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creative souls blog

14 Practical Tips to Help Chronic Illness Warriors

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14 Practical Tips to Help Chronic Illness Warriors

This blog post is about ways to make life a bit easier when you are living with chronic illness. The goal is for these to be practical tips that can help all different kinds of “Spoonies,” or Chronic Illness Warriors. And for these tips to be free or at least affordable!

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50 Things I Love

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50 Things I Love

In life, it can be hard to see good things about yourself. Especially when you struggle with mental health issues.

A long time ago, a friend and mentor challenged me to think up and write down 50 things I loved about myself. Already struggling with my self esteem, I told her, “there aren't 50 things about me, let alone 50 things I love about myself.” But she still told me to do it. I made it 5 in and gave up. Despite her following up with me, my heart wasn't in it and I gave up for good.

One and a half years later, I was sitting in PHP (partial hospitalization program) for therapy and mentioned that my friend had challenged me to write down 50 things I loved about myself but, I couldn't manage it. Suddenly, my therapist thought it was a fantastic idea and challenged me to finish my list.

Of course, I was not excited.

But my therapist said to just write 5 things before each session and work my way up to 50. However, once I was over halfway through, they just started coming to me. I realized there was more about myself to love than I thought there was.

Do you realize how loveable you are? Do you love yourself? Really think about it. Make a list if you need to and keep it on your phone like I do for hard times.

To prove it’s possible, here's my list:

50 Things I Love About Myself

1. My hair
2. I'm creative
3. I love my tattoo
4. I care deeply about people
5. I feel like I'm a very faithful person
6. I'm more courageous than I usually see
7. I love that I am a traveler who wanders
8. I love that I am a wonderer
9. I love to learn
10. I like the shape of my nose
11. I love that I dance
12. I love my eclectic sense of style
13. I love that my favorite color is grey and so are my eyes
14. I love my love for words
15. I love that I'm unique
16. I love that I am loved
17. I love that I am a passionate person
18. I love that I'm an artist
19. I love that I'm adventurous
20. I love that I'm curious
21. I love that I'm sincere
22. I love that I make a genuine effort to be kind to others
23. I love that I am a reader
24. I love that I'm a dreamer
25. I love that I am colorful
26. I love that I have a purpose
27. I love my hat collection
28. I love my imagination
29. I love my love for people
30. I love my choice in friends
31. I love that I'm a fighter
32. I love that I loves miniatures and tiny things
33. I love that I am a very spiritual person
34. I love that I keep my toes painted and my feet healthy
35. I love that my brain works like a book in space
36. I love that I can hand make books
37. I love that I'm a sculptor and caster
38. I love that I am skörjet
39. I love that I've lived abroad
40. I love that I have piercings
41. I love that I have an eclectic taste in music
42. I love that I love fluffy things
43. I love that I love organic aesthetics
44. I love that I have generally good composition and aesthetics
45. I love that I have faith in people and am learning to have faith in myself
46. I love that I love the cold and the snow
47. Yet I love that I love hot drinks
48. I love that my favorite word is yet.
49. I love that I have good discernment  
50. I love that I still give my heart to people even though it's been broken so much


So what about you? What do you love about yourself?

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April may have been a problem, but May may be okay

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April may have been a problem, but May may be okay

PART I

This is a two part blog today. Part I covers the past and the present. Part II covers the future and some plans.

Wow...there is so much going on and I am not sure where to begin. Creativity, art, mental health, business, work, writing, building, friendships, life, and death. All of it is going on at once. But I guess that is they way life is, isn't it?

When I first was planning out this post (a long time ago), I thought I was going to explain what April was to me. But I realized that it didn't matter. April was a struggle. And you know what's sad? I started my new job April 4th and I LOVED it. You know what I am doing? Writing. And it's amazing. I have the privilege to write for a marketing company, as well as create graphics and video and other content for our clients. It's not always easy, but I am truly enjoying it and feel like I am supposed to be there. That is a nice feeling.  

Work was not my problem in April. But every other area of my life was feeling drained. I was sad that I could not embrace the joy of my new, exciting job to the fullest because I was feeling dragged down by other struggles and worries. Friendships were a struggle and I take that very seriously. People that I am close to mean a lot to me and when there is something wrong there, I feel it very deeply and become very sensitive to whatever issues are going on. 

When May began, I said, "Okay, new month, new beginning. Let's start over." 
But it didn't work like that. The first week of May felt like an April hangover. I dragged myself around and felt as if I was barely making it. 

Honestly, I felt as if I had created this blog and worked so hard to do so much and thought I was getting no where. My anxiety was becoming more and more of a problem; my depression was considering moving back into it's old room in my brain. That was not something I wanted. 

Then something changed. 

Don't get me wrong, I do not believe that circumstances make life easy or not. It's about how we live our lives, being willing to be content even in the difficult times. However, I needed a change of scenery. Something, anything, I felt that would be different than what I was used to. 

Apparently, my cries were heard.

Finally, I am able to tell you guys that something is happening...I know that's not much to go on. But what I mean is that the goal for this blog to document my new portfolio and the creation of a series of art that is meant to go into my first solo art exhibition...that goal is coming into fruition. That much I can say. 

Now, I am not at liberty to give you all the details right now, but I just want to give you a heads up that things are happening...all of you who read this blog are part of a community, and that community is growing.

Of course, something could go terribly wrong and everything could change and I could be alone and devastated tomorrow...at least that is what my anxiety keeps trying to tell me. But my faith and hope and trust is being told another dream. One that says, "Hold on, answers are coming. Dreams are coming true." 

I truly hope you all will be apart of this journey. There is much to come. And many good surprises along the way. So as they say...stay tuned. There's more to come. So much more. 

 

PART II

The other part of this post is to tell you that I have come up with a calendar for posting. No more random posts and no more waiting a month in between posts. There are actually things going on! Things that are important to document! So you will actually be hearing from me...regularly. And that will start very soon. Just so you know my goal, and yes, you may hold me to it, I plan to post twice a week. I will let you know what those days are this week, too. A calendar is being made and worked on as we speak.

This also means regular emails. I've missed writing to you guys. I hope you've missed hearing from me. I plan to be much more involved from now on. Thank you for being patient with me. I appreciate every one of you. 

If you have read this to the very end, I thank you, deeply. Feel free to comment and let me know if you made it : ) Survivors will be awarded...somehow...someway...someday, possibly. But at least you have all the information and get to go forth knowing you finished reading the entire blog post. Thank you. 

Til next time...

L

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on going art works

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on going art works

Here are some works that I've been working on lately...some close up shots and progress shots as well. Enjoy! 

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i love elephants and chocolate

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i love elephants and chocolate

Life is like a box of chocolates...you are allowed to eat all you want, but you are eventually going to have a sugar crash. 
True story.

My week has been full of highs and lows. Which I guess is just life. But the immense contrast makes it difficult to focus on the highs when you become emotionally drained. I'm not trying to be a downer, but just observant. 
I worked very hard last week, on a lot of things, but unfortunately because I had not completed a single big project, I still had to copy my entire to do list from last week to this week. Talk about a depressing list. But it helped me realize that I needed to break things down into smaller, bite-sized steps. 
"You can eat a whole elephant, just one bite at a time."
But please don't eat elephants. It's just a phrase. They are too wonderful to eat. I love elephants. 
The point is, you can do anything, just take it one step at a time. Don't try to accomplish entire projects in one step. 

On the bright side of accomplishing, I have officially launched my fundraising page, which is very exciting! Please take a look and let me know what you think! 
The art show is becoming more and more of a reality and it is very overwhelming - in an awesome way. 

Working on the art for the portfolio has been amazing and truly invigorating. I cannot wait to share with you what has been going on artistically. 

So don't forget to stick around and make sure you see what happens next...

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FREEDOM

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FREEDOM

Ok, so the year has more than started and already, I am so behind. But the exciting thing about that is that there is stuff to be behind with! I've got so much work coming in and going on that being bored is NOT an option. What a privilege. I am so grateful. 

The holidays? Not much to tell...
They were a struggle for me, but that's okay. I made it through and I'm glad to be on the other side. 

My real excitement came after the new year began. 
I had been very sad and sleep deprived and trying very hard to not become emotionally overwhelmed. When I realized something important...

This year has just begun. And I am NOT going to allow the first half of the first month to define my entire year. This will be a year of conquering and victory. So I decided. 

This was a big moment for me because I usually get stuck in the moment and forget to look at the big picture. Talk about revolutionary for me. Seems simple, but I really embraced it. 

I picked a theme for the year instead of making resolutions. (I'm not really a revolution kinda gal.) 
My theme is: FREEDOM. (Yes, there is a slight Braveheart reference in that.)
But mostly, what I mean, is that I am dedicating this year to freedom from entanglement, freedom from anxiety, freedom from fear. Instead, I will embrace my own freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom to enjoy life. 

So what about you? Any resolutions? Any themes? Remember, don't let the first month define your year. See a bigger picture. It's there. 

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wanderlust of life

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wanderlust of life

Again, I am at a day when I do not want to write. But it’s not for the same reasons as my last post.

I’m feeling better, by the way.

 

In truth, I am afraid to write because I do not know what to say exactly. But that’s part of the adventure of writing so here goes…

 

I learned recently that I feel that in my life right now I am on a carousel. Just going round and round and round and never stopping. That annoying music is playing in the background and I cannot seem to turn it off. There’s no jumping off the carousel because this is where I am supposed to be, frustrating as it is.

After a week of thinking about this metaphorical circus machine, I’m trying to stay calm and not worry about the circles that I’m going in and find peace along the way. Apparently, I’m not very good at that though. Because of that, I have to work extra hard just to be still and patient. But I will put this out into the universe: I want change. I’m ready. I do not know what exactly is coming or in what form it may come, but I’m ready.

I do not say this to invite disaster in; this is a much more hopeful change I am talking about. But I just want to put it out there that I am ready and waiting for it.

Do you know what I am talking about?
            Let me explain this: my life has rarely been boring. I have always been on some kind of adventure, so the idea that my current job is to be still and patient is a terrifying fact. Thankfully, my friends are never boring and they always bring joy and excitement into my life. But where is my train? Where do I get on? Why am I on a carousel? Or, you know what, I don’t need a train, I just want a horse, a real one, and not these big metal ones that are anchored to a pole. With a real horse, I could go! I could go fast or slow or somewhere, anywhere.

Please understand that I am not saying that my life is horrible, not true. I am grateful for my life. But I also desire to do more, see more, and live more. Do you know that feeling? That wanderlust of life? That’s what I’m talking about.

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wanted: invisibility cloak

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wanted: invisibility cloak

          Today…let me tell you about today. Today is a day in which I didn’t want to get out of bed. Today is a day in which just breathing feels like a drain to my system. Every little thing people do I interpret as personal or a threat to me. In my paranoia, everyone is out to get me.

          Do I sound ridiculous? I’m sure I do to most of you. But other people know this is one of the types of days that is just part of being creative and sensitive.

          On top of today being what it is, my last post was erratic and crazy sounding. So now I seem like I’m going from mania to depression. In reality, the state I’m in now has been building for the past week and had a catalyst today so it just exploded into this feeling of instability. I am teetering on the edge of oblivion feeling like the fall is inevitable.

          Have I really only written that much? I feel like I’ve sat at my typewriter (more like computer) and bled all that I have to bleed, as Ernest Hemingway might put it.

          I want to hide, but I’m afraid to be alone. I guess I need an invisibility cloak. One that has good airflow and doesn’t overheat me. I’ll check craigslist but if you hear of anyone trying to get rid of one, let me know.

          Don’t misunderstand me, I may actually post this, but I don’t want to. I don’t want people knowing that I am feeling this way and thinking these things. But I take commitments very seriously and since I agreed to the reality and truth of the creative life in this blog, I am not going to go back on my word easily.  I’m not saying it’s impossible; I know I am fallible. But I’ve fought too hard to fall guilty to stigmas and trying to only write the “right” things, the easy things.

          The other difficult truth that I’ll be honest about on here is about God. Part of feeling the way I do today is feeling like God has left me. And abandonment issues run deep inside me. I feel left out in the rain. Don’t get me wrong, I like the rain, but being left out in it has a certain sad imagery to it. (By the way, the word for a lover of grey and rainy days is pluviophile. So, I am a pluviophile. Just not one who wants to get abandoned in the rain.)

           Yes, I realize that my thinking is a vicious cycle and believe me when I say that I am fighting against it. It just isn’t easy.

“Do not mistake the bad days for days in which I am not fighting;

those are the days I am fighting the hardest.”

            I am not sure who said that, but it is very true. Bad days do not mean I have given up; they just mean the demons got a great night’s sleep and were ready to start a violent fight this morning. I, on the other hand, slept very little. Add some nightmares to that and you’ve got an equation for a difficult day.

            I write all this to say, yes, these days are real and really hard and horrible. But don’t mistake them for the end. As much as it may feel like the end, it really isn’t. So don’t let those demons you are fighting tell you otherwise. (I say all of this to myself more than anyone.)

            Thank you for attention. See you later.

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AHHHHH!

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AHHHHH!

        I am in a weird place today. I feel mustard yellow, which is a color some people love and can pull off really well. And other people not so much. I feel in between those people.

        Really, I just want to sleep. Haven’t slept much this week so I know my judgment is slightly impaired because of that. That’s part of being a creative though. Some weeks, sleep is a wonderland. And other weeks it’s a big angry grizzly bear looking for its honey. Sometimes I feel like the grizzly bear. Then I drink lots of coffee.

        Creative ideas are bouncing around my brain like ping-pong balls and I cannot seem to catch them. I feel that everything about my world is saying, “Shhhh, slow down; sit still. Everything is okay.”

            And I’m just screaming.

 

            AHHHHH!

 

            What am I thinking? What’s going on in my brain? Was that a real idea? Do colors seem brighter? Or maybe the world is just blurry…

 

            I shouldn’t have more coffee. Where am I going? Metaphysically or physically? I don’t really know the answer to either. Maybe I’m asleep this very second and don’t know it. This morning in my little bit of sleep I dreamt that I was Katniss Everdeen getting ready to fight a zombie horde. No joke.

            I really love snow. Unfortunately, I live in Texas so it’s mostly a one-sided love. The sooner I get back to Colorado, the better. I feel the need to throw snowballs right now. It’s not something that’s going to happen, but it’s a desire nonetheless.

            Those days when I wake up and my hair is just BAM. Perfection. Love those days. Today is one of those days fortunately. So I kinda feel like a wacked out Disney princess. Maybe Rapunzel, she’s pretty crazy. I wouldn’t mind Flynn Rider; I like the ruggedly handsome types.

            I wish I had a tiny dragon. At first I thought dinosaur, but I was like no, have a dragon, duh. Obvious choice for me. The plus of having a full sized dragon would be getting to fly, but it would be hard to keep it safe from the world and I couldn’t bring it with me wherever I went. Plus, I love tiny things.

            Ok, I think that’s enough written crazy for one day. But I have promised to be honest on my blog and show all sides of the creative life, so I couldn’t very well ignore today because it wasn't “normal.” Who cares about normal anyways? Certainly not me. 

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