1 amazing way art therapy helped me be open with my partner
Mental health stories: 1 way art helped me be open and communicate with my spouse
In this art related post I will cover:
My morning brain zaps
A walk in Frick Park
My partner wakes up
Art helps me open up to my partner.
Thoughts and a new type of content coming soon.
Morning brain zaps
Another night of crazy dreams – very Harry Potter-esque. It was medieval and there were a lot of people and secret rooms. It’s hard to remember clearly now, but it was pretty cool and really intense. When I finally woke up I realized I was having brain zaps, and that’s when I remembered I hadn’t taken my medication yesterday. (Not taking your meds is bad and you can learn more about my horrible time going cold turkey here.)
A walk in Frick Park
I got up, took my meds and tried to go through my regular morning routine. I left for my walk with the intention to sketch a certain bridge nearby Frick park but the brain zaps were really getting to me. I was distracted and feeling agitated about the problems my partner and I are having. I didn’t walk quite as long as usual and came back discouraged.
My partner wakes up
The second my wife woke up I went into shut down mode. She didn’t even have to talk, just seeing her and BAM, I totally shut down.
I think I was trying to communicate by just being around her, like just sitting in a room near where she was, but even that made me agitated. I was trying to communicate in some way, I really was, but whatever the blockage was wouldn’t let me actually connect or talk to her in any positive way.
I started doodling, focusing on it so much it was almost like OCD. I just shut everything else out. My therapist would say this was disassociation. I knew I was, I was doodling in a way I didn’t normally do. Focusing on trying to draw circles with as even spacing as possible ( Which I was failing at, and that was making me even more agitated) I blocked out any thoughts of my partner’s existence.
Art helps me open up to my partner
Something cracked in, I don’t know exactly what it was. Maybe just that I grabbed my new chalk-ish pastels instead of the marker I had been using. That subtle unintentional shift let my brain start actually thinking instead of being shut down.
My wife was still nearby, but we weren’t talking. I randomly starting drawing a flower, not sure why I think maybe because I saw flowers on my walk? After a bit, I added thorns, because damn it that’s how I felt. Prickly as all hell. With time the flower kept taking shape, I tried using the chalk a different way – maybe it wasn’t right but it was what I was doing, and that’s one cool thing about art, there is no wrong or right way to do things. (My wife has said this many times, but I didn’t really hear her or believe her or something.
Showing what I was feeling
I showed my partner the drawing and shared that I was feeling prickly. She said it looked nice and said I was a borkupine, which is a reference to a funny kids book we’d read with my nieces (basically the parents in the book get all annoyed and mad and the kids say they are being borkupines and are all prickly and they end up soothing down their prickles and being happy, it’s a good book really). I smiled when I thought of the book, and all of a sudden my wife and I were talking, just like that.
Thoughts and a new type of content coming soon
Thinking back, it was art that let my brain shift and allowed me to actually interact with my partner, something I wanted to do but couldn’t. I almost feel like the colors were a stimulant of some type, I don’t really know, but it was like it allowed me to open up, kind of like the flower I was drawing (cheesy as that is). I’m excited to work with my chalk and color more, and am pretty excited about the other good stuff that leads from this moment of unplanned art therapy, which you can read about in the relationship section of my blog.