One of the things I did when I returned from ArtFest was repurpose my old, barely-used sketchbooks into art journals. This is the one I’m in now. It’s small (9X6), so I thought I could use it for funky lists and teeny collage bits.
It’s been a hard summer, bipolar-wise. The rapid cycling twirls like a toddler in a tutu. The mixed states tumble around like Bingo balls. I’m a little dizzy from all that brain-flux. And discouraged.
I’ve learned a lot from all these years of Bipolar Bad-Assery and Radical Acceptance. I’m much kinder to myself and able to be whatever my brain chemistry dictates. But some days are just God-awful. Period.
So, I wanted to use my journal as a more deliberate form of therapy. I decided on trying An Alphabet of Gratitude.
Each spread has a side for a list of what I’m grateful for (all starting with the same letter) and a side to create some little piece of art relating to the list. I made pretty paper out of my parent’s old farm ledgers, painted the 26 spreads funky colors and textures, then started pondering the positives in my life.
There’s a lot. We all have tons of wonderful things, people, places, talents, events that are easy to forget in this weird world. And because I have a whole page to fill with all the same letter, some of my treasures get ridiculous and very specific, which tickles me. Laughing is a good thing for persistent bipolarism. Laughing is good for everything.
I work on it every day, writing down random loves and appreciation. It doesn’t take away The Black, but it does help me pull in The Light. I can sit with that feeling of thankfulness and let it soak into my dry and sere places. It’s enough to get me through to the next day, which is all I need. Because with twirling and tumbling, a shift in mood is only a letter away.