Art Therapy and Knitting

Art Therapy and Knitting

Art Therapy

I took the soaker to Art Therapy to show the AT.  I don’t know why I like to do that…For instance, I took him a bowl last fall and a tile last week from pottery class.  I guess, I like to share with him things that I create that make me happy…That I am proud of.

He admired my knitting…the quality of my knitting and seemed surprised that having been on such a long knitting hiatus I was able to get right back to it.  I realize writing this that I bet that was a compliment and I should have said “Thank you.” Oops!  Sometimes, I hear things as observations…Not compliments, I guess something can be both.

Then we talked about those horrible pictures I drew.  And I was half-present and half-dissociated most of the time, and a bit more dissociated part of the time.  The AT said some things that I am still processing…And things that I only heard part of and want to have him explain to me again.  So, for the moment, I am not ready to process it all on my blog.

Which brings me back to the knitting.

The AT said that knitting is very good for trauma, which I would agree with.  His reasoning was more neurological, left brain/right brain.  My reasoning is that the repetition becomes meditative and soothing.  Both are accurate.

Knitting

So…this whole knitting thing.  I think something changed for me when I knit SS’s baby’s soaker (I will need to come up with a pseudonym for the baby!) I feel like, my knitter’s block is lifted and I can knit again.  This is an amazing and powerful thing. For years, knitting was a grounding force in my life…I always had a bag with a knitting project with me.  Everywhere I went, I was prepared to knit.  And I am ready to knit again! Yesterday, I even got a few skeins of yarn to get me going (My supply had dwindled down to just wool…Which is terrific, but not so great for the baby sweaters/blankets I want to knit.  Wool isn’t practical for babies, imho.)

I worry that I have become one dimensional. Especially if you view me from the perspective of my blog.  I am more than depression/PTSD/anxiety/disordered eating.  Sometimes, even I forget that…Or get so lost in all the mental illness stuff that I can’t see that I am more than that.  Because I am more than that!  Did you know I have a fantastic and wry sense of humor?  Or that I bake a mean yeast bread? Or that I have indoor gardens from which I grow salad veggies during the winter? Or that I adore my chickens? Or that I want to hike the mountain this summer?  Or that I am itching to make a new quilt as all the ones I made ages ago are wearing out?  Maybe…maybe some of those things have slid into the blog…But I bet not many.

I have a plan.  Since knitting is so very important to me and don’t want to be trapped into being one dimensional, I am going to divide my blog posts.  There’s going to be the mental health stuff and then there will be knitting stuff.  They may even seem incongruent on particular days…But heck…That’s my life!  And the knitting part of the blog will be photo heavy.  Because there is nothing I like more than sharing my progress with my projects.  I even have some pictures for today. 🙂

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The spoils of yesterday’s yarn shopping trip!  The first yarn is just yummy and delicious.  It screams “Baby sweater” to me.  The next few skeins are ultrasoft and snugglable.   It is going to be a baby blanket for a certain yet-to-be-born baby.  The next skein is just yummily beautiful again…It also will be a baby sweater or two or maybe a baby blanket? I haven’t decided yet!

I will likely knit a sweater and the blanket concurrently.  As a matter of fact, I am so lin love with the green yarn that I already started a kimono baby sweater.

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And I have a baby blanket KAL (knit-along) with a friend coming up…<contented sigh>  This kind of stuff…This is what the “old me” used to do and enjoy. I really hope I can pull that into the “new me.” (I am not the “new me” yet…but I am working on it!)

Oh…And one last thing…In the interest of time, I pulled out some fleece scraps and I whipped together two fleece soakers for the needs-a-pseudonym baby. Talk about a quick and easy project!

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Thrown

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Thrown

I started off strong yesterday morning…But by noon, I could feel the mood fading.  By 1:00, I was miserable.  But I did not snap at anybody or have a meltdown. I just put on my game-face and plodded through my day.  However, I felt pretty dead inside.

I feel very thrown right now.  I know it is about that picture I drew (and the subsequent four pictures).  I know something has been stirred up…Only I can’t put my finger on it, so it is making me unsettled and panicky and sad and stressed….Oh wait…that sounds like a PTSD exacerbation. <sigh>  I really don’t need that right now!

Even my dreams are unsettled, sexual violence, abandonment, filth…Not exactly what I would call restful.

I feel like my shattered pieces are careening away from me and I am reaching and reaching to grab them and they are just beyond my fingertips and I can’t grasp them.

And you know what?  It is making me want to binge. I feel like sitting and eating and eating and eating until I explode…Until I can’t feel anything anymore…Until I confirm the fact that I am ugly and shameful and weak.

I won’t do it though.  It would pretty much destroy me to have such a flagrant failure of self-control.  Instead, I have reverted a bit to some of my old minimalist eating habits, like repeating foods during the day and eating less.  These things feel safe to me.  And I am in control.  And I need to control something right now.

Knitting

BTW, I did re-do the leg cuffs on the soaker and I chain stitched a tie for it. Then I washed and lanolized it.  I will deliver it to SS’s house this morning.

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Saturday Meltdown

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Saturday Meltdown

So…I kind of had a meltdown yesterday morning.  It was ugly.  No…It was really ugly.

I woke up with that emptiness and soul-crushing sadness.

Then my eating disorder started screaming at me. It didn’t want me to eat anything yesterday.  And I was going to indulge it.  But…I know that not eating anything would be really, really bad for me.  I was torn.

When dh woke up, I decided I’d have some cereal.  I usually have a bowl of cereal every morning (but I have been eating less and less…I used to eat a cup of cereal every morning, then three quarters a cup and now I eat a half cup) so I figured my mini-portion of cereal would be okay.  Only…there wasn’t enough milk. <sigh>

The Nutritionist wanted me to try a recipe for protein pancakes and I found one online that I wanted to try.  So…I made the batter. It uses egg whites, no yolks.  And I was separating the whites over the bowl and the yolk fell in. I panicked.  (Yolk=calories)  So, I grabbed a big soup spoon and tried to pull the yolk out of the bowl, and the yolk broke.  Panic turned to super panic.  The batter was contaminated.  Dh tried to reassure me it was okay…And the Eating Disorder was trying to tell me I had ruined the batter.  In the end, I scooped about 98% of the yolk out and tried to convince myself it was fine.

Then I cooked the pancakes.  And then I kind of lost it…Huge meltdown…Dh said something benign and I snapped at him and pretty much ripped his head off (poor dh!).  I was soo angry and frustrated and irritable and sour…I had to remove myself ASAP before I got in more trouble.  So, I grabbed 1.5 pancakes (approx. 100 calories worth) and my water bottle and went to my bedroom.  (I don’t know why I took the pancakes…I never eat in the bedroom.)  I set the pancakes on my bureau and crawled into bed and had a micro-moment of crying.  Then I just laid there…overwhelmed by pain.  I was not coping.

I thought maybe I should take some lorazepam, but I didn’t trust myself to not take too many.  Then I started pondering…What if I took all my lorazepam?  Would it kill me?  Well…what if I took all my lorazepam and all my trazadone? Would that kill me?  And on and on….Then I realized that I can’t take those meds inappropriately because when I get a prescription, I make an inner commitment to take them as prescribed…No more, no less.  Not only would it be wrong to mis-use the prescriptions…but it would be unfair to my prescriber as well.

So…then I thought about various ways to soothe myself by self-harming.

And all the while, I kept thinking about that picture that I drew with my PNP that then went to the AT’s office and is part of a project I started on Thursday.  And since the moment I finished the drawing, I knew it was wrong…Incomplete. And it had been really, really bothering me.  And I didn’t know if I had the courage to draw it correctly and have it be “witnessed.”  And this kept bothering me and bothering me and my mind kept flashing the drawing how it should have been drawn.

The incompleteness?  The figure needed a big, menacing, erect penis.  And then I realized that the drawing, which was supposed to be a representation of my eating disorder, was not about my eating disorder…Or if it was, it was not wholly about my eating disorder.  And different images of the drawing (like new scenarios) kept popping up in my head…So much so that I thought maybe I was having flashbacks or about to have a flashback….The way the pictures were popping into my head…It reminded me of how my flashbacks happen.

And I wanted to call the AT and get support. And maybe I should have…but that is still so hard for me to do…Instead, I decided I needed to draw the pictures in my head and I climbed out of bed and went downstairs and drew…Ugly and nasty pictures.  Four.  Four pictures wanted to be drawn.  Four pictures that I will take to Art Therapy on Monday and then leave in the bubble of his office…Safely contained.

When I finished drawing the pictures, I tore them out of the sketchbook, stacked them neatly in order and tucked them carefully in my mandala book.

And then, I felt better…Pressure was relieved.  I could function again and the pain moderated and I was done snapping at people and wanting to self-harm….Well…except the eating disorder was still screaming at me not to eat.

After a walk with dh and the dogs, some fresh air and some chatting with dh…I settled down some more.  Finally at about noon, the eating disorder’s screaming had dulled to a grumble and I was able to eat some lunch.  I stuck with 100% safe foods and in my usual portions…So, lunch was uneventful.

The rest of the day was much more under control.  I was lonely as dh and ds had an engagement allll afternoon and evening (left a before noon, were back about 10), but I kept myself busy.  I set my mind and hands to a knitting project.  I knitted for hours…And I even finished my project.  It is a tiny wool soaker for SS’s new baby.   I can’t remember the last time I really sat down and knitted something and enjoyed doing so.  It was a nice way to spend the day.

Here’s a pic.  I am  not loving the way the leg cuffs came out…I think they will be too bulky on a petite baby, I am likely going to rip them out and just crochet a little bit around the edge of the leg holes…But here’s what is looks like now. (It still has yarn ends showing because I haven’t quite decided about those leg cuffs.)

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