A safe place and a trigger

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Last night was day 3. Dinner was hard and I barely finished, eating my last bite right as time was called. Right after dinner was art therapy. We start art with a visual check-in. We have 3 minutes to draw how we are feeling. I was overwhelmed from dinner, so I drew a sad, crying face surrounded by a bright pink circle that represented my anxiety that was enveloping me.

The art teacher suggested that for my first night in art therapy I try creating a safe place. A place I could imagine and go back to when I was feeling overwhelmed. I decided to work with colored pencil and chalk pastels and made the above image. I chose fields because I feel calmest when I am out in nature. I chose a solid tree because they make me feel safe to be under. I put a swing on the tree because swinging makes me feel relaxed. I put mountains in the distance because I love to look at the mountains. I didn’t have time to give the sky color, but I like the way my picture turned out. And in the process of making my safe place, much of the sadness, overwhelmingness, and anxiety left me and I was much more calm for the next group.

I’m also taking a college course right now. I’m taking a prerequisite for the nursing course I want to get into: Human Nutrition. This class is fascination, and triggering as hell. One project I’m working on right now is a diet analysis. I have to track my food intake over a number of days using their diet tracker software and it automatically tracks the nutrients I am consuming, including my calories, vitamins, and minerals. I am not supposed to be tracking calories while I’m in treatment, and I find this software very triggering. I find myself wanting to not follow my meal plan because I have to submit my diet analysis to my teacher and I don’t want her to see me eating all this food. I see the calories listed in the breakfast I just ate and I want to go vomit. I really need to talk to my team about how to handle this because it’s been really hard on me.

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10 responses »

  1. Man while you started describing your safe place I started feeling calmer too…I like nature as well…art is one of my therapeutic methods and I obviously need to take it up more often especially as just imagining what you did calmed me and had such an effect.
    As far as the triggers, I can understand that. Have you talked to your instructor about this privately. I know sometimes we do not want to get this personal with an instructor but it may be worth that or as you said talking with your group so that you can push through this! Good Luck! I remember doing something similar when in undergrad for my degree in my nutrition class.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hadn’t thought of talking to my instructor. I’m not sure what I’d say. I’m don’t really want to get special treatment because I’m in treatment for bulimia.
      Yes, you should definitely take the time to incorporate art into your life more. And I’d love to see some if you felt life sharing it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well I understand not wanting special treatment…I have been there; however, if you think that it’s possible that this may be one of a few projects that may trigger you so…I may be worth it as she could alter a few assignments not to get you out of them or do less work but to change the format I’m sure you are not the first they would have to deal with. Maybe if you even came to her with a possible alternate format to meet her halfway. Teachers love initiative ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Is it possible to wait on the nutrition course until you are through with treatment. It seems contradictory and stressful. Get yourself well first, then get educated. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think talking to your team about this is a good idea. Maybe they could give you tips on how to handle the situation or even write a note for you that you could give the teacher so she could modify the exercise to better fit your situation? I’m sure that it would be very difficult to share with your teacher but I think she would understand and could help! Anyways, good luck with all this, I’m so glad the Art Therapy is helping ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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