness, modern art, painting, spinal stenosis, traditional art

Mental health and an abstract painting

 I found out this morning that because of insurance issues I can’t see my psychiatrist of 15 years anymore. The same is true for my therapist. They have covered these things for all this time. 

All of the mental health help I was considered out of network. They changed the the policy to be that out of network mental health coverage is no longer covered at all. Each of the various appointments are at least $400.

Obviously that’s not an option. I don’t know what to do. I guess I’ll ask my Dr and therapist for recommendations of Drs that are in network.

I can’t believe it. Anyone that who is treated for mental illness will understand why I am so upset.

I am overwhelmed. I say this as the caption of this painting because I was pretty happy when I was painting. It was art therapy . I get help for my bipolar and my fibromyalgia and spinal stenosis from that.

Now that’s all the therapy I have.

Acrylics on canvas. 16″x20″

IMG_20170806_115741_258

 

 

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anxiety, bipolar, blogging, chronic pain, depression, disabled, fibromyalgia, marijuana, medical marijuana, mental illness, Movies, spinal stenosis

A tin of mini joints! yay mmj!

I went to “my” dispensary, Harborside Health Center, in Oakland, CA this morning and the 45 minute drive from where I live (Fremont) was really easy. Sometimes it’s awful.  I drive up 880N on the east San Francisco Bay area going up to the Bay Bridge to “the City.” The freeway leads to a zillion other places, too.

The drive can be a bitch. I wouldn’t go near it during rush hour! But it can develop big problems at any time. I think all of this is like any other big city and it’s surroundings.

The freeway (what do you call it? Highway? Motorway? Autobahn?) I pretty scary in places there are very narrow lanes, and lots of places that have no shoulder, some epically bad merges, and more trucks than you can shake a stick at! For a long time it terrified me to drive up there. Now I know it inside out. I actually enjoy it. It clears my head. It’s also probably the most exciting place I ever go!

Today I bought a lot of mini joints.

tin of mini joints 2

Big joints or cones or blunts are just too much for me and since it’s medicine, I don’t share it with anyone. nobody wants to light up something you were smoking before and put out. Yuck! I came across these mini joints are perfect for me or anyone wants to smoke a joint by themselves. The cute tin is great for carrying them somewhere else you need to take your medicine. They’re also a really good deal. They’re 1/4g. The tins cost $40 and hold 12 mini joints.

So! Time to talk about movies. Last weekend my huz and I went to see Valerian. The eye candy was gorgeous. It was very creative and the best special effects I’ve seen in a long time. The girl who plays Loreline is Thea from Arrow. That was a surprise. I like her character on Arrow, so I liked her right away. She’s hotter than hot and loves to show it off. I was very surprised that Valerian was male! For some reason I thought he was a girl. Doh!

I’m only talking about surface things because it’s still me and I won’t give you any spoilers.

Atomic Blonde is out now. I adore Charlize Theron and slick action films are hardly deep, but they’re fun to watch. I have a feeling I’ll be going to that alone next week!

This weekend we are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary! One of the things we’re going to do to celebrate is to see Dunkirk. It got great reviews and it’s my very favorite subjects! (I have a b.a. in British history.

Tonight, as a beginning of our celebration, my husband brought me a s’mores sundae. It had real toasted marshmallows on top, they were even kind of burnt, as they should be! We’re going to have a special dinner, but I dunno what. We don’t exchange gifts, he has everything he could ever want, I just got a new phone from my dad, I don’t really need anything. We share the money so what’s the point? We do fun stuff instead!

On the upcoming Tuesday I scheduled 3 doctor’s appointments! Is that mind-blowing or what?? Who has that many doctor’s appointments?? I had to postpone one and I’m going to the other two because they are both psychiatric. I’m seeing my therapist and going to group. The third appointment was in the same department, but it was just getting started with a doctor who runs an acupuncture and meditation group. I can’t wait to start that, though!

I will be seeing my psychiatrist sometime next week, too! Can you tell I’m feeling crazier than crazy? I’m trying to keep myself out of the hospital.

On that jolly note I shall say gooodnight, at least for the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

art, art therapy, artist, drawing, Handmade jewelry, modern art, painting, stress relief, surreal, writing

art is therapy (illustrated)

Art has been a powerful form of therapy for me. i’ll show you!

 

conjoined alien twins return

This was one of my first acrylic paintings. I wanted to create something surreal. almost all my experience with art was abstract. It came to me naturally. surreal was a lot harder!

the lizard print is from when I was in high school, one of the toughest times in my life. My parents were in the middle of an ugly divorce and my bipolar was  undiagnosed and out of control. I was drinking heavily.

My four years of art class was a haven. We got to use the 2 big art rooms and supplies on lunch or after school. The teacher, Sister Claire was wonderful.

this is a lino print i made in one of her classes. she taught us to cut mattes too, i did a good job, but this photo doesn’t make it look that way!

“lino lizard” 1989

lino lizard-crop

I didn’t paint a lot until 2009. It was a very difficult time in my life.. I felt hopeless and shut down. I found art as a form of therapy. I knew I was creative and i’ve appreciated modern art as long as I can remember.

I didn’t know what to do about it. Then I read about prismacolor pencils online. I bought a ream of card stock and a set of them. I used up the whole ream and half of the pencils.

“pachyderm” an early colored pencil drawing

pachyderm_by_merpagigglesnort

I drew all day, most days and I felt better, as time went on. I joined deviantart and started to learn. I asked everyone everything.

I worked on learning to paint and draw. It was practice and obsession. It was incredible. The world seemed open again. I tried as many mediums as could.

I made friends with artists on social media sites. We discussed artists we liked, techniques, inspiration and motivation.  We validate each other and give and get positive feedback.

As I said, my art epiphany happen in 2009. It wasn’t the only time I painted. Both times my muse was my depression.

In 1995 I was asked to take a leave of absence from a job at E*Trade Securities that I hated, because of my bipolar disorder issues, I wasn’t able to act appropriately in a corporate environment. I cried at work, I missed way too many days, got angry when I was micromanaged, on and on. It was much too uptight, high stress, and just wasn’t what I wanted for myself.

After getting pushed out of my job i became extremely depressed. I was angry and scared. I felt ashamed. Thank goodness I had my husband to save me.

My dear father wanted to help. He gave me money to buy art supplies because he, my husband, and my psychiatrist thought it would be therapeutic. it was. 

I went wild! It was feeling the thrill of buying art supplies for the first time. I chose large format canvases, oil paints, linseed oil, turpentine, brushes, drop cloths. I was really excited again. I started painting. Some of it was really enjoyable. I didn’t like making all of them because they woke up feelings I needed to feel but didn’t want to. Therapy! Catharsis!

“comet cleanser” an oil painting i did in 1995. you can see the catharsis!

comet_cleanser_by_merpagigglesnort

Unfortunately, I only did that for a year. After that I made notebooks I filled with pen and ink drawings and oil pastels. i have no idea what happened to them, which is really too bad.

at one point I drew on a big pad of newsprint with sticks of charcoal. I put the pad on my old easel. I did lots of scribbling, making marks, (and making a mess!), practicing graceful curves suggesting the human body. Making big strokes and lines, drawing freely made me *feel* free.

I made and sold artisan jewelry for a couple of years after that. it kept my creative juices flowing and was a lot of fun. During this time I also did some oil painting.

one of my necklaces. i sold it to someone in australia!

tribal_choker2_by_merpagigglesnort-1

 

one of my oil paintings done during the time i was making jewelry, before i got serious about painting.downpour_by_merpagigglesnort

Now I paint with many kind of paints and inks.  I make psychedelic drawings with markers and fine liners. 

drawings:

 

paintings:

 

 

It’s still going on. I’ve learned so much! That cliche about the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know is definitely true in this case. I think it will get more and more interesting as I carry on my art journey. It is still, and always will be, a large part of the therapy I need for my mental and physical ailments.

“woman on the wind” water color

woman dancing on the wind

 

anxiety, bipolar, chronic illness, depression, fibromyalgia, health, illness, mental illness, Movies, tv

TV?

When I was a kid my parents had me write in a journal what I watched on TV and how long I spent watching. I was only allowed 8 hours per week, including Saturday morning cartoons!

I didn’t know what my classmates were talking about when they got excited about shows they watched every night. I was amazed when they talked about watching TV all day on Saturdays.

My parents were both teachers and were left wing idealists. So I was raised differently from my friends. We never had any junk food around, I wasn’t allowed to eat sugar cereal and I had to drink diet soda. All these things don’t seem like that much, but together, especially the way kids latch onto anything they see as different, like me. Not only was I weird because I had very little experience with pop culture, but I really liked the learning part of school too! god forbid a kid cares about what is being taught​!

My whole life, as an adult, and even when I was in university, I didn’t watch much TV and rarely went to the movies. If someone turned on a TV I’d leave the room (I did watch Twin Peaks and Ren and Stimpy and a bit of MTV. That was when they showed music videos and bizarre, wonderful things like Liquid TV)

Even my favorite shows weren’t imporant to me. I could pass a few weeks and not watch anything.

For many years I didn’t even own a tv. When my husband insisted on buying a big tv I had a fit! I made him put it in the computer room. He liked to play console games on it, too. That seemed like a reasonable use of a tv.

My huz and I had many little conflicts about him wanting us to watch things together and I didn’t. I didn’t want him to watch anything at, but I was very insecure and had to be in the same room as my husband. Poor guy! I followed him around crying.

Having a tablet and Netflix made it all change. I could watch things alone, and I didn’t have to compromise on what to watch. Netflix original shows provided excellent content that actually kept my interest.

now I watch a couple of hours a day and I go to the movies at least once a week. Considering how bored I get, being stuck at home with my illnesses keeping me from doing things most people do, watching stuff is a bit of a life saver. It makes time pass more quickly.

I ‘ve had to tell myself that watching TV isn’t morally wrong!

anxiety, bipolar, chronic illness, depression, fatigue, fibromyalgia, health, illness, insomnia, mania, mental illness, psychiatry, spinal stenosis, stress relief

group (therapy)

i used to go to group, but then something horrible happened there and i stopped going.  the thing that happened…oh wait, i signed a document saying i am not supposed to talk about what anybody says in group. i guess you’ll just have to not know! my psychiatrist has been nagging me to go group for, literally, years.

about a month ago i decided try to do something about getting myself out of the hole i was hiding, and torturing myself while i was there. had been like that…bad anxiety, depression, both manic and depressive episodes (mixed episodes), not sleeping much, eating badly, and on and on  for a very long time.

at that time i started to go to group again. it’s been very helpful at getting myself out of the house. we talk, and and relate with each other and cry. we usually end doing something mindful, like guided mediation, to settle ourselves down from a taxing hour.

i’m able to go to group because it’s totally free form. you can show up or leave while it’s going on. sometimes i just sit and doodle, listening. sometimes it’s two people, sometimes it’s 10.

i need all the help my medical team can give me! i see my pain doctor tomorrow.

have a great evening!

anxiety, bipolar, child abuse, depression, drugs, mania, mental illness, substance abuse

no more wire hangers 3

is anyone getting the titles of the posts in this series?

my mother knew she had mental illness issues, but she refused to see a psychiatrist or a therapist. we convinced her to go to a couple therapists to find one she felt she could talk with. she went to meet two and her excuses for not going was that she was sure one had ulterior motives and the other had an office that made her anxious.

when i had panic attacks growing up (we didn’t know that’s what they were at the time) she got angry at me. in retrospect i think it was it was because she was scared when she saw me going through that. i’ve seen her have panic attacks and oh boy have i seen her anxious.she was afraid that somewhere inside her was me. she didn’t want to  go through what i went through with my depression and mania. two psychiatrists told me, after long talks about my mother, that she was bipolar, too. i’m not surprised, but having a doctor say it shed light on things and made me feel validated

she even self medicated, like i did. she was obsessed with this shitty white wine. she drank glass after glass all evening while she watched courtroom dramas and true crime shows. after i went to university she bought a new house that she has since defaulted on. the house was a gorgeous Victorian in downtown St. Louis. it was in a neighborhood that was transitioning from a gutted ghetto into lovely restored houses. good old gentrification. her house was already transformed when she bought it.  it was gorgeous but it had three stories. she usually watched tv and drank in a family room on the second floor and also in her bedroom on the third floor. guess who had to fetch the wine?

drinking was her second drug of choice, the first  was nicotine.  by now, she will have smoked almost 60 years, two or more packs a day. she was a professional smoker. she chain smoked 24/7. she drowned her sorrows in wine, cigarettes, and taking it all out on me.

i’ve already said i’m a recovering alcoholic, i’ve been clean for 15 years. when i went home to visit (my dad lived in St. Louis and i was tied to my mother by a mental bond i had to fight to break, so i still kept coming back. she encouraged me to drink. she prepared by laying in a supply of beer, gin (she had cocktails after work, too; gin and tonics…one or two) champagne and vodka plus a few bottles of decent wine for dinners. she encouraged me to drink. pushed me to drink. i  jumped back into the hole of drunkenness to avoid having to deal with her. i can’t  put it all off on my. i was thrilled to have time away from my husband so i could drink my fill. i had to be very honest with him to keep our relationship working well and i wanted both he and I to be happy. i made the decisions to drink the alcohol she bought, but it was damned hard, too hard. i embraced it.

hangovers were hell so my mother gave me a bottle of codeine to use to take them away. i took a few in the morning. went back to sleep, woke and puked, went back to sleep and got up feeling pretty good.

we went out drinking too. she liked to show off my tattoos and piercings when we were bar hopping, hoping to look cool. at home she hated the tattoos.

Mommy Dearest.

abstract, anxiety, art, batman, bipolar, chronic illness, chronic pain, comics, depression, dog, drawing, drugs, fibromyalgia, insomnia, mania, medical marijuana, mental illness, oakland california

still manic, still manic, still manic

i spent my day feeling too jumped up, a lot like being on meth. yes, i know a lot about being on meth. oh boy, i’ve never said that in public before. so yeah, i wish manic was like being on coke, but unfortunately it’s like being on meth.

i ate a big dinner which i am regretting because i haven’t been eating much so i feel bloated and gross. sometimes being really hungry for a couple of days makes me feel so clean inside. no, i’m not anorexic. my moods just throw me around a lot, and i’ve got that and all the meds i take and the fibromyalgia and spinal stenosis, and a nasty childhood all contribute to making me do, and feel, and act a little strange…a lot strange…  i do things that don’t make sense some of the time. i got hooked on meth because i was so depressed and it made me feel so much better, that i kept using it. untold energy, no appetite, no need for sleep, elevated mood, euphoria. sounds like being manic, too.  ahhh and delusions of grandeur, i hope i don’t get those, but maybe i’m not bill gates.LOL

i went to the comic book store today. alex the comic book guy was there, of course he was there, it’s his shop. hehehe actually, the only day i’m sure he is working in the shop is tuesdays, so i go about every other tuesday. he’s a cutie, deep, and really smart. not to mention he’s an incredible authority on comics! i bought two issues of batman all star, the rebirth reboot. i got an issue of jessica jones, but i really didn’t like the way it looked. bummer. i still don’t have money, so that’s all i got. i went to starbucks and only got an iced tea, but a cake pop was calling my name. but i averted my eyes and asked for no sweetener in my passion tea.

it was a gorgeous spring day, first one we’ve had this year. i actually drove around with the windows down in my car. a rare thing. i like to listen to music in the car, not wind noise. i am 100% out of mmj. i scraped up every bit, i used the kief in the bottom of the grinder. i am DRY. i hope it’s nice tomorrow because i’ll be driving up to Oakland to go to my dispensary. i call it “my dispensary” as though i owned it. it’s just mine cause it’s the one i’ve chosen to give all my business to.

i saw my psychiatrist today and she thought i might be manic partly because over the last couple days it got to be full blown and that when i had little or no marijuana. we adjusted the meds to, not take ritalin (that’s a no brainer), and to take less wellbutrin because it’s activating.

i saw a woman come home and greet her dog, who had been home alone all day, and they were both so happy to see each other. that’s the kind of thing that really makes me feel good.

Ant_Hills_by_merpagigglesnort