Tag Archives: Art

Asserting Myself

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Tonight we had art therapy. Ever since we talked about the wheel of abuse, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head that my eating disorder is abusive toward me. Tonight, I wanted to practice assertiveness toward my eating disorder so I drew the first panel where my eating disorder is being abusive and I am in a defensive position. Then, I drew the second panel where I am being assertive and wrote out all the things I want to say to my eating disorder.

It’s very similar to the Lies Kyle Tells exercise we did, but I am feeling very rebellious toward my eating disorder today and assertiveness is not my forte, so I felt the need to practice it tonight. I also wanted to visually represent Kyle as abusive as a reminder to myself for when I’m not feeling so rebellious.

Murder

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Last night I had a very hard time with dinner and I couldn’t finish and had to boost. When the staff member was talking to me about it afterward, she asked me what kind of thoughts were going through my head during dinner. They were standard Kyle-lies, things like “I don’t deserve to eat” and “I’m too fat for food.” She told me to give her counter thoughts to the thoughts I was having like we had practiced before. I couldn’t. I could not say the counter thoughts out loud. I couldn’t get them to come out.

This, after a bit, made me really angry. It made me remember the wheel of abuse we discussed in group and how my eating disorder felt, in that moment, truly oppressive. Something about that made me really angry. And I don’t get angry.

After dinner, we had art therapy. The art therapist asked me what I felt I needed to work on and I scared her by telling her I wanted to kill something. I worked with paint, which normally scares me because I have no experience with paint and I don’t like to get messy. I painted the above 3 panels.

I painted the middle panel first. That is the death scene. There’s an explosion of blood. That panel, while simple, was intense to paint. In that scene, I killed my eating disorder. I murdered Kyle. But that son of a bitch had it coming.

The first panel represents my eating disorder. It’s dark and oppressive with words that represent my eating disorder.

The last panel is my life after the death of Kyle. It’s bright and hopeful and, yes, there’s a residual effect of his role in my life, but most of my life is filled with what I want to fill it with.

The Lies Kyle Tells

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Recently, in art therapy, I drew my eating disorder, and named it Kyle. Today in experiential therapy, we talked about abusive behavior and how our eating disorders are abusive toward us. Then, we wrote down lies and mean things that our eating disorders tell us, and then a neutral or positive thought to counter them. Below are some of the common thoughts Kyle tells me, and the neutral/positive thoughts I wrote down to counter them.

  • You are disgusting.
    • I am a beautiful human person.
  • You don’t need food.
    • I am a human person with physical needs.
  • You aren’t human.
    • I am a human person.
  • I keep your emotions in check.
    • Emotions are healthy and a necessary part of the human experience.
  • You don’t deserve to eat.
    • I am a human person with basic physical needs who deserves food.
  • You are worthless.
    • I have great worth and value to give to this world.
  • If you do what I say, you’ll be happy.
    • I am not happy living with my eating disorder.
  • Dying of anorexia would be an accomplishment.
    • Dying of anorexia would be a tragedy, and pointless.
  • No one loves you but me.
    • I am loved by many people.
  • There’s nothing really wrong with you.
    • I have a serious mental illness that needs to be addressed and treated.
  • You are ugly.
    • I am a beautiful human person.
  • You are too fat for food.
    • All people need food, I am a human person with physical needs. I deserve food.

 

 

I drew Kyle

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Tonight we had art. I love art, it’s a great chance to process through things. Tonight, I got the idea to try to put a face to my eating disorder. This is what I came up with. It’s a grotesque, oozing, green monster with tendrils that go into my brain and body because it’s trying to control me. However, it has this antenna that has this beautiful butterfly hanging from it. I call the butterfly the beautiful lies my eating disorder tells me. All the things it claims to offer, the safety is seems to hold, the reasons I keep it around. All I can see are those lies hanging in front of my face, I don’t see the ugly monster on my back literally pushing me down (thus why the person is prone). The person is naked because my eating disorder tries to keep me in shame.

I named my eating disorder Kyle. The name is completely arbitrary, it just felt good to give the monster a name.

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.

Day 2

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Yesterday I met with my psychiatrist. I was apprehensive going in. I didn’t have a good experience with the psychiatrist I was assigned through the mental health clinic I attend, so I was worried how my appointment would go. I was pleasantly surprised. He was friendly, he didn’t talk down to me or seem to have pre-judged what conditions I had and try to make me fit into those diagnoses regardless of whether they fit me or not. He was attentive and listened, asked a lot of questions, and really seemed to care.

After I met with the psychiatrist, it was time for dinner. Dinner was very hard last night, and I was only able to complete about 60% of it. I tried really hard, though.

During our first group after dinner, we made collages with pastels to represent a moment in time in the last 24 hours where we felt intense emotion. We had to think of the moment and then circle on an emotions list all the emotions we were feeling. Then, using the pastels, we had to assign each emotion a color, and represent them on the paper however we felt best represented the moment.

I made the above collage. I started in the center with the emotions I feel are at the core of me and then worked out to the emotions I feel are more at the surface. The emotions are as follows, starting from the center and working out:

  • Worthless
  • Inadequate
  • Ashamed
  • Vulnerable
  • Overwhelmed
  • Apprehensive
  • Upset
  • Anxious

The moment in time that I picked was right after I finished dinner.

Tonight we have art and then family group. I invited several people from my family but I don’t think anyone is coming. I’m looking forward to more art.

Art Distraction

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In my effort to not self-harm, I arted some more. Neither is finished, but it helped me get through the evening injury free.

Look what I found!

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tmp__20140525_175630-1773773381I found another app that is way more like drawing with a pencil and paper. It felt so much more natural! I still am not quite comfortable drawing on my tablet, but I do enjoy it more than I ever thought I would.

 

Trying out digital art

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My tablet has a couple art apps on it, but I’ve never tried them out. I’m very much a physical art kind of gal. However, I have no clue where I’ve put my art supplies and my counselor gave me the assignment to do some kind of art this week, so I thought I’d give this a try.

Digital art is weird to me. I don’t understand the various tools and brushes, I don’t know how to get looks or techniques I am familiar with on paper. However, I did enjoy myself.

I made two pieces, and I liked the other better, but the app crashed partway through…

In the one above, I tried to convey my hatred of food. One of the insanities of my bulimia is that I loathe food, but I eat and vomit food all day long.

I resent food because it is required for life. I resent if because I can’t resist it. It mocks me. It knows how I long to be free of it, and how I never will be. I loathe it, it returns my loathing. I punish myself with food, and food punishes me by causing me to gain weight. I punish my body for being a vessal that contains food by cutting and mutilating it.

If I could be free of food, truly free, I would do so in an instant. There is a part of me that still believes if I can cease from food altogether, I won’t die, but instead accomplish what so many have sought. I don’t need food. Not I. I just can’t stop eating it. Damn food.

Food makes me feel powerless. It makes me feel subjugated. If I could master food instead of it mastering me, I could become ethereal. I could be light. I could release my spirit.

Instead I am trapped. Bound by the shackles of arbitrary nutrition. Imprisoned within a massive, bluberous cell of a body. Try as I might to escape, I am held by an ever tightening grip.

And nothing will ever change for me.