Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leave my pockets alone!!! (Part 4, Does Art Heal?)

There's this period of utterly sad reflection that goes on  in the next phase of the healing process.   But many people just feel sad, or lonely, or isolated.  It can happen months after the event.  It’s normal.  Other people probably won’t understand it.  This is usually when they tell you to “get over it” and rejoin the land of the living!

Grief or healing depression is not clinical depression. It’s just a normal part of the healing process.  You will experience this in our own unique way.  Just be sure you’re dealing with it in a healthy way.  Some of the feelings might include

1.  Wanting to be alone with your sad thoughts
2.  Wanting to escape from outside pressures
3.  Feeling apathetic  - not interested in anything at all
4.  Being lethargic – unable to move or function on a normal daily basis
5.  Feelings of worthlessness 

Over time, these feelings will subside.  But they can also return each year at special occasions like a birthday, holiday, anniversary.   This type of depression is usually not treated with medications or antidepressants.  You just have to work through this phase of the process.  If you don’t, that’s when it can develop into clinical depression.

Maybe that’s where the expression “good grief” came from…..grieving is good because it’s gets us back to being a healthy person once again.

Oh! Such fun to be creative!  Little girls stamped and inked on shrink plastic, then apply heat.  They are only a little over an inch tall!  The dresses at the top are even smaller.  And an envelope on top of a tag on top of an envlope...layers of creativity!

And THIS is the time to find a creative outlet!  Painting, drawing, scrapbooking, rubberstamping, sewing, writing….anything will help.  If you write, recall the positive experiences of the past, remember the good times. I think it’s important to realize that there’s no right or wrong way to go through the healing process.  And there’s no set timeline to do it in.  Nothing is silly.  There are no “shoulds”. But I think that doing something is always better than doing nothing….as long as it’s a positive something that you are doing!

I’m not going to bore you with my grief process….but I learned it in detail about 1994.  My grandmother’s funeral was on the exact day that my oldest son was going in for a second hip operation, having been on crutches for the last 9 months following the first hip operation.  I had received the final divorce papers (he got custody of my youngest son) and almost the same time, I was laid off from a job I loved due to a merger.  I hadn’t gotten over the loss of my own father in late 1992 and simply didn’t realize how much loss I was experiencing in such a short time.  Go back to that checklist of major losses that I did---I had lost a parent, a grandparent, a job, a marriage, and the health of a son.  Hmmm…..ya think maybe I was a little overwhelmed?

But that “good Baptist grieving” I spoke of in the last segment kicked in and sometimes that works as a really good survival mechanism.  Not so sure it helps you heal….but it gets you to where you need to be.  I was so busy I didn’t have time to even think about loss. 

I love this cuttlebug embossing folder...inked, with stickles on top.  The bird of peace.  In this period of healing, we really are looking for peace in our lives.

And then I got sick.  Really sick.  It was my body’s way of telling me to take a break, stop, backup, take time out.  Funny how smart the body is when the brain simply won’t listen!

I have met many, many individuals just like that.  They have so much loss in such a very short time period and don’t take a break, don’t process it…just keep going full speed and keep everything stuffed inside.   Usually those are the ones who get really sick.  I have to wonder that if they took time out to go through the healing process after a loss….would they be healthy today?

Into every live a little rain should fall.  Here in Colorado, that turns into snow.  Wonderful felt snowflakes by Creative Impressions layered inside glass with soldered edges.  A reminder that rain, when frozen and turned into snow, can be beautiful.  Maybe we just need to look at things differently to find the beauty in them!

It’s important to understand that there are different types of events that can cause grief.  The death of a loved one is “acute” loss.  It’s immediate.  It’s onset is instant.  Compare that to a loss that comes in tiny bits and pieces over an extended period of time.  A diabetic might eventually lose the use of their legs and become wheelchair bound…but that could be more than 30 years since the onset of the disease.  A different kind of loss – but still a significant loss that needs to go through each of the steps of the healing process.

A simple library card pocket...turned into a piece of art!  So elegant!  Sometimes, we need something really pretty to journal our saddest feelings on.

How do you get through this stage of the healing process?  A really tough question! Don’t you just hate it when someone tells you that you are depressed….but they don’t tell you what to do about it?  LOL!!!  I think there are things that will help:  (yes, some of these are a repeat from Part 1, but there are expansions….examples of what specific actions you can take….well worth another mention in this phase, just in case you’ve forgotten that you need to continue these activities in order to heal.)

Sometimes, what's inside is just as pretty as what's on the outside.  The tag inside has glitter on each line of writing. The top envelope has glitter on each flower. Once again, the chaos of life with winter tinsel and summer flowers.

1.    Admit how sad you feel, how hopeless life is.  Give yourself a boundary…a deadline to end this phase.  I sometimes take 24 hours out of my life to “get over” something.   But you may need weeks or even months to process your event.
2.    Write your feelings.  Remember, if you write it down, you don’t have to rethink it or worry about it.
a.    Study.  Learn.  Use the internet to research this step, or to research the overall healing process.  Learn as much as you can about your loss.  Write down what you learn and how you feel about what you knew then vs what you know now.
b.    Maintain order in your surroundings.  It will help you maintain order in your inner lie and create positive energy. 
3.    Rest.  Relax. Take lots of naps.  Long hot baths.  I think this includes nurturing yourself.  
a.    Believe it or not, crying will help you relax.  Tears contain ACTH, a stress hormone.  They help detoxify the body.  Emotional relase helps lower blood pressure and heart rate.  I can sleep for hours after a good cry.
b.    Wear comfortable clothing, something soft next to your skin.
c.    Hug a soft pillow at night, put pillows at your back, try a full body pillow.
d.    Limit your exposure to noise, depressing TV shows, sad books, negative people.
e.    Get a massage.  Any kind.  It can’t hurt!
4.    Eat right.  Every single day.  Good nutrition helps.  The doctor said “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” and I honestly believe he was on to something there!
a.    Some recommend herbs. I tried them. I think they may help you relax so maybe this goes under # 3 above.
b.    Eat comfort foods….there are healthy ones like chicken soup, a simple green salad, a plate of pasta.  Drink warm fluids.  Take your vitamins.
c.    I hate the taste of coffee, never learned to drink it. But I love the smell.  It’s a smell that I grew up with.  And when I think of my childhood, I am happy.  This is what aromatherapy does.  Find your own personal “happy” aroma.
5.    Walk outside.  Look at the flowers, the leaves, the snow.  Connect to nature.  There are 4 seasons in a year and if we truly understand the cycle of the seasons and think about it, we will come to know that life will and does go on.
a.    Yoga is a good exercise if you do the kind that focuses on breathing.  Oxygen in, toxins out. 
b.    Deep breathing.  It can ease the heaviness in your chest.
c.    I don’t believe in acupressure, but I do.  If I apply pressure to the area between my thumb and index finger, I can often relieve a headache.  Try holding one ring finer, then the other for relief from anxiety and/or depression.  Or try holding your right thumb with your left hand and then switch and repeat.
6.    Pray.  Turn it all over to God.  Take the “monkey off your back”, let that weight be lifted up.  Trust me, it’s a learning process, but you will be able to let it go in due time.
7.    Appreciate and be thankful for what you had before it was gone.  Find one positive thought per day to focus on. 
a.    Someone once shared with me the concept of an “applause” journal.  Every time someone said something nice about you, write it down. Write down the date, the time, the event, what the other person said, how you felt when they said it.  This might just be a good time to start your own “applause” journal.
8.    Find something tiny in each day to smile about and then let that single smile grow into something to laugh about every day.
a.    Put on makeup.  Dress up pretty.  Put on your party shoes.  Even if you aren’t going anywhere.  Dress up and just sit in your chair.  That would make me laugh!
b.    Someone once told me that if you have a good haircut, everything else will look good.  Now might be the time to splurge and get that haircut!
9.    Make self-preservation your number one priority during this time.
10. Turn to the right side of your brain.  Explore it.  See what’s there.  Can you be a tiny little bit creative every day? 
a.    Maybe buy a creative magazine and look through it and pick one simple small thing you can do. 
b.    Take a piece of clay and turn it into a small bird, something easy (will help connect you to nature, # 5 above)
c.    Buy a cheap set of kids watercolor paints and try painting something (ok, for me, this would connect back to # 8 above!)
d.    Make a hand made thank you card and give it to someone who has done something nice for you (will help with #7 above)

The possibilities are endless. 

The tag on the right says, "Life is Good".  It's good at this point to remind ourselves of that as often as we can in as many ways as we can.  Being creative is always good.  Even if you think you don't have a creative bone in your body, you just might find that ou do!  Tea dyed lace, butterscotch alcohol inked beads, diamond stickles, tea dyed edges.  Takes that bright pink background and tones it down.  Sometimes, life needs to be toned down in order for us to heal and move forward with our life again.

Depression can be a healthy stage of grieving.  It should be evolving and resolving.  But more importantly, this can be the time when you explore your creative side.  In today's pocket, what would you write about an episode of depression you experienced.  Or better there a past loss that you haven't yet grieved?  What can you do at this point to process it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think a simple Thank You is enough but I really appreciate you sharing. It is so helpful and down to earth. Thank You!
Peggy P, who is very excited to be a Grandmother any day now.