I haven’t written in a while, there are several reasons for this. First, I started feeling like all my posts are nothing but me complaining about my life and I didn’t want my blog to sound that way to others or even to me. I would like to be this upbeat person but in truth even when I was a kid, I didn’t feel very upbeat.
The other reason is hard to explain without going into a lot of details. Quite frankly I had to look at my last blog post in order to remember how long it has been since I posted anything. In all honesty, my world fell apart on May 5th for the 3rd time in two years. The 2nd time in less than 6 months.
The 2nd week of taking calls, just 2 days shy of a full two weeks of doing my new job after 3 weeks of training, I had what I can only describe as a breakdown. I had hoped my nervousness, and anxiety would decrease as I took more and more calls and saw I was able to do the job but instead it just got worse until one day whenever someone asked me how I was, I would break down in tears.
I’m not a person who cries easily. I was baffled by this. All I could come up with was it was just all too much for me. I felt overwhelmed. I felt like I was losing it and afraid I would just fall apart into a zillion little pieces no one could put back together again.
In mid-March I had started what people call a bullet journal (BuJo for short). Up until May 5th, I had kept up with it but hadn’t gotten decorative at all, which was fine. Just using it was helpful in keeping track of what I needed to do.
Once May 5th happened, everything went out the door. Anything that had previously inspired me or gave me joy, gave me nothing.
On May 5th at the end of my work day, after tears and tears, which doesn’t really express how I was feeling or what was happening, I headed straight to a walk-in clinic. It just so happened that my doctor was working there that day. I told him all that had happened going back over the past two years. He prescribed medication for anxiety and depression and called it ‘adjustment reaction’. I took days off sick knowing I would not get paid. Ended up in and out of my doctor’s office or the walk-in clinic every couple of days. I tried working a half day, thought I had done well but when I was home relaxing I could feel my insides trembling and I realized even working a half day wouldn’t work.
In the end, my doctor recommended 3 months off work and because I was in my probationary period with my new job, I had to quit because they couldn’t put me on a leave of absence. I could reapply and probably get work there but the stress there just puts me over the top, overwhelms me, and I become a wreck.
What was hard to understand about this is I was doing well in my job. Every month or so we get to pick the shift we want to work and the top performers get to pick first. I was the top performer. I was able to pick whatever shift I wanted to work. I learned this the day before I broke down. Knowing I was doing well, wasn’t helping me at all.
My doctor and I both struggled with trying to understand why I was having this problem and the only thing we both could come up with is, the stress in my job was just too much on top of everything that has happened over the past couple of years. I’ve had no time to adjust to all the changes forced upon me.
My doctor and I both agreed, I need to find something less stressful, so I’m not working and back looking for another job, but this time I’m taking things one step at a time.
Up until about a week ago or so, nothing caught my interest. Not even my arts or crafts which I had previously jumped into with such joy and enthusiasm. I couldn’t find joy or enthusiasm in doing any of the things I used to do.
My BuJo suffered for a couple of weeks. I started just journaling the basics especially my appointments because I was afraid I wouldn’t remember them. Plus I had several things I needed to do which had deadlines. One important thing I almost missed and had a meltdown over it. For this reason I at least made sure I tracked the basic things I needed to do.
Eventually, I started doing more, like journaling about my day. In June, in order to force myself to do something artistic even if only for 5 minutes I started a June Zentangle Challenge. All it involved was drawing the tangle listed for that day and most times only took me five minutes or less to draw. This helped kick start some of my creativity but it took a while.
It wasn’t until about a week ago I finally started enjoying things again. I had picked up a coloring book and started using Prisma color pencils using blending and shading techniques to go beyond just the simple coloring. I was quietly pleased with how my experimenting with the Prisma color pencils was working out.
As I worked on the tangles each day, and watched some mixed media videos on YouTube, I decided to create some cards with tangle step-outs so I can shuffle them to select some random designs to use in a piece of art. So I started experimenting by creating my own pattern paper on one side leaving the other side blank where I can draw in the step-outs for the tangle pattern, then use water color wash to add color to the background while still being able to see the step-outs. Here are the front of the first two cards I made…
For the time being I removed the picture of the backs of the cards since the step-outs are not mine and I don’t want to infringe on any copyrights. The back of the cards are rough around the edges due to the gloss medium used on the front of the cards getting underneath the edges and onto the back. The water color I used to color the back wouldn’t stick to the gloss medium. I need to find a way to keep this from happening. I decided not to use gloss medium on the back because when the shiny side of the cards are together they stick together, not slide. I need to find another finish to seal the cards that will let them slide and not stick together.
The cards are going to take a long time to make, but that is okay. I will be able to try different mixed media methods and build on improving my art skills as I work on them. I’ve already learned a few things I like or don’t like.
My BuJo has also shown the changes in me over the past few weeks. Where everything was pretty basic in the past three days there have been significant changes. Art has found its way into my BuJo and I could not be happier with the results. Below are pictures of the past 3 days daily spreads. I use weeklies and monthlies for tracking tasks and appointments and other things like trackers and such but my dailies are where the artwork is showing up most.
I am still working on coloring in today’s layout. I may not have time every day to create decorative spreads like these and that is okay, knowing I can do it is a wonderful feeling after having almost a month of feeling dead or out of control. Plus I can always go back and color the spread in when I have time.
I’m still looking for a job but I’m not obsessing over it like I was. I need to realize I have my limits and if I’ve learned nothing else over the past couple of months, I have learned that. I knew I had a breaking point just never knew where that breaking point was until now. It isn’t an easy thing to realize or accept but sometimes you have no choice.