How Do You Find Your Calm?

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about the state of my mental health. The good news is that things continue to get better every day. There are a few factors to this. I’m taking my medication every day, I’m getting plenty of rest, I cut out soda (seems like a weird thing, but it’s been insanely helpful), I’m being more active, and I’m coloring.

That’s right, I’m coloring. Every doctor/therapist/phsycologist/helpful friend will tell you that in order to have some calm in your head, you need a “thing.” That thing is different for everyone. Some people run to find their calm; others cook, or knit, or yell, or punch a punching bag. I color.

Coloring books

My current coloring books – All from Michaels

I wish I could explain how coloring affects me. It’s the time of day when my mind is forced to be clear. I have to decipher the patterns, pick my colors, and be precise and stay in the lines. It requires all of my focus, but it is a safe place and time for my mind to think and work through my feelings. If I’m focused on coloring, I can’t berate myself for my screw ups. It’s the time when my mind is forced to be quiet and be in the moment. It seems weird that something that we did in elementary school could be the thing that literally keeps me sane as an adult.

I have a few rules about how I color. 1- Always in marker. I feel like colored pencils and crayons are too wishy-washy. I need my marks to be decisive. 2- No characters! I cannot stress this enough. I go out of my way to find coloring books full of patterns and intricate designs that are open to interpretation. I started with manadalas (which I understand is also a form of meditation) and have moved on to the books I currently use. 3 – There must be music. I have my music on, my markers and my little lap desk. It’s heaven.

So, what have I actually made? I went back on forth on whether or not to share some of my pictures. It seemed a bit juvenile; like hanging your 2nd grade artwork on the fridge for approval. But I am not ashamed, and frankly, I think some pretty cool pics have come out of it.

CP collage 2

CP collage 1

This is just a sample. I have over 15 pictures done from over the last few months.

 

I know this post had nothing to do with fashion, and I promise to talk about fashion again this week! But May is still Mental Health Awareness Month, and I think it’s important not just to talk about the illnesses themselves, but the treatment. Living with mental illness isn’t just about taking pills and seeing a doctor; it’s about finding ways to cope and find happiness on daily basis. Depression is debilitating and it is a necessity for people who live with it to find a way to give themselves some peace and relief.

What do you do to relax and find your calm?

3 responses to “How Do You Find Your Calm?”

  1. Valeka Cruz says:

    I love your artwork! I paint to relax, mostly watercolor,and, for the past year or so, I bake. I think the baking is for me what coloring with markers is for you – it requires concentration and precision to get the result that you want. Thank you for sharing and creating a dialogue about depression and ways to get some relief from it.

  2. BookishDreamer says:

    I love your pictures. I can imagine those designs covering a swishy skirt. I used to do this too!! When work was so out of control, I needed something at home that would require some focus to do, allow me to be fully in control and not let my mind wander. I just grabbed cheap kid’s coloring books that had lots of detail and a large box of crayons. I don’t buy coloring books anymore but still have hobbies that are structured, detailed and require me to pay attention to what I’m doing rather than replay the day’s activities or conversations. Essentially I color with thread now (cross stitch). There is something so soothing about the repetitive actions and having a pretty result. I think everyone needs to have an activity that makes the world fade into the background.

  3. Meagan K Warncke says:

    Those are some bad-a** coloring books! I love to color. It’s so relaxing. 🙂

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