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Artwork & Writing

on Mental Health & Emotional Healing

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Trauma stays with us for a very long time. Whether that trauma happened in one terrible event or in several events over our lifetime, it inevitably becomes a big part of ourselves.

It's hard to free yourself from its grasps when it becomes all that you know and understand about yourself and the world. Even when you try to define yourself outside of the trauma, that in itself can still feel like just another reaction to the trauma.

I feel like it's our body's way of remembering what happened, to protect us... so that it knows never to let it happen again. But it doesnt realize that the fear holds us back and keeps us from growing and healing and moving forward. Our body remembers the fear, the pain, the confusion and shame and repeats "this can't happen, this can't happen..." over and over. It doesn't care if you want peace and quiet, or a healthy relationship, a thriving career or just a day without the unshakeable feeling that something is terribly wrong.

What's even worse is that trauma often comes with a side of shame. You feel broken and unworthy because you feel like the weight of the trauma is holding you back. It just makes everything ten times harder because now on top of everything, you also think you dont deserve to get better or to get help.

It takes a long time to process and grow out of the fear, anger and grief and become whole again.

Honestly, I don't like the phrase 'becoming whole'. It's too close to 'perfect'. Nobody is whole. That's the whole deal about being human. We were totally fucked as a species the moment we became self aware.

It will never be a linear process. It's not gonna be easy. In fact, it's gonna SUCK. But the important thing is to never give up. You're allowed to cry, and break down, and reach out for help, but don't give up trying, no matter what trying looks like to you. Trying could be finally sending out your resume. Trying could simply be choosing to stay on this odd little messed up planet for another day, and another, and another. One at a time. And slowly, the trauma will grow smaller and your true self will grow stronger.

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What are some things you do to trust your feelings more? ▫️
Trusting your own feelings can be extremely difficult for many reasons. You might feel like you're making your sadness up for sympathy or attention. You might have trouble feeling happy because you're expecting everything to come crashing down when you least expect it.

It takes a long time to build trust for yourself. Have patience. Listen. Trust your gut. My wonderful friend told me today that the gut is linked to the brain. The vagus nerve connects the gut with the brain and there are neurons in your gut! A large proportion of serotonin is produced in your gut. Sometimes your gut remembers what your brain can't or won't. Following your gut isn't just a saying! Your body remembers, even if your brain can't.

Your feelings are yours and they are real. Own your story. Own your feelings. They're uniquely yours.

Take the fear, pain, anger, sadness, joy and turn them into beautiful art, music, actions, conversations, friendships, growth... literally anything you want. The first step is to trust them.

I'll be trying my best as well. Let's do this together. ✨ ▫️
[Also thank you to all those who shared their beautiful, vulnerable thoughts and feelings with me. I am so grateful. If I use a quote from you, I will check in with you first and let you know when it goes up :)] #illustration #mentalhealthawareness#justcheckingin #mentalhealth

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For #nationalselfieday, I deleted a bunch of selfies. Cus not all selfies are loving. Since as far back as middle school, I've dealt with disordered eating. Diets, fasts, skipping meals, dreaded daily weigh-ins, hours of cardio, counting calories, hundreds of sit-ups, hiding candy bars in my room, binging and purging...all for the mistaken belief that being skinny would make me feel more deserving of love.

I've kept a meticulous photo diary tracking every lump and fold of my ever-fluctuating body as I navigated my tumultuous relationship with food and emotion. There are hundreds of photos of me contorting my body in impossible angles to see if I lost or gained weight. To this day, I torture myself, comparing my current body to my body weeks or months ago, when it was slightly skinnier in the same outfit.

No more. Fuck that. I'm tired of it. I've unfollowed all the Instagram accounts of impossibly skinny girls. I've deleted all my body check selfies. For #nationalselfieday I'm gonna try much harder to love myself.

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Inspired by a lovely submission by @skye_03_ 🌅💜 .

Okay brace yourselves cus this one is real sappy... not that that's ever stopped me before, hehe. I'm a sap monster. 😈🍬 .
I used to think that once I was in a relationship, all my problems would be solved. If I fell in love with someone and they loved me back, the bad feelings would go away and I'd feel okay.

So I just moved from one relationship to another after another. I'd spend all my energy searching for 'the one', and was devastated each time I was let down. I felt unwanted and broken whenever I was alone.

But then I realized that even when I was in a relationship, I still felt unbearably lonely. Even when I poured all of my time and energy and heart and soul into them...which I later realized was unhealthy and only made things worse.

I thought romantic love was the answer to all my problems, but the relationships never filled the hole in my heart, because it's impossible to fill that hole with a person. (hehe. 👀) The only person who could fill that hole was me. But I had no idea who I was, other than the fact that I hated myself.

So I decided to spend more time getting to know me. I focused on cultivating and strengthening my friendships and went to therapy and worked on creative projects that helped me build my self esteem and reconnect with my feelings and the world with art. I started working hard to learn about my true self and worked even harder to love that person.

It took a lot of effort and I had to fight through a ton of setbacks and shame and self doubt, but I've started to like spending time with myself. I'm even proud of myself sometimes! It's a work in progress, but I'm getting there.

I also look around now and I see that I'm surrounded by so many people that I love and trust. And on days where I have trouble being kind to myself, I have people I can reach out to. I am one lucky duck. 🦆

And to every wonderful person in my life (including anyone who follows me 💜) : Thank you so much. Thank you thank you thank youuuuuu 💕💓💖💘💕💖💗💘💕💖💗💕💘💖💗💕💘💖💗💕

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