Urban Safari

I am working hard at spreading my wings with art. I guess I’m an artist. I have fun creating things, I know that and I guess that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter what label you want to throw on it as long as I feel productive. As long as I feel like I’m getting my message, my ideas, my feelings out. You don’t even have to get it. You don’t even have to understand what it is or what I was thinking when I made it. But I would like it if there was something in there that you can identify with…. a butterfly, a jewel, a face, anything.

Urban Safari Mixed Media Art

Something’s wrong

It could be depakote withdrawals or I’m spiraling into something dark. I just feel that something’s wrong… inside. My head doesn’t feel right.

I’ve been painting like crazy. I never liked abstracts before but now I *get* them and I’m painting them, over and over again. I can’t seem to stop and I’m feeling more fear with each hour. I hate these feelings. I had a year long respite from all of the anxiety and fear and now they’re all coming back all at once. I feel like I’m standing in the middle of the road and all of those feelings of fear, anxiety, anger, depression are in a big truck heading straight for me. And either I can’t move out of the way or I don’t want to. I seriously don’t want to go back to the Pit, but the feelings are that I deserve to be there…. even though I can’t tell you why.

Depression

I’ve had to cut the Depakote down to 500 mg a day and my thyroid medication also had to be updated. In the meantime, I’m going into my first major depressive episode that I’ve had in years. I have so many thoughts and so many emotions that my brain is just shutting down so that I’m not constantly buffeted by the rollercoaster. At least, that’s what I hope is happening. All I know is that I had a few weeks where everything was kind of …. not happy, but I could laugh at my granddaughters antics. Not sad …. couldn’t get myself to cry about anything. Then I visit a friend and it just spews out of me for two or three hours and then it’s all locked up again.

I know I need a therapist. I talk to Jehovah and he does relieve me of a lot of things. He also reminds me in the Bible that he sees my heart and knows what I’m going through. But I need a sounding board. Someone who is neutral and can be candid with suggestions to help me cope. I have been using the coping skills that have been taught to me by previous therapists and that helps somewhat, but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m just too tired to keep fighting to get things done. So many important things that need to be done and I can’t do it by myself. Yet the one person I need for support is going through his own anxieties and depression and has only me to take it out on. It’s getting easier to handle because I just don’t feel anything right now.

Except tired. I’m really very tired. Not sad, not angry, not upset. Just tired.

Made a little picture

This one is only 6 inches by 12 inches and it’s not *quite* done yet. I need to put words on it but I’m waiting on pens.

Mixed Media
Three Houses

I’m still learning, so there’s a lot of mistakes made with it, but that just gives me an opportunity to try it again and NOT repeat the mistakes.

For the past year or so I’ve been dealing with body pain, putting it off as a result of the weight I carry around. Well, lately the pain has been getting really bad and I’m trying to figure out why. I started going back through the side effects of my medications and found that all of my symptoms circle around my Depakote πŸ™ Having found this medication after 16 years of trial and error, it has felt so good to feel ‘normal’ for once. Yeah, I get moody. More so than not, but I still don’t feel like I’m at the brink of the Pit.

But the pain. It’s been building and the muscle spasms in my leg are getting so intense that I’m jolted, screaming as in a tenth of a second all of the muscles in my leg from my groin to my toes turn to rock. Then yesterday, I was asleep on the couch and my right foot jerked inwards, again jerking me with a yelp. I’m used to the muscle snaps and the cramps and such when trying a medication for the first time, but when taking it after a year? Is my body telling me it can’t take it anymore? Time to check with the doc.

Bad day

I am just too overwhelmed and had to cancel my two appointments for Thursday and Friday. I don’t know why I’m overwhelmed, but there it is.

I want to lock myself up in my craftroom and just paint. There are things I need to do… like laundry and having a shower. I may be able to get a load done today and do another load tomorrow. The best time for me to shower is when I get out of bed… I don’t have as much anxiety hanging off of me at that time.

Woke up this morning to find the back door open with one of the cats with her head stuck out, checking the surroundings. I have indoor cats. I ran at her and she ran back into the house and then I had to look outside for the other cat because I couldn’t see her in the house. The fact that the dog was there wouldn’t stop Doc from smacking her on the nose and just trying to get out. I found Doc inside and thought about texting my daughter to see if she left the door open and then realized that the cats were fine. There was no disaster. More than that, my daughter has enough on her shoulders that she doesn’t need to hear about this. But I DID ask the grandkids if they had been out in the back. Of course they had. So I told them what I had found and just told them to be more careful. Big difference to what I had said to T. when he had left the garage door open AND the house door so that one of my cats got all the way to the front of the garage and was almost out to go on an adventure. I tore a strip out of him for that one. Even swore, which managed to make T.’s eyes bulge out because as he said ‘you don’t swear’. I apologized after for going at him like that but that he needed to be more careful.

You might be wondering why the big deal about a cat getting out? I don’t have children of my own, by choice. My daughter that we live with, is actually my step-daughter, but if I could have chosen someone to be my daughter, it definitely would have been her. I grew up with a parent whose moods were like a plastic bag caught in the wind. I grew up to know enough to wake up and listen for the sounds coming from outside my bedroom. If there was singing, it was a good day. If there were the slamming of pots and pans and cupboard doors, then we were walking on eggshells. I didn’t know or realize what was happening until I myself was diagnosed with bipolar and did research on my own to realize that my parent more than likely had it herself and instead of being properly diagnosed, she had been prescribed anti-depressants for chronic depression. If you have bipolar, most times anti-depressants can cause mania…. now, try being on anti-depressants for decades.

I made the decision not to have children, not because I didn’t want them but because I know that I am not capable of taking care of them properly. Knowing that a harsh word or comment is tattoo’d into the brain of a child fills me with fear. I know I’d be apologetic, but you can’t take back what’s been said or what’s been done. I can’t do that. And I won’t. So, this is why I have cats πŸ™‚ They are cute and cuddly, but they also have their independence. Yeah, they can be little buttholes and yes, they can get you pretty mad, but they are safer with me than a child would be.

My Acrylic Pours are now on Etsy

That’s right, I’ve added some of my acrylic pours to my Etsy shop tonight.

I also think I’m done with a painting. I’m not sure I like her yet. Something’s missing and I’m not sure what.

I tried some new techniques and I do like the colors but it’s kind of….. busy? I’m going to stare at it for a few days until I figure her out.

I’ve realized today that I’m hypomanic. I’ve been trembling lately, shaking a lot. I’m finding appointments to be overwhelming and will be postponing two of them tomorrow. I haven’t done my own laundry in over a week…. haven’t showered in a while and I do feel shame about it. I know I need to be clean but the energy and motivation is just not there. I just want to paint.

I left the house for the first time in weeks, to go visit with my friends Helen and Chawnia. Took Keirstyn with me so she could look around the shop and get information about selling jewelry. When we got home, I just cut myself off from everyone until it was time for baseball. Then I go and sit by my husband and watch for as long as I can. It’s not very often that I can sit still for more than a few minutes at a time.

I’m also realizing just how crippling anxiety really is. I mean, I’ve been dealing with it for over 30 years and every couple of years it’s almost like you forget just how bad it can be because you’re always on guard. Just a few days ago I was wondering if it was okay to be like this and today, I know it’s not. But to fight it… I just don’t have the energy to fight right now and I have to be okay with that. I’m on medications for depression (Prozac 80mg), Ativan (5mg), Depakote (1500mg), and Gabapentin (2500mg) for both anxiety and neuropathy. I can’t even tell you how many medications I’ve tried and how many of them have sent me to the hospital with muscle spasms, violent vomiting, zombified, rashes, etc. My husband has gotten to the point where he doesn’t want me to change anything of my meds because he knows my mind and body will probably react badly to it. I can’t say I blame him…. it IS pretty scary when you can’t control your arms from snapping up and down and constantly cracking your neck and jaw. That happened after being put on the lowest dosage of a sublingual medication.

Depakote has been a saving grace for me. Yes, I do get trembles at times, but my mood swings aren’t nearly as severe as they used to be. No ‘tazmanian devil’ moods since I’ve been put on them.

Social Anxiety

I have an ongoing battle with myself. I suffer from generalized anxiety and social anxiety on top of that or with that, whatever. I also suffer from agoraphobia. Where I once loved going with a group of friends to the mall, I’m now content to stay at home and work on painting or anything else that does not require me to be ‘out there’.

The battle that I’m having is that since my husband and I moved in with our daughter and her family, my anxiety has dropped an incredible amount. Even though I’m surrounded by people, I’ve set my boundaries and push myself when needed.

At the same time, should I be okay with being content at home or am I supposed to be ‘fighting the fear’ constantly? Do I need to go into department stores? No… that’s kind of why our family wants to help. Frank has always been more than okay with going and getting what I need/want and now we have more people who, if they’re in the area, they usually are happy to get what’s needed.

I get people telling me that this isn’t ‘normal’, this preference for solitude. Well, I hate to point this out, but I’ve never been normal. I’ve always felt like I was the odd man out. I’ve always felt like a fraud, no matter the job I had. In a large group of people, I always felt like I was a puzzle piece from a puzzle that got tossed a long time ago and there was just no place for me to fit in. It’s taken me a long time to get over that feeling and be okay with it and yet in the back of my brain I keep wondering if I should be doing more…. or if I just feel that way because it’s what others may be expecting from me.

When is it okay to say ‘this is me and this is okay’? Or, better yet, ‘this is me and this is FABULOUS!’

I am an artist. But more importantly, I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m also the wife of the most lovable man (although cranky sometimes). I am the step-mother to two fantastic women who have families of their own that they are proud of.

I have phone phobia. Sometimes even email phobia. I find it difficult to answer the phone and make needed phone calls and sometimes I don’t respond to emails for days, making it that I have to calm my mother down because of the lack of response. If I go to a restaurant, I have to have my back to the wall because I have PTSD and have ear plugs in my purse, just incase my hearing gets supersonic from the bipolar. I sometimes can’t drive to visit with my friends in Pearland because I know I’m not ‘all there’ enough to drive the vehicle and I have to be able to say ‘no’ to myself. When I can get there, I love visiting with my 2nd Mama and Beanie and I’m okay if one person comes in but if they come in to stay, I start getting manic. Better yet, if it’s someone I know and they suffer from hypomania, they will trigger me and I’ve just gotta go! It’s happened so often that 2nd Mama and Beanie know when I need to go just by the look of my face.

I’m rambling today and I know it. I want to go to Pearland tomorrow but I’m not sure how my day is going to start. If I wake up like this, I won’t be able to drive. I’m literally shaking. Even my eyeballs have been trembling for these past few days.

I don’t like not knowing which me is going to wake up in the mornings, but I am blessed that almost every day is good but my brain may not be connected well enough to safely operate a car. I also like knowing that my chances of waking up angry is next to nil. Thank goodness for Depakote πŸ™‚

Lost

My brain is in a whirl wind tonight. It’s 2:03 am and I want to paint and try new techniques all the while, the medications I took at 9 pm are telling me it’s time to go to bed.

I could fight the desire to close my eyes and sleep if I really want to, but even the faint possibility of becoming manic because I choose to ignore my sleep schedule is just too scary. I have more than myself to think about… I have my family, I have my husband… I have myself to think of.

I guess it’s off to sleep then. But I did get some painting done today πŸ™‚

A new mixed media painting done :)

I accidentally ordered a pack of 20 inch by 20 inch canvases a few weeks ago, much to my chagrin. After watching one of Annemarie Ridderhof’s video on YouTube, I had forgotten that the terms of measurements in Holland are not the same as here in the US, so when she’d say ’20 by 20 canvas’, she meant centimeters. Talk about my duh.

When I saw the canvases, I was just overwhelmed… for a moment. Then the ideas just started falling out of all the organizers in my brain and fell to the floor and flew around my head with what *could* be done with it. I have been watching video’s on card making, art tag making, collages, etc and also painting video’s by one of my favorite artists, Lioba BruecknerΒ and wanted to blend the tips and techniques I had been learning into something I wanted to make.

My biggest problem with my own work is expecting perfection. I wanted to draw a realistic woman with a realistic background, blah, blah, blah. I struggled for hours to get the skin colors right. Then I fell back on one thing that I’d heard and that had always stuck with me… ‘why does it have to be perfect? Why can’t you just have fun?’ So, I let go πŸ™‚

Progress 1

And now she’s done!

 

 

Hi there :)

My name is Bev Choy and I am a wife, daughter, sister, artist and someone who suffers from bipolar disorder.

This will be the place where I talk about things that I go through from day to day, things I don’t have the ability to discuss with a therapist. I will also be talking about the different types of mixed media art that I like to mess around with and my two fur babies, the Dynamic Duo of Destruction, Doc and Sophie.