The questions. The overwhelming amount of questions.
"I have missed you on social media..."
"I didn't know you painted!"
"So happy to see you painting again..."
"Your paintings are different, where did you learn that?"
"Where have you been..."
The harder questions
"Are you ok?"
Knots. Sheer panic and then nothing.
Nothing came to my mind. It was as if someone had emptied a huge warehouse, turned off all the lights. It felt like an echo in my brain.
I didn't know how to answer any of these questions.
It's not easy to open up. Or to respond... when I feel like the answer is complicated, it makes me feel defeated or weak or frustrated and disappointed in myself.
Prenatal and postpartum anxiety.
Has been part of my journey. To be transparent with you... it has been a one of the toughest parts of my life. It was taking over my day to day since I finally reached out and got help January 12, 2021.
I had just lost another pregnancy.
On the exact day. I also lost one of my favorite people in the whole world. My grandpa (Grumpy). It was the anniversary of his passing...
And there I was loosing another pregnancy. Bleeding, horrified.
How could God take my baby on such a sad day for me?
I so desperately wanted a sign from my Grandpa in heaven. I wanted a sign that he was watching over me. He was supposed to be sending me a rainbow, a sign of love, a baby.
Yet now the baby was gone. And so was he.
Chest pain set in. I broke out in hives all over my arms, scalp, and neck. I began to loose hair in the front. Right where my part was I had a bald spot that I feared would grow larger and larger. I felt nervous 24/7. I went to bed nervous. I woke up feeling like I couldn't do it. What "it" was I didn't know, all I knew is that I just couldn't.
I really did think it was normal. I thought everyone felt nervous, especially going through loss. I thought everyone felt like their heart was stitched to their spine making it painful to breathe. I thought everyone sometimes felt like their brain turned off and that they were standing in the doorway of an empty warehouse. I thought that everyone felt "nervous".
Finally, my husband convinced me to seek help from a counselor. I really did want to talk to someone about how shook I felt, how scared I was to try to get pregnant again. I wanted to tell someone that I didn't feel like I always used to... but I didn't know how far from myself I really was.
So there it began. My journey to healing and working with the anxiety that I thought was just a way of life. I have an amazing counselor who... helped me slowly find my way through the clouds.
She encouraged me to go for it. What I didn't realize was how important painting was in my recovery. What happened was a rainbow in itself.
I began painting without my glasses on, making everything blurry. I also decided to begin my paintings by painting my subject upside down.
Beauty started to emerge. Not only in my paintings, but in myself.
What actually happened was painting in this way forced me to use a different part of my brain. I just painted shapes the way my blurry vision saw them, listened to music, and exercised that piece of my mind that was previously overtaken by my emotions.
It was magic, miraculous... at least to me.
I'm still recovering and work hard at making my mental health a priority. It's not an easy topic for me to talk on or open up about because it feels vulnerable, sensitive, in some ways abstract and hard to explain in words. The biggest reason it is so hard is because I'm afraid people will judge me. See me as weak, or less than. I'm afraid people will gossip about me, making assumptions where they don't understand.
Or I'm afraid someone will say something like, "You seem so happy or I can't tell you are bothered"
To me that says... "Paige, I don't believe you"
That's part of anxiety, it's a beast, isn't it?
People don't have any idea what you're going through, let alone what to say that will make you feel validated.
So what do you do?
When you really have to face yourself, when you can't run away anymore.
I have my husband to thank for allowing me to heal on this journey with him. He's my greatest supporter. He tries so hard to understand when I feel like I don't have the words to explain what I'm going through. Man, I'm lucky.
So... that's where my paintings are coming from today. There's much more to this story.
On a lighter note, I'm excited YOU are here. Learning more about where the art comes from. Celebrating all seasons of your life. You're wonderful and amazing and your loved ones need you. I need you.
Until next time. Thank you <3