A is for Anger

Happy April Fool’s Day! Today kicks off the A to Z Challenge and the first of my posts on mental health. I’m no good with introductions, so let’s just jump right in.

A is for…

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Anger is a basic, healthy human emotion. It is a signal telling you there is a situation that needs your attention. It is meant to motivate you into action. As with any emotion, there is an element of perception, but generally anger is a response to being treated unfairly, hurt or not having our expectations met. Anger exists on a spectrum from irritation all the way to rage. Frustration is probably the most common point people experience on the spectrum. A lot of people deal with their anger by talking about it, writing about it or exercising it out. These are all healthy ways to deal with anger. Other ways to discharge anger that are also common, but more destructive include shouting, fighting, breaking things or dumping on whoever is near by.

How do you express your anger?

When I am angry, I don’t do any of the things I just mentioned. I wouldn’t describe myself as an angry person. “Angry” is probably the last word most would use to describe me. I just recently discovered that I do in fact, have a lot of anger. So how do I express it? I don’t. Most of the time, I don’t even know I am angry. I suppress my anger and I have been doing it for so long that I no longer recognize the emotion.

Depression and anger have a long history together. Studies have shown that the degree of anger correlates with the severity of depression. Those suffering from depression often have trouble experiencing and expressing anger. It creates inner conflict, triggering guilt, self-criticism and fear of disrupting relationships. Freud even described depression as anger towards the self. I agree with Freud, that is definitely part of it.

In retrospect, I have come up with two reasons for why I started repressing my anger in the first place. One being I am a “people pleaser”. I want to be a good person and I want others to see me that way too. “Good” and “anger” aren’t usually thought of together. That leaves little room for getting angry, let alone expressing it. The second reason is my need for control. If I am in control of my emotions, I am safe. No one can hurt me because they don’t know what affects me. This probably had something to do with those stereotypical mean girls while growing up. Being older and wiser, I know this is unhealthy thinking and it was only a means of self-preservation, but the damage is already done. Suppressing my anger has become a reflex that needs to be undone.

If I don’t get angry, what happens when I am being treated unfairly or my expectations are not met? I blame myself. If I am being treated unfairly it is because I must have done something to make people think they can treat me that way. If my expectations are not met, it is because of my own inadequacy. I don’t go through this reasoning like this in my head. It is automatic. This anger towards myself is turned into hatred. I think What is wrong with you? Everyone else can manage that, why can’t you?

When angry with other people, there is a fear of compromising the relationship or guilt of hurting their feelings. This is enough reason for many to hold back. There is nothing to keep my attacks on myself in check. There are no parallel restraints. Anger turned inwards is vicious. Self-loathing can get so intense that it becomes paralyzing. This paralysis makes you more angry at yourself causing more self-loathing, perpetuating depression. It’s a cycle…… Lovely.

The first step towards breaking a cycle is being aware of it. I can check that off my list.

DLP5: What Lies Beneath?

The Original Documented Life Project – Journal 2015
For more information and inspiration visit Art to the 5th

Art Challenge: Under paper
Prompt: What lies beneath?

I wasn’t sure what “under paper” was at first. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one. By the time I read the new challenge, there was already a discussion going on about it in the FB group. Under paper is the scrap paper you use to prevent whatever surface you are working on from getting ruined. I usually use a garbage bag for that…whoops. To make this week work for me, I figured I’d broaden the definition of “under paper” to include the paper I clean my stamps off on, the paper I test my pens on, test my doodles on and write my notes about different page ideas and quotes to use.

What does the prompt “what lies beneath?” make you think of?

A lot of people went along the lines of water and fish. Now that I think about it, that makes total sense, but that’s not what came to mind first. The prompt made me think of myself actually. I project the image of the person I want to be. I want to be smart, friendly, strong, well-spoken, kind, confident and successful. Really, all I am is kind…kind I can do well, but the rest? Fake it until you make it, right? Most of my friends, my colleagues and most of my family know me this way. What lies beneath is someone completely different. I second guess myself all the time, I get anxious and stressed over everything, I’m always exhausted, angry, lonely and just generally empty. I don’t like this person. I don’t want to be this person. Around others, I try to be the person I want to be, someone that they would like. Who would like a stressed, exhausted, angry person? No one. I can’t even stand to be in my own skin some days, how can I expect other people to tolerate me?

This is what my spread is about this week. The left is dedicated to the person I want/try to be. I started with gesso on the background and covered that with watercolour pencil crayons. I wanted the page to be colourful and bright. I used a stencil and some white paint to put the swirls in. I stamped a few hearts around the page with gelato pigment. I dipped a brush in water, rubbed it over the gelato stick and then painted the stamp. The hearts aren’t as clean as you would get stamping with ink, but it’s kind of neat looking. I used regular old pencil crayons to draw a cartoon of myself. Her smile is a little bit strained because she is acting a bit. Pretending to be happy and confident when you aren’t can be exhausting after a while, so the smile is a bit forced.

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The flowers and circles were made using paper punches from my “under paper”. They were stuck on with gel medium. I outlined the circles with Sharpie paint pen and the flowers with gel pens. Any writing was done with a black Fude pen.

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The right page was intended to be darker compared to the right. I used black and silver metallic watercolour pencils to colour on top of a layer of gesso. I used black gesso to stencil some bricks onto the background. I copied the lettering off the internet. I googled graffiti fonts, found one I liked and copied from the font preview. I saved the darker portions of my “under paper” for this side of the spread. Anything with more vibrant colour went to the other side.

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The figure was done with regular pencil crayon and outlined with black sharpie. Instead of details, I made her a sort of shadow and filled her with words that described me. She doesn’t really have a face because she doesn’t know what she wants or how to become the girl on the other page. She is lost. The bits of under paper were glued on with gel medium and outlined in Sharpie paint pen.

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I smudged white gesso along the bottom of the page with my fingers. I covered some of the under paper punch outs, but I guess that’s ok. I wrote the quote with a black Fude pen. Maybe next time I’ll use a ruler when I write.

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many, the intelligence of a few perceive what lies beneath.” ~Phaedus

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I Don’t Care (but I do)

I don’t care….but I do.

Does anyone know what I am talking about? I don’t know if I can describe it properly. It’s sort of contradictory. I want to study vision and eye disease, but I don’t care enough to get involved. I want to learn how to paint, but I can’t be bothered to pull out the paints and try. I want to sleep, but I lie there, awake, thinking of nonsense. I want to keep in touch with friends, but talking to them is too hard. I want to be successful, but I let myself get so distracted by my self loathing. My mind wants me to care, but there is no heart, no passion, nothing behind it, so I can’t do it.


I wasn’t always this way. I used to be motivated to learn, to exercise, to participate in life. It gets harder every year. I want to be creative and learn new things, but I can’t think. Some things I can do. I have to fight myself to do them, but I can. For example, if you give me a task and tell me to follow the instructions, no problem, done, but figuring something out, making something work….that part of my brain has been removed. Or maybe it’s my heart that’s been removed and I just don’t care enough to figure it out. It has been this way for several months now and it is just getting worse. The only way I can think of to describe it is that I don’t care about anything or what happens to me anymore, but that’s obviously not true if I am worrying about it now…..

I’m not sure if this makes sense to me in the end…I’m just thinking out loud.

Self-esteem Challenge: Day 10

This blog challenge was developed by betterthandarkchocolate.tumblr.com. If you missed the introduction or want to see a summary of all the questions, go here.

Day 10:
Why are you the way you are?
Are you happy with your “inner person”? If so why or why not?

I don’t know why I am the way I am. I think if I knew, then I’d have something to work with and I’d get better, but that’s not the case. I haven’t been abused in any manner. I wasn’t severely bullied. My parents are still together and I had a good childhood. I wasn’t spoiled or overprotected. I had what I needed. I was a pretty tame teenager, never used recreational drugs, nor was I promiscuous and I had good friends. I did well in school, but was not pressured to do so. So why am I like this? I can’t come up with any reason to explain my low self-esteem/perfectionist tendencies and depression. It remains a complete enigma to me. At first I thought it was a chemical imbalance of some sort, but if that were the case, then wouldn’t antidepressants make a big difference? They don’t make a big difference, they just make it a bit easier. So what’s left? Genetics? It does run in my family. Too bad they still aren’t sure about depression markers.

I don’t think I know my “inner person” well enough to answer this question. I have been too busy working on the outer version. I guess I like some of my inner person. I like the part the strives to be the best version of herself, the part that works hard and is kind. I don’t like the dark side though. The side that hates herself, whose thoughts naturally slide toward the negative and who has to push herself to do anything besides be a zombie.

zombie me

Zombie Me

A Self-Esteem Blogging Challenge

I’ve decided I need a little help to keep things going. I’ve been feeling bad, no energy, not enough sleep and feeling generally ill. This has kept me from blogging, twitter and drawing….things I normally enjoy. Not doing things I enjoy has left me feeling worse. It’s a lovely little cycle. To get back into the swing of things, I’ve been looking at those 30 day challenges a lot of bloggers do. There are sooo many on pinterest. A lot of them require photos of yourself, so I ruled those out. I started a few of them, but couldn’t really find one where I liked all the questions. A lot of them have silly questions. Do you really want to hear about what’s in my fridge? I guess I could make my own, but maybe that defeats the purpose of it being a challenge.

Anyway, I found some on self-esteem and mental health which I thought would be a good idea. As many of you know, self-esteem has always been an issue for me.

my biggest fear

There are two versions, both originally from betterthandarkchocolate.tumblr.com (version 1 and version 2). I’m thinking my answers wont be very long, so I’ll answer two questions a day (one from each version), taking breaks for Share Your World and any other random inspirations. Feel free to join in. You can do it on your own blog or just write your answers in my comment box.

Here are the prompts:

30 Day Self-Esteem Challenge

Day 1:
A facial feature you like.
List 10 things that you love about yourself. (Physical or personality)

Day 2:
A physical feature you like.
List 5 things that make you smile or happy.

Day 3:
A part of your personality that you like.
What is one fear or goal that you would like to conquer?

Day 4:
A habit you have that you like.
What do you do to feel better when you’re having a bad day?

Day 5:
Something about the way you think that you like.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?

Day 6:
Something about the way you just are that you like.
What are some obstacles that are preventing you from accomplishing your goals? What will you do to overcome them?

Day 7:
When do you feel best about yourself?
Do you think you care too much about what others think? If so how can you change that?

Day 8:
The last time you smiled when someone complimented you. What was the compliment and why did you smile?
What is a food you enjoy that makes you feel good?

Day 9:
Something that you yourself do that makes you smile. Why?
Do you have genuine respect for yourself and who you are as an individual? and if so not how can you change that?

Day 10:
Why are you the way you are?
Are you happy with your “inner person”? If so why or why not?

Day 11:
Do you like the way you are? Why or why not?
Is your self talk like negative or positive? If it is negative what are some more positive ways to talk to yourself?

Day 12:
If you could change something about your personality, what would it be and why?
What’s the last thing you did that made you feel proud of yourself? Why did it make you feel this way?

Day 13:
What do you think of your smile?
Share about the last time you felt confident in yourself. Why did you feel that confident?

Day 14:
What do you think of your laugh?
Is there someone in your life who makes you feel good about yourself? If so how why?

Day 15:
Why do you think people are attracted to you, either friend-wise or romantically?
Do you like your personal appearance? If so why? If not what are some ways you could view yourself differently?

Day 16:
The last thing you did that made you smile.
Do you have make up, clothing or an accessory that makes you feel positive about yourself? If so what is it and why?

Day 17:
Another thing you like about yourself.
What do you do to feel calmer when you’re stressed?

Day 18:
The last thing you did that made you laugh.
Do you like the way you talk if so why? If not how can you view it more positively?

Day 19:
Is there a particular outfit/article of clothing/accessory you like on yourself? Why or why not?
Do you have an activity that makes you feel alive and good within yourself?

Day 20:
If you finish this challenge and still feel that your confidence is low, would you be willing to do it again? Why or why not?
Has your self esteem improved with doing this challenge? If so how?

Day 21:
When do you feel your most attractive? Why?
Name at least 5 things that you are good at.

Day 22:
What do you think others like about your personality?
Which of your skills or abilities to you pride yourself on?

Day 23:
What physical feature do others seem to find most attractive about you?
What is your ideal outcome of this challenge?

Day 24:
What is your definition of “beautiful”?
Do you compare yourself to others? How can you be more focused on yourself?

Day 25:
Do you often compliment other people?
If you met a person that was just like you, would you like them? If so why? If not how could you view with person more positively?

Day 26:
What is your favorite compliment to give and receive, and why?
When’s the last time you were too hard on yourself? What do you think you could have done to treat and comfort yourself instead?

Day 27:
Do you often accept compliments? If not, why?
What is the main barrier to you having positive self esteem? How can you break free from it?

Day 28:
Do you feel good about yourself today? Why or why not?
What do you consider to be healthy self esteem? Does this match the dictionary definition of healthy self esteem?

Day 29:
When you don’t feel good about yourself, what do you do to change that, if anything?
What do you think of your teeth and your smile? Do you like them and if so why? If not how can you view them more positively?

Day 30:
Are you happy with yourself?
Rate your self esteem on a scale of 1-10? Has your self esteem improved?

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