Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How Journaling My Anxiety Put ME in Control

I have talked before about my sporadic bouts of anxiety and depression.  Many of you experience that too, and have left me the kindest words.  

Since the start of 2016, I have felt overwhelmed by the many obligations I have - and the ones I put on myself.  

The other night, I had lists of my many "to dos" swirling in my head. I had the image of myself slumping down the wall in a long hallway with doors.  Behind each door was an area of my life calling to me.  My inability to prioritize, to eliminate, to say no, threatened to engulf me under the weight of letting people down, not fulfilling expectations.  I quickly sketched it out, writing down, on each of the doors, a list of the things that were "calling" for me.   After I did this, I was able to fall asleep.

When I woke up, I immediately took to painting my page.  The first thing I did was CLOSE THOSE DOORS!  I even stenciled hands on them to hold them shut, and one to stroke my head.  When I was nearly done, I gave the hallway stenciled windows to the outside, to light, sky and fresh air.  I can prioritize, say no, pause and take some deep breaths.  I am in control!

Here's a fast forward video of me painting this page, from start to finish.

You can also watch "Journaling My Anxiety" on YouTube here.

Creating this page helped me regain control of my feelings and thoughts.

Do you have a journaling or other practice that helps you with your inner demons?  Please share!

And please check back TOMORROW for a special announcement!  I'm so excited to share it, but tomorrow's the day! 

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  1. this is an absolutely wonderful journal spread Jessica!! I love that you took your disrupting thoughts to paper as you were feeling them. You gave them another home, then released them by covering the doors and adding the light of the windows. I always thought this kind of art making is so cathartic. And I have learned to take my issues to a journal page-even if it ends up getting covered completely.Thanks for sharing such personal thoughts and your video

  2. I often wonder how you do it all. This is a great way to work it out. I guess sleeping after the sketching lets you do that. I rally admIre your energy and determination. And of course talent. This is another inspiration you have given so generously. Love you.

  3. Shut the front door.. get it? That was so therapeutic. I'm so glad you were able to calm the anxious feelings. You do have a lot going on. Even for a person without anxiety, this is too much. Well, you created a wonderful piece here, as always.

  4. You have been working non-stop for so long now that you are making art your work and life. No wonder those doors were freaking you out with their heavy expectations. You are so talented and it's hard to juggle it all. Thank goodness you have your yoga and huge network of friends to help you through. Shut the door and take a break. xox

  5. Jessica, thank you for sharing your story, especially a personal struggle. The sketch and painting were a great way to allay the fears and feelings. When i feel overwhelmed it sort of forces me to reassess what might need to be changed in my life, even temporarily. One small change can lift a big weight.

  6. Fantastic! Love that you expressed all of this on paper. The hands holding the door shut and the need to prioritize, eliminate, etc. are so moving and shared by so many of us. I'm so glad you shared this.

  7. Thank you for sharing. I particularly love the hand on her head. That's a comforting touch.

  8. You are truly, one of the busiest individuals. I can only imagine how mentally organized, you have to be to accomplish all you do. So glad, you are able to take these stressors and work them out through your work. This is a great suggestion for all of us, who may get to feeling low for whatever reason. Thank you for sharing your personal side with all of us. I love you and I always enjoy watching you create.

  9. I watched this this morning while I pedaled on my Elliptical and found it totally delightful!! I loved it. It's so inspired and creative, Jessica. Just when I thought "It's done," you would add another step, another layer, thus giving the painting ever more depth and personality. Such great work. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  10. I loved your video. So many layers, but full of inspiration.


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