January 31, 2012

Scary: Part 3

This is the last post of the "Scary" series. The last picture is also probably the scariest.


January 21, 2012
This totally looks like a cutting picture but it's actually not really, or at least that wasn't on my mind when I drew it. I didn't even feel like cutting that night because it didn't feel like anything other than oblivion could help. Obviously, even that didn't help... This picture is more about inner pain. It's representing how emotions sometimes feel like a knife slicing through me and leave huge gaping wounds and blood all over the place. Gruesome. The only thing that surprises me about this picture is how straight I drew the lines of the knife considering the state I was in. Everything about it just completely describes how my mind felt on Saturday night.

The good news is that I feel a lot better now. I've spent all of my time since that weekend pulling myself out of the depression by making sure I wasn't alone, leaning on my parents for support and doing some exercise and mindfulness. So to end this series on a better note, I'm going to share a "thank you letter" that I wrote to myself in writing therapy during the partial hospitalization program.

Dear Kate,

You've been through a lot of really tough stuff but you have done really well coping with everything by yourself. The coping skills that you came up with by yourself when you were little were very smart. You also managed to make it through middle school, high school and college without a lot of help while struggling with some really intense feelings.

I'm really proud of you now for how hard you've been working towards getting better. It was really hard for you in the past year and a half, opening yourself up to someone and processing some of the abuse. Especially recently, I've been really proud of how hard you're working to try to turn things around for yourself. You've really been fighting for yourself and you've been trying to be positive. Your determination to get better and make changes is inspiring. I'm so glad that you are starting to feel empowered and you have started to realize that you are not helpless and you can get through this because you are in charge of your own recovery. Thank you for being so resilient and strong. Your courage is amazing.

Thank you!

January 26, 2012

Scary: Part 2

Continuing on from my last post, the next thing I drew was when I knew I was in trouble.

January 21, 2012

Suicidal Waterfall

When I start drawing green like that I know it's a bad sign. Those are suicidal colors to me. In this case they represent how I was trying to drown out some of the pain with alcohol, which is never ever ever a good idea for me. I was totally reminded of the drawing, Drowning, from this post, so when I was drawing it I knew I was in a bad place.


January 21, 2012

Fake Happy

I drew this one while laughing a little maniacally. I was drawing how fake happy I have to pretend to be sometimes. I was just scribbling at this point, bending the paper and adding as many gaudy bright colors as I could.


Overwhelming Feelings

January 21, 2012
After drawing the fake happiness I had to draw how I really felt inside. This is also just scribbles but with all of the colors that I was feeling inside.

January 24, 2012

Scary: Part 1

So. I had a pretty scary weekend. I tripped over myself, stumbled past all of my red flags, and fell into a disgustingly horrible, deep hole. And I feel like it's a dirty secret even though I told my parents what happened so I need to write about it. Ever since getting out from my last hospital visit, I've been marching myself along, making myself do everything I'm supposed to do, and then I felt better. And then I got lazy and thought I could stop doing everything. And then I spiraled downwards and in two weeks hit my lowest point ever. I thought Saturday was horrible. I did some really dangerous things that definitely threatened my safety. And then Sunday came and I realized that Saturday was not actually so horrible. I have never felt so alone or so suicidal in my life. I hope I never feel that suicidal again. I just sat there and looked at all of my options very seriously. I looked at death, the hospital, or life. I decided that the hospital was out. I've been there - I know what happens there and I know what doesn't happen there. It's probably what most other people would have chosen for me but the thought of going just sent me farther down into despair. So then all I had left was life or death. I stared at death and really thought about what it meant. I thought about all of the people I know. And I just couldn't do that to them. And then I thought about myself and I realized I couldn't do it to myself either. Not after everything I've been through already. I'm not wasting all of that effort just to give up in the middle because I'm overwhelmed. So then I had to look at life because that was the only option left. And that meant that even though I didn't feel like it, I had to get up and start doing all of the things that are good for me again. I got up and threw out everything that might tempt me to do anything dangerous again. And then I called my parents and told them what happened and had them pick me up and I stayed with them. I spent the whole day doing a mixture of sobbing, distracting, and positive self-talking. I told my parents it was the worst day of my life, which I don't think they believed, but I honestly think it was. I felt so defeated by life and yet I had already made my decision and it was literally 'do or die' so I had to 'do' and have faith that I could climb out of the hole. And even though it's exhausting, I'm still climbing because I don't have any other options anymore.

Lots of drawings came out of this experience. I just sat all evening on Saturday drawing and doing stupid things and you can kind of see the progression of my emotions getting darker and more overwhelming with each picture. 

Here are the first two:

January 21, 2012


I was trying to organize everything that was going on in my head so that it didn't feel so overwhelming. I tried to make it so that the more overwhelming something was, the bigger the box it had. At the top are the general symptoms of PTSD and depression mixing together. On the left are the little explosions of intrusive memories that I keep getting. The colors represent the two main perpetrators. On the right is the painful aloneness I was feeling mainly because I don't have my old therapist anymore.


January 21, 2012
This represents how I feel like there's a hole in my stomach where I used to have someone that knows almost everything about me. It's the loss that I feel when I wish that I could talk to my old therapist.

January 20, 2012

The Future

In the PHP, we had a writing therapy group in late November that was about what you want your recovery process to look like and how you would like the future to be. The future has been scaring me a lot recently so I thought it might be a good time to look back at what I wrote. 

The prompt was:
Think about your vision of the future you would like to create, what might that include, what might it look like? How might the actions you are taking in your recovery process transform not only your future, but also yourself?
I wrote:
In my future, I would like to be safe and thriving instead of just surviving. I want to be able to handle the depression and PTSD symptoms. In my recovery process, I will be determined to use and practice the skills that I know are necessary. I need to be aware of when I have to use those skills. I would like to be able to tolerate my feelings and process them so that I can feel joy as well as sadness and anger. I need to find the balance. I want to go to more groups on coping and I would like to work with skills in individual therapy in order to continue trauma work. I want to be in a safe place where I am able to be self-reliant and am also able to use supports and connections when I need to. I want this future to be soon but I also realize that it will take time and I need to keep a positive attitude about myself and the process in order to reach my goals. I recognize that it may be a while before I reach this future but I am determined to be safe and I am determined to use skills and work hard.
It has definitely been helpful to look back at this. I've been forgetting to have patience with the process. I'm always in a rush to do everything. But that makes it hard to keep a positive attitude when you're never making as much progress as you want to be. So I think I need to remind myself to slow down and remember that it's OK to have bad days because recovery isn't an overnight process.

January 19, 2012


My CBT therapist gave me an assignment for this week, which has been really hard for me to think about. She suggested I write down what I want to say to my old therapist at our last meeting. It has, of course, forced me to experience all of the emotions I feel about the whole situation. I'm not going to share what I wrote, but I did draw something that pretty much sums up all of my emotions.

Fighting Feelings

January 16, 2012
I'm not used to feeling so intensely... but I guess that's what happens when you suppress all of your feelings for twenty or so years and then they all start to come out within a year. So I kind of feel like I'm constantly fighting all of the intensity of the emotions, which is exhausting and kind of painful. This drawing shows the pain and hurt I feel about what happened at the top in red. The fire is the anger I feel at the situation and the anger at myself (which I'm trying to fight). The greenish color is the embarrassment I feel about the intensity of my emotions and about what my reaction has been with regards to emailing my old therapist too much. The blue at the bottom is the sadness I feel about the loss. In the top corner is my fight against the feelings - I used light blue and silver to represent using acceptance. I hope it starts working soon because I'm really sick of feeling so strongly all of the time.

January 16, 2012


I've been trying to do mindfulness exercises because everyone raves about how helpful they can be. I've been doing some meditation and body scans. They do make me feel better and yet I somehow still have a hard time getting myself to do them sometimes. I think it's because of the time it takes up. I feel like I spend my whole day either working or doing things that I have to do in order to not be so depressed. It seems to leave no time for leisure activity. However, I think if I set a specific time to do some mindfulness, then I might be able to stop pushing it aside.


January 2, 2012

I felt that this represented the focus on breathing during meditation. When I'm concentrating completely on my breathing I feel like everything on the outside fades away into a place where I don't have to worry about anything for the time being. The blue represents the focus on the quicker in-breath and the slower out-breath. The yellow represents how the concentration on the breath keeps worries and other things at bay. The green represents how everything outside of the breath is just in the background.

January 14, 2012


I don't have my positive pants on this week at all. I'm mostly wishing that I could crawl out of my skin and go hide in some dark corner of nothingness where I don't exist in anyone's mind, including my own. Unfortunately that safe little place doesn't exist, so I've just been sitting with exhaustedy depressiony shit all week and dragging myself around as best I can. I can't even figure out what to post about right now. I guess I'll post a drawing about how it feels to be depressed when at a party since the thought of going to a bar last night had me in tears...


January 1, 2012
After my suicide attempt, I made the decision to stop drinking and partying because of how much being drunk contributed to my attempt. It was hard because half my social life went splat when I had to stop drinking. My friends and I are all still half in college mode with regards to partying. I'm not going to ditch my friends because I don't want to party, but it's hard to be around when other people are having so much alcohol induced fun. It sucks even more to be around that when you're depressed.
I represented the activity and craziness of parties with all of the colors and movement. I represented myself as the grey bowling pin type figure on the left. Behind me are a bunch of browns and greys. I feel like I'm the boring one because being sober at a party isn't all that exciting. When I'm depressed, it's worse and I start feeling like people only talk to me because they're being polite. Basically I just feel awkward and out of place at a crazy party. They are also incredibly tiring for me to be at, which is why I was in tears at the thought of spending energy I didn't have to deal with drunk people in the city.

January 11, 2012


Yes this is the same drawing as in the last post... but it has an alternate meaning...

Monkey Fight

My brother really likes monkeys and pointed out that this looks like a cartoon monkey fight. I have to agree.

January 9, 2012

Opposite Emotion

Current status: feeling depressed and shitty, wish I could cut, not really liking life. Action: opposite emotion, remember pleasant times. So even though I don't feel like it, I'm going to do this blog post.


December 25, 2011
I drew this one for my brother on Christmas as a present. He always gives me the gift of laughter (corny, I know) so I drew a representation of that and gave it back to him. My brother wanted the middle to be a man in a top hat with a monocle, but I chose to do blue to represent our humor and jokes. Coming out from that humor is lightness and joy.

If you're wondering, I'm not really feeling all that much better, but at least I spent my time not doing anything I would regret later. Yay.

January 8, 2012

Art Therapy Round Two: Part 4

Me, the World, and People

December 16, 2011
The prompt for this was to draw your view of yourself, the world around you, and of the people around you. I chose to make a collage. At the bottom is the darker sides of all three. I have pictures of deep foundations and darkness to represent that everyone has deep secrets and the world has it's dark places where people do bad things. I put the words "Forget about" "Let's talk" to represent how I've dealt with my own secrets. For a long time I just tried to forget that they happened until finally I couldn't hold them in anymore, they started coming out and I needed to talk about them. In the middle, I put up pictures of the positive parts of the world. I used pictures of beautiful places and nature. I used a picture of a little girl to represent innocence in the world and my own innocence before the abuse. Above her, I have a picture of a candle to represent light and hope. In the top right, I used a picture of colors to represent my creativity. The butterflies represent my friends and family that surround me. They are colorful and interesting people and I consider them "The Best of the Best".

January 3, 2012


Dealing with emotions and thoughts is really hard and takes a lot of courage. I was sitting today and suddenly had a self-harm thought that I immediately pushed away and bashed on the head for existing. I basically told myself that I was doing bad for still having thoughts like that. But then I realized that just having the thought did absolutely nothing to hurt me. I didn't do anything. I didn't listen to the thought. There was no need to go one step further and start blaming myself for having the thought and being afraid of what having that thought meant for my recovery. All I have to do is notice that I have the thought, figure out where the thought originated from and then sit and deal with whatever feeling caused the thought. I just made that sound really easy. But it's really not. There is so much courage involved in allowing yourself to have thoughts, especially when they're scary, and allowing yourself to have feelings and know that you're going to be okay despite them. So I decided to try and not be scared of the thought and I reminded myself that I was okay and that nothing bad had happened and that's one more step in the right direction! I think that is an excellent example of what courage can mean. Even small things like that can be huge feats of bravery.

Early on at the partial program (from which I was discharged today!!) we had a writing therapy group (sorry this isn't an art post).  The prompt was to write about what "courage" means to you and to describe a time when you were courageous. I'm not at all in the same place as I was when I wrote this so maybe I'll rewrite it at some point. I know now that I have A LOT of courage, enough to get through recovery and more, but I want to share this anyway because it helps me see just how far I've come. This is what I wrote 6 weeks ago:

Reaching out for help is something that takes a lot of courage for me. Just setting up initial appointments with anyone takes courage. I feel like this shows just how hard this whole process of recovery is. I have a lot of trouble knowing how much strength I have. People tell me I have a lot, but I don't know if I have enough. I don't know if I'm courageous enough to find out. I don't know if I'm courageous enough to face and manage all of my fears.

My courage comes from within. I've always had to be strong, and fighting these demons since I was 11, when I started feeling depressed, has taken a lot of courage. No one was there to help me through most of it. Now I don't know if I've run out of courage. Or maybe I just need a little more to get past this rather than just living with it. It's tiring to use so much of my resources just to be brave, just to sit with my emotions. I hate how hard it is. It's a constant battle. But I do think the battle creates courage in some ways. Once I reached out for support, I gained courage and strength from those people. I just need to find ways to hold onto that and keep it with me. Even that takes courage.

January 2, 2012

Art Therapy Round Two: Part 3

December 9, 2011

I wasn't in the mood for doing art this day so this picture turned out pretty shitty. The prompt was to draw what you consider sacred. I decided instead of drawing, to just write what I find very important to me. It's a little hard to see what the words are. The most important ones are "love of family and friends" and "support of therapy". These I wrote the largest because I find them to be the most important parts of my recovery. The smaller words say, "peace", "nature", "art", "connection" and "helping others". These things give meaning to my life so that is why they are also sacred to me.

December 23, 201

A Safe Place

The prompt for this was to draw somewhere that feels safe. I used crayons for this drawing and it's drawn on construction paper. I first drew a bubble around my place to protect it from everything that might try to get in. Every time I think of an imaginary place, the edges always scare me because I don't know who might come in, so I drew the bubble to give my place boundaries. Inside of the bubble is a forest, a field and a beach. These are all things I find beautiful and calming.

January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I just hit 1000 pageviews today! Happy New Year! :)