Cha-cha-cha Changes…

We’re back at the beginning, aren’t we? Well, that’s fairly fitting, I feel mentally at a starting point, too. Readjusting my Mania-controlling medicine is akin to stepping into a 1990’s heavy metal concert without earplugs. As the seratonin levels plummet I am besieged by psychedelic brain images, no doubt fueled by long-stunted neurons awakening. Other interesting awakenings include a primal libido attack and tingling skin sensations, mostly on my arms, driving me to scratch them till they bleed. Ah the wonders of throwing pharmaceuticals at invisible, and wonderfully terrifying mental health afflictions!

If helping me get some sleep was part of the psychiatrist’s goals he failed to reach it. I have been awake with my heart pounding for nigh on a week, oddly though I don’t feel confused…(she said while devouring her 6th granola bar and preparing to suck down a lemon ice and 2 of containers applesauce!) I will keep thus short, I still have to get ready for bed…Keep yourself in God’s love

I’m in a New Zoo zone!

…”It’s OK, you are just very energetic…”

Wide Awake!!

Hello friends! I haven’t been writing much, I was changed to some new psychiatric meds for my Bipolar Disorder and they have really thrown me off! Living alone as I do, and staying isolated has left me coping by myself, although I did share my situation with a few brothers and sisters who I’m very close to. I have been experiencing huge bouts of mania in the past 6 months or more, and while that boosts my creativity exponentially, it was destroying me emotionally. And physically.

Truly, it’s like having the angel on one shoulder and the little guy in the red suit on the other saying, ” It’s OK, you are just very energetic…” and ” Look how much art you are creating, this is excellent…” ” You will make so much money!…”

Feeling Very Trippy… Work in Progress…

Yeah, right after I fall over and have a stroke or some other terrible thing. Let alone focusing all my efforts on material stuff instead of what is Truly, TRULY important. We know what that is, because things are rushing along, aren’t they. That has much to do with why I finally got honest with my therapist and my psychiatrist. I need to rest, eat, keep a relatively ‘normal’ schedule so I don’t miss my meetings, so I can think clearly and benefit from my studies.

I am dealing with some disturbing side effects from the new regimen. Worst is the itching, my arms itch me something terrible. The research I have done suggests its got to do with my seretonin levels, which is odd cause he is reducing my Zoloft and trazodone drastically and increasing my lamotrigine to the max (slowly). I’m really trying to follow the new regimen to a T, but its tough when I feel like I’m tripping.

The Sunday lesson really helped, the scriptures hit home and tied in with the new update. I know nothing can separate me from God’s love, so I am hanging on tight. I wish you peace where ever you are, and keeping you close in prayer. There is a saying I have often heard that may bring some cheer : “It won’t be long now!”, said the little dog when his tail was cut off… Well, maybe it’s not a good saying unless you imagine that losing his tail was totally painless!

We might have to experience some pain on our journey, but there is truth in the saying, ” IT WON’T BE LONG NOW.”

peace, brothers.

Inside Voice Series: “Not Quiet Down”

The Bitter(Sweet)

Hello my wayward friend. You made it here, to this dusty, cobwebby little blog. I am truly glad you did, because I want you to know that you aren’t alone. Not at all! Hang out if you want to, there’s some stuff to read and some pics to look at.

But I’m moving everything over to Out of the Gutter Art, my other Artist Blog. So , c’mon over when you get thru here!

See Ya!

Fear of Falling and Failing

“…riding this unending wave of…unrealistic optimism…delusions of grandeur…”

I had been manic for over a week after sharing my art in a sexual assault survivors show, and talking to people there. There are times when I forget what lurks just under the surface, because I have been way off center since then. Of all things, I was so high the night of the show that I went next door to this Huge sculpture shop and blabbed about myself and how I want to sculpt (which I do), and introducing myself th the owner. He was very kind and personable, and sent me to talk to his designer, who was also very kind, very charismatic and really got me wanting to work in a shop again.

Flashback #937, mixed media on canvas ©SusanTMartin2017

I got a wee bit off the beam, though. I came home and started writing a grant proposal while simultaneously applying to this famous sculpture artist’s shop, while also offering to be an apprentice, and messaging the director in a crazily familiar manner… Whew! I am mortified when I think about it. Not only was I manic that day, I was on a roll for days and days, seemingly riding this unending wave of optimism. Unrealistic optimism, which I do believe is called delusions of grandeur.

the mirror…

Ah well, I guess I have a lot to be grateful for, I am clean and sober today so I didn’t try to seduce anyone, or get drunk and puke on anyone! Yes, that is a huge thing to be grateful about, because 21 years ago I had serious regrets after a night out. Oh boy. How easy to forget how far I’ve come!

I know now that I never have to go back to being an addict or an alcoholic, but how dare I ever forget this gift of sobriety. I know in the rooms of AA we would talk about keeping it fresh…I’m glad I’m writing to you now or I may not have remembered to be grateful. “Out of the mire and the sediment… You put my feet on a crag…a new song in my mouth…praise to our God!”

hope

I just heaved a great big sigh of relief, that all I have today is a gift, and I have so, so much more than I could ever deserve. To breathe to cool night air, to reflect on a day well lived, with a soft bed to sleep in and warm food in my belly. There was a different time back then- but it’s time to walk away from that wreckage in my mind. Pack it all back up into the little ammo can it lives in, bury it deep in the earth and let it dissolve into nothingness. I know that one day the memories will never hurt me again, and I will keep pushing on until that day comes.

Peace to you, my friends.

Carol Lee

…Gentle one, so broken-hearted, tenderly I kiss your…cheek…

Gentle One, so broken-hearted, tenderly I kiss your chemo-roughened cheek

Moving us toward unknown tomorrows, on rivers of. words we will not speak.

Tears trace down well-worn trails; heart bleeds in a blue, familiar way.

We read Memories journal of us enwrapped, entwined, entangled as we lay.

Your memory dwells in a plastic framed photo; recalling embraces that comfort and soothe.

This sweet swelling of daughter’s sorrow: white-hot knot of longing never moves.

Your kept my demons far at bay, my sickness hidden from the others.

Bestowed gifts I cannot repay…Such love only comes from Mothers.

©SusanTMartin2010

A Glorious Day to Remember!

I am filled with gratitude today. Living on a very spiritual plane these last few days, glorying in the the knowledge of my God’s immeasurable love for mankind-for me! This time of year those who worship my God are meditating on the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

On Nisan 14, 33CE on the Hebrew calendar, Jesus was nailed to a stake and executed as a criminal. He died so that those who worship his father can have an opportunity to be reconciled to God, have a chance to live forever in perfect health on a healed Earth, and a chance to be with all those who will be resurrected. Like my Mom and Dad.

My Mom died on this day, 11 years ago. It was also the same date as her birth, 3/21/36. Extraordinary, just like her. The comfort I have recieved-knowing that she no longer suffers, but is sleeping and in God’s memory, has been crucial to me. Sure, I grieve, every day she comes to mind in a hundred different moments, bittersweet. Knowing I can be with her, my best friend, again is such a marvelous gift, and Jesus sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection makes this possible! How can my heart not rejoice ?

The Memorial of Jesus Death will be held at sundown on March 27, 2021. This date corresponds to Nisan 14 on the Hebrew Calendar, the Anniversary of Jesus death. In the Bible at Luke 22:19 Jesus told his followers, “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” As his follower today I do the same and meditated on the wonderful blessings his sacrifice has afforded me. The best one is to have a clean conscience before my God, after a lifetime of flaunting his instruction and leading such a degraded life. I am SO grateful to be loved by my Real Father, one who will always be beside me, as long as I walk with Him. And to love Him in return, a love I had never known I had in me. Such a full heart I have today.

You can go to JW.org to find out how to join me and millions of others worldwide on March 27, 2021, to remember the greatest act of love ever performed: The ransom sacrifice of God’s own Son, Jesus Christ.

(this Memorial is virtual as a safety precaution)

KICKING MY WAY OUT!!!

…I’m still fighting…grabbing everything…to stay afloat!!!

Don’t Ever forget how FAR you have Come!!!!

I’m still fighting, grabbing every thing in sight to stay afloat!!! It hasn’t been an easy 2 weeks… I have major stomach/liver issues trying to blindside me. I refuse to crumble. More bland foods, less fat, no Coffee, no heavy, greasy meals. I CAN DO THIS.

Push Push Push Thru the pain…. Drive Drive Drive in the Positive vibes! IT IS AWFUL TO HAVE AN UPSET STOMACH EVERY DAY FOR THE PAST 2 WEEKS! I think I turned the corner today… I had made hot sausage and peppers at the onset of symptoms, then the neighbors bought me a pizza THE NEXT DAY!! It’s their way to pay for my lawn work on their yard. I am NEVER going to eat tomato sauce , hot sausage, pepperoni, cheese, peppers EVER AGAIN!! Bluk bluk!

So, if you think I have given up on my SHAKE UP, I HAVE NOT! I am just regrouping!!

These images are hard to look at. I remember how ugly I felt at this time. I had been away from my abusive husband for about 4 years, but the low self esteem, the disgust at how he had cheated on me and yet wanted me to risk my life for him to get a reduced sentence…all these feelings had sunk in so deep. Even though I had turned my life over to God, gotten clean and sober, and was doing all the right things, I had traded drug addiction for sugar addiction. Anything to ease the pain…I was on some serious psych meds too, they obviously weren’t the right ones…yet.

Life is a journey, we hit bumps, detours, switchbacks and sometimes we lose control and crash. Those are all opportunities to learn, to climb out of the wreckage, to learn to walk again, run again, then one day….to soar with the eagles!!!! (or the albatross!)

Hating who we are in the present totally contrary to self improvement. Why would we want to care for, nurture, work hard for, give our all for someone we don’t like?

We must love and cherish the person we are NOW, to be able to devote ourself to the Future person we will surely be! So ROCK ON Suezeecue!!

RED HOT and Climbing Up!

Forgiving Suzee

***TRIGGER WARNING***

The Whole Codependent Mess of Us: “Legacy of Lunacy”©STMartin2016

Why I had to:

Hatred can eat you alive. Trust me on this, you do NOT want to carry it around for thirty years like I did, it is poison. I watched my Mom wither under the weight of the loathing she had for my Dad, fifty years of resentment and anger all twisted up inside. And he was just as bad, in a different way; vindictive and cruel to her, and sometimes to my brother and I, but always to Mom. Is it any wonder I grew up filled with the black death of it?

grrrr….

It fuelled my young life, after the years of blissful ignorance that comes with kindergarten times. No, hatred was to force its way into me, at the hands of an abuser. The funny thing was (not that sexual assault is ever funny, it’s a figure of speech) , to the adults in my world there was blame to be settled on my eight- year-old head. I was so confused by the abuse, because the offender was a trusted adult, that I wasn’t filled with hate towards him. It was all so overwhelming, and my best friend and I were swallowed up and spit out by the Justice system at that time. Childhood sexual assault wasn’t treated the way it is today back in the early 70’s. We had to tell the judge and the entire courtroom what was done to us, detail by detail; the abuse was over the course of a year, so there was a lot to tell. The judge kept making me repeat things and go into more detail, ” COULD YOU SPEAK UP PLEASE?”

“Inheritance of Daughter’s”©STMartin2017

(My friend was so traumatized that she couldn’t come back the second day, so it felt like a white hot light shining down on my eight-year-old head. The abusers wife decided to add to my torture by announcing to the audience that we were little whores who enticed the old codger. )

I digress. I learned to hate thru this experience. Not only the bad people, but myself. My Grandmother let me know that “nice girls” never talked about these things ever, and if I wanted to get married someday I would never, no NEVER, mention it again. My Mom blamed my Dad, and my friends parents, and was angry at herself for never having “The Talk” with me yet.

The Hatred grew, I started to use drugs, I drank, I stayed out late, my grades failed. It was all MY Fault, and the reason no one loved me was because I was faulty somehow. I lost my virginity to rape- that was my fault to, I belived. Circumstances were such that my friends abandoned me after this, my Dad told me I was disgusting when I got home at 3am with sticks and grass in my hair, so I never told anyone. I hated myself so much, I deliberately did more and more shocking things. It must be true, I thought, I am disgusting! I tried to end my life before I even graduated high school.

At 17, I not only hated myself, I hated authority, my parents, men, my old friends, school and disco. Everybody hated disco, didn’t they? I was angry with my big brother for disliking me and the company I kept. My Mom took me for an abortion at age 15 when my “boyfriend” abandoned me; I never really understood that it had been a wonderful, tiny life inside of me. It came back to haunt me after 2 years, when I saw friends at school bring their babies. This was the FIRST TIME that was been done in that area. I became suicidal, I started hitting things, kicking things till I broke my toes, bloodied my knuckles. There was no one talking about Bipolar Disorder in those days.

The Water Plant ©STMartin2018(SOLD)

I just kept spiralling downward. After jumping out of a moving car I was placed in a locked adolescent ward of a Psychiatric Hospital. I was able to talk about the awful things for 30 days, but no real diagnosis, just depressed, they said.

Flash forward to moving to Florida at 20 with my parents. New beginnings, same old song. I kept losing my sobriety, using cocaine big time. It was ‘snowing’ all over Florida in the early 80’s. Then I met an ex-Marine named Ricky. He was the first to really beat me. That was fine, I deserved it. That’s what he told me, so it must be true. It was always something I did, something I said. Then we found rock. ‘Crack’. Now I really had reason to intensely dislike myself. I stole from every member of my family, including stealing my deceased Grandfather’s gold teeth, stolen from my Grandma’s jewelry box. My own Grandma and Grandpa. Yep.

Well, that wasn’t even the bottom. There were 15 years of addiction, abuse, crime, alcoholism, jail and agony yet to go. Not to mention the pain and trauma I put my Mom thru. I would travel up the east coast, across the country to the west coast, become homeless, rob the store I worked in, live with train tramps, hop freight trains, be ‘held hostage’ by Mormons, pretend to be a lawyer for said Mormons, live in the Sonoran Desert, travel back to Florida, marry a habitual offender, have my nose broken twice, my jaw once, get pneumonia 3x, become a pot dealer, then a coke dealer, a drug runner and a co-conspirator to my husband’s crimes, try to infiltrate a motorcycle club on my own and lose everything at least 3 times . Oh, and get snake bit twice, once by a pygmy rattlesnake, once by a copperhead, both times drunk. These are only the things I remember…

“Reach out and Touch You” ©STMartin2019

It all added up to one very sad, very angry, very sick person who could not stand to look herself in the mirror. The self-hatred and self-abuse led me to the darkest place I had ever been. Everything I ever tried failed. I hurt everyone who ever loved me, and I could not stand it one more day. I tried to overdose on a cold night in September 1999. I couldn’t even do that right it seemed. I was shooting up in my parents’ house, they let me come home after my husband went to federal prison. I promised myself that I would never jeopardize my Dad’s business. But I’d been allowing a coke dealer to do business in the place in exchange for an 8 ball every couple days. (An 8-ball is an eigth ounce of cocaine) I told him I quit that night, but he left me a package anyway. So I knew it was over. I did what I said I wouldn’t do. I’d been in and out of AA and NA so often they called me the “white chip queen’; I just couldn’t do it, I believed. The only way was to ‘ride the lightning’-give myself a hot shot.

Plugged In ©STMartin2019

I loaded the syringe, and gathered my nerves. With tears running down my face, I apologized to God and everyone, and then…

Prayer for Mickey©STMartin2019

…then I saw this image if a candle in my mind’s eye, with the tiniest flame I had ever seen, the wind was blowing and it was flickering-it would go out any second…then suddenly I realized that I was being shown my life, just about to blow out like that candle… I put the needle down and got on my knees, and prayed to God to help me….

Metamorphosis ©STMartin2018

I know, you are sceptical, and that is ok, I don’t know if it was my imagination or what. But I got up and called a friend, took the dope and headed over to his house. The trouble was, he was clean and sober. Or maybe that there is the miracle. Because he convinced my to dump out the drugs and go to a 12 step meeting when morning came. I did this, and amazingly have been clean and sober till this day, 21 years later! Twenty two in September…

But it still took a wee bit longer to forgive myself. As the years passed I still didn’t feel happy, I cried all the time. I finally got a proper diagnosis and a medication regimen that works for my Bipolar Disorder. I have PTSD from all the physical trauma and abuse, but I have coping tools today. I have a therapist who understands my pain and guides me thru the darkness when it comes. But the best medicine I ever found is the forgiveness God gives thru the Sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. By learning about this and about God’s will, and dedicating my life to God, I have experienced the greatest gift ever: The free gift of a cleansed conscience, of forgiveness from all my past sins.

So you see, I just Had to learn to forgive myself, otherwise I would be claiming that I know better than my God!! It is not easy though, sometimes my old thinking creeps back in and I feel that old discouragement. I have to stay on top of things and pray, follow the Bible’s counsel and reach out to my support network. Knowing that my Creator loves me is the greatest high I have ever experienced.

I am truly grateful for my life today.

ENERGY! GREAT BURST OF ENERGY!

visualizing my goals has been HUGELY beneficail!

AMAZING!! I really have felt exhilarated , even in just this first week of “future me” thinking!

That’s just wonderful, I neeed this;

After all we have been thru this past year, and my isolation, my thinking had become sluggish, self-centered and negative. Too much couch potato activity, not enough oxygen getting into the ole noggin. I needed a jolt, a wake up, a SHAKE UP! And I received just what I needed, just in time.

(as a side note: I am EXTREMELY SPIRITUAL, so I credit God with leading me in the right direction, because I prayed to be able to serve him more fully. I believe the Bible where it says that when we request in our prayers the things that help us do his will, he Always answers us. Not like asking for a car, or a million bucks…)

Suggestions for refocusing have inspired me and are easy for me as an artist, because I am naturally a very visual person. I used my handmade visual prompts to great success when I lost 70 pounds in 2013-2014. I AM MAKING A BUNCH OF LITTLE POSITIVE NOTES, AND POSTING THEM ALL AROUND MY HOUSE! As has been suggested, I write some goals on them, a little doodle of what that looks like to me, and encouragement ; the kind of motivating encouragement I would offer a dear friend, or loved one. Notes like I used to stick everywhere for my Mom to cheer her. NOTES LIKE THESE:

A LITTLE THING LIKE THIS DOES WONDERS FOR MY MOTIVATION!!

This method of visual perks has helped me heal from Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and years of Emotional Abuse! I first was introduced to “ART Therapy” as an adolescent in a Psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. To get at the ‘real’ problem, this method allowed us to let out the pain, albeit subconsciously , by use of color, shape, pressure of marks, etc. The aim wasn’t to create a thing of beauty, it was to allow the anguish(or anger, etc.)to vent.

(For myself, this was insightful, and extremely freeing. I have uses this technique in my art practice to this day, very intense, more focused version of it. )

***I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL!!!*** ATTENTION!! IF YOU FEEL LIKE HARMING YOURSELF GET PROFESSIONAL HELP IMMEDIATELY!***

visualizing my goals has been HUGELY beneficial! as someone who had to depend on herself for positive confirmation and encouragement, I feel this small action has been pivotal in my motivation now!

One thing is crucial for me as someone with Bipolar Disorder, I have to constantly gauge my level of Mania when I feel so “UP”. If it is a Manic Episode I must reach out to my doctor before it escalates. For someone with this illness, mania can lead to devestating extremes of behavior. I ALWAYS take my illness seriously, TAKE MY MEDICATION, AND FOLLOW MY WELLNESS PLAN!!

I love my life today, and now that I pried myself away from Poptarts, Ice Cream and endless Film Noir, and my woman-eating Couch, I am feeling that love again!

Here is another therapeutic tool that has been Life Altering for me: Forgiving the Past Me.

I will discuss that in my next post!