Tuesday, 18 June 2019

A Struggle, a Canvas and Jean Michel Basquiat - a StencilGirl® Project

Servus and welcome to the invitation over to the StencilGirl® Talk blog, where I am sharing my latest project as a (returning) member of their new 2019-20 Creative Team.
(Thank you Mary Beth and Carol for having me again!!! Mwah! XXX)

This month's theme for the Creative Team is to create an abstract or summer themed piece of art.
I obviously went for the former.

(detail shot)

I received some fantastic new stencils to play with and I have used some older stencils alongside some of their latest designs to create a canvas that took a life on its own even before I realised it and that - in the end - reflects my actual state of struggling with nasty symptoms from an obviously heavy under function of my thyroid (due to the chronic Hashimoto's disease).
It isn't clear why and when thyroid levels have started to go down again after a long period with (not perfect but) good blood levels and without any heavier symptoms - it is very likely that menopause has lead to a change of hormones levels that now make me struggle with the really nasty stuff like fatigue, muscle pain, weakness, dizziness, feeling cold, anxiety, panic attacks and (no surprise) high blood pressure that does not respond to medication as easily as it should...

(detail shot)

That is nothing that can't be quickly fixed by adjusting medication - it actually takes months until hormones levels adjust - so I will have to hang in there for a bit longer I'm afraid. And it is nothing that scares me really as I have already been there and done that once or twice during the last years (but only once that heavily). What makes it really hard at the moment are the panic attacks that come out of nowhere and that make it almost impossible to find a proper dosage for blood pressure medication as I can never tell if it is the anxiety or an approaching panic attack that raises blood pressure or if blood pressure itself really is too high.
The thyroid expert I am seeing believes that my blood pressure will be back to normal as soon as thyroid blood levels are back to my personal level of well being. In the meantime my general practitioner added some beta blocker to my medication (to slow down my high pulse rate) but that isn't good for the metabolism of artificial thyroid hormones I have to take...so it very likely will make me slip into under function even deeper until (in two weeks hopefully) my second visit with the thyroid expert will hopefully solve this particular issue and my hormones dosage will be properly adjusted.

(detail shot)

My general practitioner has never heard of beta blockers interacting badly with thyroid issues (which is only an issue with specific forms of thyroid diseases, with others it is a proper and helpful medication actually) and he didn't believe me when I mentioned it (actually he said I must have misunderstood something the other doctor had said). My general practitioner really IS a good doctor (I can call myself lucky that he is one of the rare GPs who even know and consider Hashimoto's disease as a possible diagnosis with symptoms most other GPs regard as typical signs of burnout or depression) - but he is no expert obviously. But he is the one I need to go to for adjustment of blood pressure medication...well...this means I will have to be patient and try to relax and hang in there as good as I can for several more weeks (or maybe months). This means the struggle will continue and I need to prepare for this and find a way to deal with this situation.

So for now I try to accept things as they are and to accept situations when I find myself crying over practically nothing or hyperventilating because of a panic attack, or being a total scatterbrain most of the time...simply because I found that when I try to fight, things start to feel even worse and only make me feel more desperate, weak and exhausted. But sometimes I am just not prepared well enough to be able of utter "acceptance"... and then I slip into "struggling mode". Often this happens so automatically or slowly that I realise it too late and at a level of exhaustion or helplessness that makes me panic again. And I try to accept that this will happen again, too...

(detail shot)

I usually do not talk about my Hashimoto's disease issues and what they do to me, but this time I just felt I needed to because the canvas I did for StencilGirl® is an exact image of my momentary struggle and anxiety. I tried to create something bright and jolly to kind of escape struggle mode for at least some hours (during the creative process) - but it didn't work this time. You can read about this and see the "before and after" stages of the canvas over at the StencilGirl® Talk Blog alongside a detailed step by step (as always).

I know I am not the only one who is struggling with chronic (or recurring) health issues and I really didn't write this post to trigger compassion. I know we all know about those (mostly) secret struggles or battles many of us are facing and know that we all understand and care - without having to express it in words. But I wanted you to understand what it is that you see in the canvas, because something in me forced me to express it visually. Maybe you also feel it too when looking at my canvas - and now you can name it. It's struggle. And it is me - trying to face struggle and deal with it. And the style of the canvas is obviously influenced by the art of Jean Michel Basquiat (I love his art and have a print of one of his paintings hanging in my living room...not to mention the illustrated books about him and his - sadly very short - life and the impact his art has made).

Wishing you all good and struggle-free times!
Take care!



  1. Thank you for sharing.
    "So for now I try ... " I am so with you in this paragraph. It's good to know we're not alone. Thank you.
    BTW Love your artwork

    1. Yes - it is so important to know that we're not alone, Christine. And to know that we try our best to get through the especially hard times, but that it isn't always possible for us to be "our best", because anxiety or panic attacks are not only exhausting but make you loose control - which is something you cannot explain to someone who has never experienced it. I think we should be more aware of the fact that we're not weak - on the contrary: we make it through these times and that should be something to be proud of. (btw - I am a lot better now ;) - quite a lot of the nasty symptoms I struggled with when I prepared this post and created the canvas were side effects of one of the drugs and I managed to find out and tamper it. It cost a lot of energy, but I made it. And we will always make it - maybe (or very likely) it will cost us blood, tears and sweat and despair and utter exhaustion again...but we will get through again. Simply because we are way too stubborn to miss out on any good days and happy times ahead ;)

      Take care! xxx


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