Do Superheroes Get PTSD?


Several Teesha stamps on this card

One of the items on my IPR Bucket List is to attend a Teesha Moore art retreat.  I found Teesha years ago when I first started using rubber stamps.  Hers were grungy, and weird, and everything I loved.  As you can see from the link, she makes bizarre-o collages and art journals, and held Artfest annually near her home in Issaquah, Washington.

First she quit making rubber stamps (boo!), then she quit offering the retreats.  I never had the funds to get out there anyway, but I always hoped—you know—someday.  So, she stayed on my list, because weirder things have happened (like me going to London last year).

Yesterday, she sent an email to announce that Artfest had risen from the dead and would I like to register?  Boom!  Done!  Later, as I scrolled through the information about Artfest, I realized some Cosmic Convergence or Synchronicity Faerie worked unseen in the ethers, because the theme of the retreat is:

Calling All Superheroes to Unite

As Teesha says on her website:

It is my intention that by the end of Artfest Rising, we will all be flying out of there with our capes flapping in the wind and our confident faces to the skies from our newfound understanding of ourselves, our powers and our place in this world….not to mention an amazing super-sized journal packed full of the coolest artwork around!

What feels even more serendipitous is that I’ve been contemplating my super powers recently.  I know most people don’t consider mental illness a super power, but take my Clark Kent glasses for a moment and have a look-see. dark knight

There’s Bipolar Disorder, a cross between The Dark Knight and The Human Torch.  This is Human-Torchthe veteran, the Bad-Ass, the muscle. Fatale

Then, there’s Binge Eating Disorder.  She’s been around a long time, but never identified, never given her full cred in the super power department—sort of like Fatale, one of the Dark X-Men.  Deceptively evil—strong as the horse she’s usually eating. mistique

But the super power that’s come out to play recently is one I know little about.  She’s a Mistique, a chameleon, blending into her surroundings for the sneak attack.  This, of course, is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  She’s played me for a while now, posing as memory, setting trip wires that jettison me into past trauma with anxiety and flashbacks.  I’m not used to thinking of her as part of the Superhero Pantheon, but this girl’s got game.

These three (four, really—Bipolar could never be content with one aspect) might seem like a hinderance, a handicap, but look again at their power.  They’ve protected me, kept me safe.  Sure, there’s a price.  And the bill never gets settled.  But the more I learn about them, their origin stories, their special abilities, the more I can see their beauty.  I’m making room for them, inviting them in instead of locking them out.  It’s a tentative truce, but we’re making progress.

I can’t wait to take them all to Artfest next spring to see what happens.

We’re on an Adventure.

31 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. @shane
    Aug 02, 2015 @ 17:37:08

    An interesting post about mental illness and superheroes.


  2. Zoe
    Aug 02, 2015 @ 18:38:49

    How fun. I really do hope you have a lovely time. I’ve always wanted to go in any kind of art retreat but never really looked into it thinking it’d be too expensive. Definitely going to look up some and see if I can jot down any as a “goal” to inspire me during dark times.


    • Sandy Sue
      Aug 03, 2015 @ 12:47:10

      Yaay! I was grovelingly poor for so long, that all I could do was dream and make lists. Poverty is the worst, most debilitating stress there is. I thank my parents every day for dying and leaving me a little more than that.


  3. Leslie
    Aug 02, 2015 @ 19:42:16

    I love this post!!!! Such a positive new way of thinking.


    • Sandy Sue
      Aug 03, 2015 @ 12:40:56

      I’m on this kick now of welcoming in whatever shows up in the way of symptoms. It helps with the catastrophizing.


      • Leslie
        Aug 03, 2015 @ 13:16:39

        My therapist and I were talking just this morning about me trying to “ride out” whatever comes along. It seems that I’m so hyper-aware of my symptoms that I’m always on high alert. If something starts feeling wonky, I immediately start trying to figure out what’s going on. Since so many symptoms overlap various illnesses, I’m driving myself even crazier. She is trying to get me to accept the symptoms, deal with what I need to deal with and move on. I see a long process ahead of me, but I love this approach

      • Sandy Sue
        Aug 03, 2015 @ 13:35:33

        It IS hard work, and I love your therapist.

      • Leslie
        Aug 03, 2015 @ 14:04:05

        I love her, too. I feel so fortunate that she was my second try after we moved. I hated the first one

  4. Leslie
    Aug 02, 2015 @ 19:43:11

    And I’m super happy you get a chance to cross this off your list! Sounds like fun


  5. LindaNoel
    Aug 03, 2015 @ 13:06:03

    Dahlink, you vill be coming to MY beautiful neck of the USA woods ! Yes, Issaquah is ~280 miles west of me in Spokane, BUT, I love the drive… I promise I will not show up unannounced or anything manic like that. But I am thrilled you will get to see some of our Washington natural beauty. Do you know when the retreat is scheduled? AND How cleverly and basically your various creative superheroes introduce yourSelves to yourself ! I’m also in the process of acknowledging my everlasting mental oops-nesses as hmmmm, springboards to ricochet back into my life with my own ‘special’ nesses….


  6. LindaNoel
    Aug 03, 2015 @ 13:07:59

    Googled Teesha Moore Art and see the Artist Rising will be next March-April ! Great Weather !


  7. blahpolar
    Aug 03, 2015 @ 13:54:39

    I LOVE this post. I did a post on bipolar superheroes a little while back, but yours is really in depth and I’m v impressed. Thanks 🙂


  8. pegoleg
    Aug 04, 2015 @ 07:54:41

    What a brave move, signing up for this retreat. I’m stoked that she offered and, just as good, that you accepted. It sounds great!


  9. Sherry
    Aug 05, 2015 @ 11:28:47

    I love this post. It shows me a totally new way to look at everything. It still amazes me that you can be thankful for all your “Super powers”. I’m glad you have signed up for this artfest retreat – it looks to be YOU in every aspect.


  10. the secret keeper
    Aug 15, 2015 @ 00:22:19

    What a marvelous way to perceive Bipolar & other Mental Powers. I love it. Bucket List item come true. I hope you have a blast next spring. Super Heroes. Bipolar is amazing in some of the best ways. I dropped the D word that most describe Bipolar following the word. I don’t feel that way about the Big B. The Powers are amazing. Thanks for writing this post. You just made my spirit lift off the ground and begin to soar. jk ❤


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