Last week Ali Edwards and I had a candid conversation about our personal struggles with mental health on the Paperclipping Roundtable. We both suffer from anxiety and mild depression and a few other issues. I also have ADD.
I mentioned some of my pages that deal both directly and indirectly with my own struggles: once in a while I specifically mention my illness or disorder and talk about them directly on a layout. A lot of the times I just scrapbook the stories that inevitably lead from these struggles, but don’t explain how they are a result of my disorder/illnesses.
I decided to share many of those pages with you this week. If our episode made you want try scrapbooking about your own struggles, but left you wondering how to actually say what you want to say about your own condition, these examples might get your thoughts moving.
Scrapbooking How You Cope…
This layout might be the first time I ever scrapbooked anything related to my anxiety and it’s about how I pre-empted a likely upcoming bout of anxiety by prioritizing scrapbooking, since it’s a relaxing hobby. This was just after my daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy.
An important note: In case you read the journaling in the above layout, I should clarify that I did not remain anxiety-free indefinitely. It eventually came back and I have had several episodes since then. I also have medication now that I use as needed. I clarify this because I do not to appear an advocate for not getting proper medical help and medication when needed.
Sharing the Secondary Complications of Your Illness…
I have dealt with chronic pain since I was in junior high, in large part because my anxiety and obsessive perfectionism has always caused me to hold enormous amounts of tension in the muscles of my upper body and my jaw. My current physical therapist told me to imagine flexing your bicep constantly, breaking only to sleep, for 30-40 years. That’s what I’ve always done to my jaw, neck, shoulders, and upper back.
This layout is about my initial steps to get some help with my problem. It’s been a work in process for several years now. I’m trying to learn how to break these patterns.
Wish me luck on my most current attempt — my new doctor has led me to a physical therapist who specializes in my problematic area and is treating me with a promising type of breathing therapy I’ve never had before (I’m literally learning how to breath correctly).
Pointing Out Your Quirks…
Depending on what you struggle with, sometimes it’s better NOT to focus on it, especially if you have obsessive tendencies. If you this could be the case for you, then this type of layout is probably not one to try. These quirks of mine are pretty harmless and it’s not triggering for me to list them. It’s a fun page for me to read so it works in my case.
Celebrating the Successes…
I have obsessive tendencies toward over-achieving, but I also have ADD. People with ADD or ADHD are not equipped to know how to be on time. Even though it’s always important to me to be prompt and it’s something I had to actively worked on for decades. If you have a friend or family member with ADD/ADHD, never mistake their lateness for irresponsibility or a lack of concern.
Unless we’re utterly bored, those of us with ADD are unable to feel the movement of time. We have wildly inaccurate judgement of how much time is going by. We also misplace things constantly, so ince we realize it’s high time we get out the door, we spend another 10 minutes looking for our keys, our phones, our purses, our shoes, etc. We also forget things — we even forget that lateness is our consistent experience, even though we have it every single time. And we forget essential items we need to take with us (like the 5 tickets to Disneyland I pre-purchased, which I suddenly remembered once we pulled up into the hotel parking lot 7 hours away from home where the tickets remained). And if our mind picks up a thought (maybe we see something that reminds us of something else) we truly, honestly forget that we were in the middle of doing something else, like preparing to go somewhere.
But I live with four family members who are supernaturals when it comes to time. Their instincts get them out the door in time to arrive 30 minutes early to everything. I’ve learned from them. It still is not natural — I have to actively remember that I need to proceed differently, and I still fail sometimes. But I succeed at it a lot now, too — almost always when it’s important. It’s a big deal to learn to do things your brain is wired against. It deserves recognition!
Finding the Humor in Some of Your Struggles…
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the Roundtable episode on this subject, click here.
Want more scrapbooking ideas in general?