Teachable Moment #5 | Art Therapy Series

I don’t know what it is about this fifth teachable moment, but I’ve been avoiding and pushing it off for the last couple of weeks 😛😛

So, here I am now, hoping to just get it done, down and over with!! Let’s jump right in!


So, in this assignment above, we were asked to create an umbrella under which positive actions and attributes are safely dry and tucked away, whereas negative actions and attributes are assaulting the top of the umbrella.

Here is what the negative stuff over the umbrella says:

Despair. ‘wanting’ to die. Nothingness. Not talking with people. Loneliness. Invisibility. Pain. Secrets. Isolation

And what’s below:

Therapy. Being seen. Being heard. Coping strategies (positive) Talking to people. art. Holding onto things: abstract and physical.

As well as having the concept of my TRUE SELF clinging onto the umbrella, and the hand rest of the umbrella is filled with SUPPORT.

The umbrella features a blue background with green and purple polka dots and yellow smiley faces. 🙂


I don’t know what it is about this teachable moment, but I’ve struggled with getting it done for ages now. I guess part of it feels like it’s so simple, basic and understandable, and doesn’t require further thought, yet I’ve waited as though hoping further thought could be established to it. It’s odd. Allow me to share some more of my thoughts on certain aspects of this piece.

It only happens once, after all.


First, the ‘wanting’ to die and why that’s in quotations. I think, and I hope I’m not speaking out of terms with the state I was in at the time, that I didn’t want to die per se, I just wanted the pain and the desperation to stop. This is often common with people who feel suicidal. There’s that quote out there about jumping from the burning building, it’s like that, you don’t necessarily want to impact the ground, but you jump because it feels better than dying from the flames. It’s really being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

At least now when I feel like I want to die, it’s more often just wanting a break, a pause button from life and reality. It’s me thinking that I can attain that somehow, in a negative fashion, when really, I can’t. Not without risking greater consequences.

Back then, a good year ago, I was seeking freedom in the wrong places. I didn’t want to live the way I was living because it was so dark and all consuming. However, I was also aware that it may not always be like that–that by living another day there is hope that life will get better. That suicide only ends the chances of life ever getting better again. And to give up feeling bad, you also have to give up any of the good feelings. And, I was unsteady about giving up the good stuff, even while I felt I was being swallowed up by the nothingness.

I talk about that in my IOOV presentations, how depression (and the OCD driving factor of the depression wagon) was this vast whiteout, where there was no perspective and no concept of future, past or present. Everything was just white, which reflected all the snowstorms we had then, and how those storms kept fucking up my therapy appointments.

And I really want to put an emphasis on NO perspective. When people asked me what I was going to do the next day, hell even later that day, let alone YEARS from then, I genuinely had no idea. I was making it up minute by minute, and even just cradling the seconds because that’s all I could bear.

For invisibility, I think of my friend Shouting from the Mountain Top and her update on her life and the pain she’s going through in The Invisible Knife. She talks about how mental health issues are like an invisible knife shooting into you, and that really can be the case. For me, invisibility was feeling unheard and unseen, having crises when no one knew about them and sobbing uncontrollably during them. About getting stuck anytime I sat down from one location to the next, and having to have friends or others come to ME because I couldn’t get up to go to them. The worst part was when I’d both WANT people to notice my pain and also NOT want them to notice me. But it always felt worse when no one noticed. It was really like I didn’t even exist, then. I couldn’t acknowledge my own pain, and relied on others perspectives, but they weren’t there to give it, which put me into some dangerous situations, left to my own devices.




Holding onto things was a major part of the beginnings of my Recovery journey. It reminds me of the song ‘A Better Place’ by Jay Putty where he sings:

You know you’ve been told / You’ve gotta find something to hold on to

And I distinctly recall being told that on the way home on some rainy day with my Mom in the car, telling me I had to find something to hold onto.

Holding onto something is about, well, holding on through the dark days to get to the better days. It doesn’t matter what you hold onto, it only matters that you hold onto something.

For me, I held on to my stuffed animal dog (which will appear in the final assignment of this series), I held onto hope, I held onto my true self even when I felt she lay in tatters, I held onto the people I knew and had yet to meet, I held on for the sake of holding on, even if that felt silly and trivial. I held on for a better tomorrow. And when I couldn’t hold on any longer, I’d often wind up in the hospital, getting the help I needed so direly.

And for the true self bit, that’s the core of who you REALLY are. All that you are but more so, all that you have yet to become. Your true self occupies your values and is there for you through thick and thin, NO MATTER WHAT. Even when I thought I lost my true self, I never really did. She was still there waiting for me to pick up the pieces again and plow forwards in Recovery.


She’s what led me…here. I suppose this wasn’t so bad, huh? 😉

TO THE NEXT PIECE! Eventually 😉


Stay safe, peeps!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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