on the outside looking in

We actually had a fun art prompt at art therapy. It was making Mandalas and wow did everyone design and interpret it differently! I made the circle and just stared at it, hmmmm, what to do. I ended up getting a bunch of ribbon spools and made circles inside the circle, all different sizes. I drew a picture behind them and went from there. Interestingly, yesterday I was going through all my art projects and realized I pretty much draw the same thing over and over: trees, mountains, sun. This one has birds too. Is there some amazing significance to this? Nope. I recently was going through my moms illustrations and discovered the same thing. When it comes to art, I can’t think up crap to be honest, at least with drawing type things that is. I am more creative with collage, another project I’m working on, and crochet.

Anyway…… here is what I did (oops, picture is crooked though, lol).


When we processed it in group I said it was just pretty, just what I felt at the moment. Later though, after I got home, I realized that it was more than that. The idyllic scene is on the other side of the windows/portals. I’m outside looking in. Not only that but the windows are black.

Doesn’t this seem a perfect expression of depression? Can anyone relate?

When I’m depressed, which I have been lately, I don’t feel like I’m a part of the world. I’m separated from other people, I’m alone. It can be the most beautiful day of the year but I can’t experience it. I’m here, it is there.

It’s also exactly how I feel when I’m in eating disorder behavior: outside looking in. It’s almost surreal… wait, not almost; it is surreal. After eating and getting nourished again the world becomes more visceral.

Visceral: relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect.

Feelings versus intellect. When I’m eating disordered I’m repressing feelings and staying in the intellect. The problem is that feelings are a qualitative issue. I either experience all of them or repress all of them, bad and good. Going through the eating disorder program was much like crawling through one of those windows, or portal. I was suddenly immersed in the world, experience feelings across the board. I was almost a slave to those feelings, unable to lock it all down using my intellect. Thank god for therapy!

Therapy helped me, is helping me, find a balance between those two extremes. It’s helping me to figure out what the hell feelings are and how to determine if something is a feeling or a thought. I am no where close to a balance but I am closer than I was.

Mom’s Art

I recently (finally) got to my file drawer and sorted through all my files. I forgot about my moms poems and illustrations. She wrote a ton of poetry. It’s really a shame that it’s so hard for me to understand content written in that way. Maybe I’ll give it a try again. The one illustration that popped out was this one. Having watched my mom doing art year after year growing up, it’s obvious why my own art is what it is. I had a good laugh when I saw this.


Here is a close up of the smaller version of the larger picture, depicted in the fruit or leaf or whatever it is.


So yeah, too funny!

I’ll be posting her other illustrations and poems on a separate page. Having had a look, for some reason I am able to understand her poems. I have not read through them all. This is really the first time I’m going through this since she passed in 2009. I’ve written about her so it isn’t about grief or missing her, not at all, but rather because it was so daunting a task and my mind wasn’t clear.

Here is the link. It’ll be updated with full content by this afternoon. Illustrated Poems – Memorialized

2 thoughts on “on the outside looking in

  1. I can really relate to the feeling of being an outsider when it comes to depression. And when it comes to the eating disorder I feel like it creates an even DEEPER dissociation. Like you’re not just an outsider from other people but also your own body?
    Hours upon hours of research and immersing myself in “self-help” articles has given me the knowledge but I’m realising (sadly pretty slowly) that no matter how much I know I won’t make much progress while emotionally constipated haha.
    It’s relieving knowing someone has experienced similar feelings though!
    And sorry for such a long-winded comment, but what kind of therapy would you say has been most helpful for you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should see the miles long comments I leave on peoples posts! 🙂

      I have found that EMDR has been the most beneficial. It really has helped my life become livable. I have a long way to go but many of the things that caused flashbacks and such no longer do. It doesn’t remove the memory or discomfort, it diminishes it to make it manageable. Many times when watch TV, I would have to fast forward, mute it, look away or turn it off altogether when certain scenes happened. Now I can simply watch the movie. I hate those seems and generally look away but it doesn’t interrupt my life. I remember seeing people holding hands almost intolerable, yes, even that. But now it is what it is.

      There are other kinds of situations that were intolerable, like being around large men. I would go into freeze or flight mode. Now, I’m aware of the discomfort but I can remind myself that this person isn’t the person from my past. See what I mean?

      My therapist does do a variety of therapies. I don’t know what they are all called. EMDR though has been the number one though. You see, I can think and I can feel but I can’t think and feel at the same time and somehow that technique helps me do that. It doesn’t work for everyone. I’m grateful it does for me. Is that what you were asking?


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