Friday, September 16, 2011

Art Journaling for Anxiety

Welcome back!

It's not a secret that I suffer from anxiety.  I share it openly in hopes to heal myself as well as inspire others, even though there is a stigma attached to it. Yes, it can be ugly, but it's me and what I have to deal with.

I turn to art as a way to help me cope, to help keep my mind quiet.  Even with art I still find myself battling illogical thought patterns.  My biggest issue seems to be procrastination.  I don't do something and therefore feel bad, because of that I still don't do it and feel worse.  The anxiety builds up more and more each time I think about it, which holds me back from completing it.  It's a vicious cycle that I have been struggling with for years and in many cases has paralyzed me.

I am beginning to use lists in my art journal, to make baby steps toward accomplishing things and removing the anxiety, but it's a daily struggle. I have committed myself to a cognitive thought based process to help alleviate the paralyzing fear.  I want to get better.

Welcome to my journey.

I appreciate each and every one of you that have continued to support me through the good and the bad, and regardless of whether I have a mask on or not. 

Much Love xo


  1. I love your art...which I'm sure shows your inner heart.

  2. I so admire your honest and positive approach towards what can be a crippling disorder that is little understood by others! Love your art and who you are <3 Hugs, Rach

  3. Paula, "not just a river in Egypt" is that

    Brave one, making lists, asking questions, looking is the beginning. if we don't stop to do that how will we ever find the answers?

    And you are not alone, we all, and i mean all have issues we struggle with.


  4. Paula, I'm on the journey with you! Your art is always inspiring and authentic. Thanks for sharing.
    Big love

  5. @ajsartjournal authentic is the word. Paula thank you for your honesty and sharing your journey with us!

  6. I appreciate all that YOU do, EVERYONE needs to heal/improve for one reason, condition, or another!.. So thank YOU! I see magazines and classes, and I just can't afford them. I'm lucky I can afford a few little things a month, like brushes and a few paints, or some paper and ONE sizzix die.. And that's IT. There's no money for private art lessons, nor private psychotherapy sessions! Art has always helped calm my OWN stress levels, and my little Irish temper; and I'm like a sponge right now, trying to learn everything I can! (0; Love your work! Have a great weekend! ~tina

  7. Art is healing, I call my journal my therapist, and when I don't do it, my state of mind reflects that. It's a tool I need right now and I .priorities it! I have the same issue with procrastination, so, so cyclical. Thank you for sharing so openly.

  8. Hi Paula,
    I admire you for many reasons, and your openness is one of them. Please think of how much you have reached... soooooo much! Now you have to believe that yourself (mmm, i've been there, know that what some one else says, is not automatically believed in). I think for a lot of us, art journaling is healing. I know my mental health would suffer dearly if i weren't journaling. I love your style, i love the way you 'teach'. Hang in there.

  9. I am glad you can share openly. I am sure that is good for you. Hope your internet challenges this past week are fixed soon, my friend. Hang in there. {{{Hugs}}}

  10. oh, i understand so much of what you are saying. thank you for being honest and offering hope for all of us.

  11. Thank you a million times over for sharing this, Paula. I suffer from extreme anxiety & the exact inertia you describe from procrastination / perfectionism... but am usually far too anxious to share it. LOL. Your post could have been written by me (it touches the heart of what I deal with that well). Though you put it better than I could have imagined. Thank You for a beautiful post & a beautifully hopeful idea for art therapy! giant hugs

  12. Hi Paula, I really admire your honesty and frankness. I have family members who suffer with anxiety and know how difficult it can be. It is what I love about this supportive blogging community and art journaling that you can share all parts of yourself and are unconditionally accepted for it. You are inspiring so many people with your open and generous heart.
    luv and hugs

  13. Paula, Thank you so much for this post. I had a severe anxiety attack just 2 nights ago. It's a horrible feeling. I am fortunate to have a very understanding and supportive family as well as friends who "get" what I go through. Meds help but it is still a daily challenge. I have several "issues" in my life but I try to remain positive. There are two things that really help...a sense of humor and my art.
    Hang in there, my friend. You not only have your art but you have all of us out here in cyberland who love and support you.
    By the way, I LOVE your "Much Love". I can tell it comes from your heart and it's very sweet.
    Love and Hugs!

  14. Paula, thank you so much for being brave and sharing your art and your heart with your readers. Both are very inspiring! And guess what? Your willingness to do that has helped me to take my own first baby step to just start an art journal--and the first step is always the hardest. I'm only on the beginning of my own journey, but the way has been made easier due to trailblazers like you! Blessings!

  15. First off your art is amazing, procrastination, fear, and anxiaty, we all suffer from these in our own private is so wonderful that you are willing to share this with us. I myself just wrote about procrastination on my blog a couple of posts ago, naming it my #1's natural to be stuck and then unstuck again, it would be so nice if we recognized it as a natural cycle like any other natural cycle.

  16. Dear Paula - I just had to follow you today once I saw you struggle with anxiety! I have it so bad at days I don't know how I will ever function! But . . . my Art Journal has helped so much!

    Thank you for your honesty about an illness that can really control your life! I have found once I start writing or drawing some of the fears soon wash away!

    It is strange to have been so very strong and then one day wonder how you will ever function again! But we do . . . Don't We! That says a lot about who we are and that if we press on we will eventually overcome!

    Just wanted to say hello and thanks!


  17. I have anxiety too, besides I am a paraplegic, so you can see that there are many people in a worse situation :-) Anyway, I have hope and I have joy. You can have them too, I promise :-)

    Sorry for my bad English. I wish you a great and calm Christmas and a new year full of heath and sweet serenity. Hugs from Spain.

    (Your blog is terrific!)

  18. These are beautiful, love your artwork

  19. Expressing yourself through art is a good way in dealing with anxiety. People who suffers from anxiety, suffers from sleep deprivation as well. Sleep deprivation can lead to different kinds of health problems.

    natural sleep aids

  20. You don't suffer alone. I know what it feels like. I never thought to make those lists in my art journal. I'm going to give it a try.


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