August 30, 2011

In the Middle

In these two drawings I see myself as being stuck in the middle...


This represents feeling crushed between memories of abusers. There's too much pressure coming in from both sides and I'm cracking in the middle because I can't hold it together.

The Emptiness Between

I drew this one when I was very disconnected from my feelings. I was numb but I was also aware of the pain and sadness that I should have been feeling - again, being attacked from both sides. I tried to represent these feelings with fire and black rain but I was safe for a moment in the space between them. However, my therapist commented that it looks very lonely, which I guess is true of feeling empty.

August 28, 2011

Opposites... Kind Of

I drew these next two one after the other and it's intriguing to me now that they seem almost like opposites but they're actually linked together pretty strongly. The first one is depression and the second one is internalized anger. Those two things kind of feed off of each other and they can make each other worse.

Black Hole

This was a representation of depression. A black hole in the middle sucking everything in. I've had lots of interesting ideas from other people for what they thought that it was... It's definitely not a flower - but again, find whatever speaks to you.

Fury Contained

At the time of drawing this, I wasn't really sure what I was doing. But looking at it now, I see all of my anger exploding inside but being held in and attacking me instead of being let out to where it belongs.

Starting to Let it Out

Painful Emptiness

This represents a black hill of pain in some big empty nothingness. It's that dead feeling that I get when there's too much pain. The pain is just an immovable part of a bleak landscape. However, there is a little purple in there if you look close enough, which might represent a little bit of hope.


Raining Chaos

Another one I drew when I was feeling completely overwhelmed. All of the feelings are just spiraling together and raining down out of a cloud of despair on top of me.


This is the humiliation I feel when I'm remembering things that happened. I'm in the corner in a pile of shame and disgust and the red and black spikes are the memories attacking me.

August 27, 2011

Visualizing PTSD Within Myself


So this is the FIRST pastel drawing about PTSD that I ever did. I had no idea where to even start so I kind of just went all over the place. I was overwhelmed at the time, which I think is fairly evident in the drawing. Got the brown confusing chaos in the corner, the swirly blue/green/black depression next to it, and all that fiery pain and anger at the top.

Then I went through a bunch of internal exploration in a DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) program and refined my general visualization of what PTSD is...

PTSD Macrophages

August 22, 2011
Now I've got all of these gross green globs of shame in the middle of the crazy spiked anger in a soup of blue and purple sadness. In the DBT program, a fellow patient suggested that they looked like macrophages, which seems perfect since macrophages are cells that eat pathogens as an immune response in the body. Kinda like PTSD is the brain's immune response to something bad happening.


I hate introductions but I guess it's necessary to explain a few things. So here it goes: I have PTSD. Obviously...

This blog will not contain any of my trauma story - all I will say is that it was childhood sexual abuse, it sucked, and that is why I have PTSD.  This is only about dealing with the after effects of that trauma.

My awesome therapist describes dealing with PTSD as a dance. It's complicated and hard and tiring and there's no easy way to treat it. It's a fucking long process. It comes with lots of confusing emotions and intense feelings. And for me, it also involves difficulty expressing those feelings in words. So that is why this is an art blog.

Despite my fears of letting people see my art and exposing myself to the critics out there, I want to share my work in the hopes that it might help someone somewhere somehow. Possible ways this might happen:

  1. Someone sees this blog who has PTSD and isn't able to express their feelings in words either and they see something they recognize and can relate to in my work.
  2. Someone sees this blog who does not have PTSD and then maybe understands the disorder a little better than they did before.

Moving on to an explanation of my art: This has been a long, ongoing journey for me and I only started doing the art part in May 2011, so this art doesn't really have a beginning or end. I usually use oil pastels because I like the medium and they also feel like crayons for adults. I'll try to explain the works as I go, but a lot of people that look at them find their own meanings in them - so if they speak to you in some other way than I describe then that's cool and just go with that.

I don't know if anything else requires explanation but hopefully, after this point, most of it can just speak for itself. Hopefully...