I did art today

I said two weeks ago that I was going to start posting some of my art from art therapy on my blog. This week was the first session since I said that, and I don't think the art I did is awful enough to refuse my readers access to it.

2013-03-14_15-53-58_304Okay, so.

This picture obviously doesn't reflect extraordinary artistic skill.  (I swear, I can art better than this.) But it was helpful.  The first part I drew was the car on the scales, which was about the stress I dealt with yesterday when my car broke.

Oh yeah, that's right.  My car broke.

Yesterday, when I was leaving school, I got in my car, turned it on  (it turned on fine) shifted into reverse (it shifted fine) and applied pressure to the gas pedal.  It didn't do anything.  I shifted back into park, then into reverse again, and tried again.  I tried driving forward, hoping that I could jog something into place within the couple inches of forward movement I could manage.  But forward didn't work, either.

I ended up having to have AAA tow my car home, and wasn't able to do the errands I had planned on taking care of after school yesterday.  (Fortunately, this meant I didn't get to put about $25 of gas into it before it broke.)

I was just sort of adding stuff randomly to the painting, but it turned out to seem really relevant when my therapist and I started talking about my anxiety over the fact that I had about as much as I thought I could handle on my plate already, and my car breaking seemed just entirely too huge.

I had planned on using just black paint the whole session, which leads into the next piece:  the clover.  I started, not thinking about painting a clover, but just thinking about green.  I wanted to paint something green, because I felt like my anxiety about money was a big part of my overall stress.  And the most significant element of my anxiety about money is my Clarion application, including the associated scholarships.

I decided to paint a symbol of luck because I felt like that's what I needed, and I talked to my therapist about contextualizing my bad luck earlier in the week in a healthy, productive way, rather than one that would cause emotional spiraling -- I don't actually believe in a balance of luck or karma one way or the other, but I figured it would be better to think "I'm facing a lot of bad luck right now, it's probably just a buildup of karmic debt to pre-balance my getting into Clarion later this week," rather than thinking "I'm having such an awful week, I'm probably not going to get into Clarion, either."

The last bit, the blue, was just thinking about figuring out methods to calm myself down and debrief from emotionally stressful experiences when I don't have enough time to sit down alone or with someone I can talk to and do it properly.


I also did some other art today, sort of.  My partner has a leadership-thing at her workplace in a few days, and her boss ordered nametags for everyone, except her.  So she was told to make her own nametag, and she came to me for help.  This is what came out of the process (and she was sitting next do me, okaying each step along the way):

Caitlin's nametagI wrote "Captain of the Cash" under her name, because I thought it was funny.  She decided it should go on, but asked that it be altered to say "Commodore."  Then, she suggested "Madame."  Then, she decided there ought to be a hat, because commodores have hats. I found a public domain image, which is now resting on her C.  The hedgehog was my idea, because she loves hedgehogs (and has one).  Originally, it was placed facing the other direction, but she asked it be altered.  Once turned around, it was staring at the dot in her second I, so I replaced it with an apple from the public domain image the hedgehog had come from.  Altogether I'm quite proud of this piece.  If I had a graphic design portfolio, I might put it in.

I started a new drug last night

My psychiatrist prescribed me a new medication yesterday, and I started it last night.  I wasn't expecting anything to happen today, I think because I'm used to reuptake inhibitors, which take like a month to start doing anything at all.  This one's a blood pressure medicine.  Sort of.  (I can't remember its name.) It was originally concieved as a blood pressure medicine, but then they figured out that it has a whole bunch of other uses.  I'm taking it because it's good for anxiety, but not in a 'just dulls the panic' kind of way.  It's supposed to increase bloodflow to the front of my brain, where the authoritative decisionmaking takes place.  Now, when my brain has an argument about whether to have ice cream or salad, or whether to watch Minecraft videos or do homework, the salad/homework side is going to have a little extra artillery.

And there's a good chance this is just the placebo effect, but it feels like it's already started working.  I dreamt a lot last night -- the dreams were vivid, and in some cases scary, but they were also somewhat substantially more banal than usual.  One of them was that I'd missed a bunch of phone calls about a job I've applied for.

And this morning, it's been much easier to get out of bed, and to stop doing one thing and start another while getting ready.  It was easy, when I decided to write this post before leaving, to just sit down and do it -- normally, I'd struggle in my head over whether it's a good idea, wasting precious minutes.

Hopefully these are all good signs for the new med.  I'm looking forward to what might come of it if it's effective.

Cuddles for sale: "The Snuggery"

SourceFed reports on The Snuggery, a New York[1. The state, not the city -- it's in Penfield,  about 350 miles northwest of NYC.] based service that offers snuggling at a rate of $60/hr.  The service is explicitly not prostitution -- Jacqueline, the snuggler, describes the service as:

a place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life and focus on the simple restorative pleasure of touch.

She points out the many health benefits of snuggling, including increased production of oxytocin and serotonin, and reducing stress in a way that lasts substantially beyond the end of the session -- according to the Snuggery website, it lasts up to five days.

This sounds to me like an awesome service.  Some people might be fine with minimum human contact, but speaking only for myself, long periods without any sort of intimate contact with other humans severely exacerbates my depression.  If you can afford it, this sounds great.