Monthly Archives: November 2014

Easy Art Therapy Ideas # 6 Wander Land Cards

WANDER LAND CARDS; emergency supplies for the blizzard

Coping with obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid rotation caused by spinal adhesive arachnoiditis in the thoracic and lumbar spine

There are days when the mind wanders through the OTHER kind of snow…. A simple Wander Land Card can point you in the right direction so you can shovel that junk out of the way.

The Path was here a minute ago...
The Path was here a minute ago…
The Right Path?
The Right Path?

I agree when Lisa Sonora Beam says, When you’re in the midst of overwhelm, depression or despair, you can’t logically think yourself out. It’s even harder to take action.”

When significant scarring in the subarachnoid space causes an obstruction to the natural Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) rotation, these emotional factors may not be the only thing affecting the ability to act and remain in cognitive control.

Imaging study of CSF rotation
Imaging study of CSF rotation and pooling of  CSF in the lumbar and thoracic spine

The CSF is crucial to the health, well-being, and FUNCTION of the human brain. Fluctuations in CSF levels can impair cognitive ability. Depending on numerous personal medical, mental, and physical variables; this phenomenon can present in different ways for each individual. For arachnoiditis survivors symptoms of CSF obstruction can mimic those seen in cases of CSF Leak, hydrocephalus, and Chiari Malformation even when those specific conditions are NOT present.

After seven years of living with spinal adhesive arachnoiditis, my family has come to recognize when my CSF levels are low. I begin to resemble a ball in a pin ball machine bouncing from one room to the next without ever doing or achieving anything. When I am in a store I go from aisle to aisle without actually picking anything up off the shelf. My conscious sense of purpose becomes scattered. Though I don’t necessarily feel any unusual(for me) specific physical discomfort at this time, it is an indicator that a full pain flare and spinal headache is on the horizon. Even my dog knows when to tell me to go lay down.

What do I do about this?

PREVENTION is KEY.  Three hours of vertical time is my limit before these cognitive issues start to snow all over my mission. Anyone who has followed my story knows that I adjust my work stations and schedule to include horizontal time every three hours. I also use an inversion table at least once a day to help restore fluid to its proper location.

Inversion and Warm Fuzzy Socks = Focus
Inversion and Warm Fuzzy Socks = Focus

PLANNING for cluelessness helps…

As my work scope increases for the Art For Arachnoiditis Project and my Studio goals, the brain snow has become increasingly irritating. Last month I created a schedule for myself. This is a very specific schedule that blocks out my time by project and by the hour, to focus on critical tasks of a given day. On clear days I allow fluctuation in this schedule. It is not intended as a restriction or limitation. This schedule serves as a valuable resource on those days that everything looks like a polar bear in a snowstorm. I just know that there was something I wanted to accomplish but CANNOT remember what it was. I keep three copies of the list. One is near my bed so that when I wake up in pain I can remember what I wanted to do today. One is near my PC in my office, and one is near my cot so that I can review when I lay down.

KNOWING what you intended to do, does not mean that you cannot forgive yourself for not being able to do it that day.  Personally, I like to remember what it is I am forgiving myself FOR.

Shortly after I privately created this schedule for myself, I received this post from Lisa Sonora Beam. Although the end goal is the same, the way she tells it is much more profound than mine… She refers to what I call my “blizzard list” as her  Dark Side of the Moon list.

She says, “make lists for what to do during creative overwhelm and despair”. Even if your mission is NOT an art-related one, I think her description of the purpose of the list and how it works is so much better than anything I could do to explain how meaningful and useful this method is to me. I firmly believe that these concepts and methods are transferrable to any mission.

For Emergency Use
IN CASE OF AIMLESS WANDERING During White-Out READ THIS CARD 

Did you make a Wander Land Card for yourself? What other ways do you cope with these arachnoiditis Blizzards on the Dark Side of the Moon? Tell us about your experience and methods, and/ or share your images in the comments below.

I am an experienced patient, NOT a medical practitioner. Any medical discussion or references here are based entirely on my own personal experience and are not intended as medical advice or guidance. ALWAYS Seek consultation with a trusted medical professional prior to making any assumptions about diagnosis or changes to treatment.

MEDICAL RESOURCES

Cerebrospinal Fluid Concentration of Brain-Derive Neurotrophic Factor and Cognitive Function in Non-dimented Subjects

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leaks

Cerebrospinal fluid – function, production and circulation – animation by Cal Shipley, M.D.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Research {BIO MED Central} 

Cerebrospainal Fluid (CSF) circulation in brain: Sites and mechanisms of CSF secretion, circulation and reabsorption.Physiological and modeling description. 

Neuropathology CHAPTER 14 CEREBROSPINAL FLUID

Chiari Malformation; Anatomy of Chiari and CSF 

Neuropsychological Findings In Congenital and Acquired Childhood Hydrocephalus

What is Hydrocephalus?

Vitamin D in relation to cognitive impairment, cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers, and brain volumes

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Easy Art Therapy Ideas #4 & #5

Coping with cabin fever...
Coping with cabin fever…

To demonstrate the ways in which Arachnoiditis Survivors benefit from participation in the Arts, The Art For Arachnoiditis Project includes Art By Survivors. Survivors are invited to share their original artwork from self-designed projects and from the healing activities described here.

Descriptions and comments about how you benefit or additional input about what might be helpful in the future activities are also welcome.

 

There is no obligation to share images of your finished healing art activities.  However, you are welcome to do so in this thread or in a private message for possible inclusion in the Art By Survivors portion of the Art For Arachnoiditis Project public exhibition. Be sure to specify if you would like to be named or remain anonymous at the exhibition. Here is the Project Registration Form .

 

This first series of activities is from

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

“Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. While many other forms of therapy depend on verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles, art therapy allows for other, more abstract forms of communication. This tactic makes room for elements of the subconscious that perhaps are not yet ready or able to be verbalized come to the surface.

You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises rely not on the final product you create but on the therapeutic, meditative ritual of the creative process. If you’re intrigued by the process of relaxation through artistic imagination, we’ve compiled a starter kit to get you on your way.

The following suggestions are simple ways to explore your inner creative voice while turning off the negative influences that so often get in the way. They may not all work for you, but hopefully one or more of the following techniques will serve as the artistic equivalent of a long, hot bath.”

  1. Draw in total darkness
    Out of the Darkness
    Out of the Darkness

    “So much of the stress we experience when making art comes from the judgments and criticism that seem unavoidable every step of the way. Try creating artwork in total darkness to make art free from that inner art critic inside your head. (Think of it as a form of blind contour drawing.) You’re suddenly freed up to create lines, shapes and patterns simply because you feel like you should. When you turn back on the lights, we suspect you’ll be surprised by what you find.” ~PF

  2. Watercolor your bodily state

    Bodily Reflections
    Bodily Reflections

    “Lie down and close your eyes. Visualize your body as you breathe in and out. Try to imagine your breath as a particular color as it enters your body, another color as it exits. What do you see? Draw an outline of a body on a large sheet of paper, and inside, create a watercolor based on your bodily state. Think about what these colors mean to you, where they are densest, where they are most opaque. Think of this as the most relaxing self-portrait you’ll ever create.” ~PF

Wishing all of you a low pain day. ~slk

Easy Art Therapy Ideas #3

This first series of activities is from

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

“Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. While many other forms of therapy depend on verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles, art therapy allows for other, more abstract forms of communication. This tactic makes room for elements of the subconscious that perhaps are not yet ready or able to be verbalized come to the surface.

You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises rely not on the final product you create but on the therapeutic, meditative ritual of the creative process. If you’re intrigued by the process of relaxation through artistic imagination, we’ve compiled a starter kit to get you on your way.

The following suggestions are simple ways to explore your inner creative voice while turning off the negative influences that so often get in the way. They may not all work for you, but hopefully one or more of the following techniques will serve as the artistic equivalent of a long, hot bath.”

  1. Build an altar to a loved one When I saw this activity, I felt that it might be the perfect one for arachnoiditis survivors. Many survivors grieve for the person that they were before arachnoiditis entered their lives. My suggestion is that it might be beneficial to build this altar in halves. The left half is the altar to the “YOU” that you remember and the right half is a second altar to the “YOU” that you would like to become.  There will certainly be a disparity of sorts between these two images. However, the combination of them gives some semblance of recognition and tribute to the validity of the “YOU” that you are now.
    Loving Altar as tribute
    Loving Altar as tribute

     

    “Take inspiration from folk art and create an altar honoring a unique relationship between you and another person, living or not. Decorate the shrine with photographs, letters and relics of memorable times spent together, as well as new art objects you’ve created in their honor. Anything can become artistic material, from gifts you’ve exchanged to a candy wrapper you know your subject would love. Building a totem to another person awakens memories and creates a physical manifestation of a relationship that can provide comfort in tough times.” ~ PF

    Creating a physical manifestation to honor the relationship between both sides of yourself becomes an empowering totem which promotes an inner acceptance of you. Some other things you might want to consider as artistic material: memorabilia of a victory or milestone achieved, an obstacle you have overcome, a grocery receipt for healthy foods that support your recovery, a teabag tag that gave a few minutes of grace in an otherwise horrendous day, a leaf of many colors or any  object that reminded you of the beauty that still exists in the world, a case number to show you are in pursuit of justice, a photograph of quality time you have spent with a child, and any other found or created object which celebrates your achievements- great and small.

     

     

    There is no obligation to share images of your finished healing art activities.  However, you are welcome to do so in this thread or in a private message for possible inclusion in the Art By Survivors portion of the Art For Arachnoiditis Project public exhibition. Be sure to specify if you would like to be named or remain anonymous at the exhibition. Here is the Project Registration Form .

The Art For Arachnoiditis Project Complete 2014-2015 Registration Form

Art For Arachnoiditis Project Complete Registration Form
Art For Arachnoiditis Project Complete Registration Form

ADDITIONAL PROJECT DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE LINKS BELOW:

The Call For Entries

Art For Arachnoiditis Project Summary

Arachnoiditis Survivor: A Portrait of Resilience Against Patient Harm In America

Art By Arachnoiditis Survivors~The Gallery & Items for Sale to benefit the project. More about the development of this empowerment project website: artforarachnoiditis.org

Arachnoiditis In Real Life

Still Standing, Sometimes.

If you know a survivor and would like to support the Art For Arachnoiditis Project on his/her behalf you can Become a Sponsor or Support the Project and Find Additional Arachnoiditis Awareness Merchandise at Bravelets $10 of each purchase supports Art For Arachnoiditis.

Arachnoiditis Awareness Merchandise also available at Zazzle

Art For Arachnoiditis Project Post Cards and T-shirts from the See.Me Gallery:

$1 of each post card purchase benefits the Art For Arachnoiditis Project “Send your 4″ x 6″ standard postcard anywhere in the world! No additional shipping will be added.”

$10 of each T-shirt purchase benefits the Art For Arachnoiditis Project. “Gorgeous one-of-a-kind, all-over-printed front and back t-shirts created by you. Shirts are 100% polyester. $40.00 (Please note that because of the special printing process we use, some t-shirts may have some minor white creases, including under the arms, and may lose about 0.5 inches of the design around the edges of the shirt.)We aim to print and ship your custom shirt within 7 to 10 days of your order. Shipping costs will be added at checkout based on your shipping address.”

Digital Collage for T-shirts and PostCards #3
Digital Collage for T-shirts and PostCards #3

 Logo and Digital Collage #2

Art For Arachnoiditis .org website cover image

Arachnoiditis Survivor Project Digital Collage

Easy Art Therapy Ideas #2

This first series of activities is from

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

“Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. While many other forms of therapy depend on verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles, art therapy allows for other, more abstract forms of communication. This tactic makes room for elements of the subconscious that perhaps are not yet ready or able to be verbalized come to the surface.

You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises rely not on the final product you create but on the therapeutic, meditative ritual of the creative process. If you’re intrigued by the process of relaxation through artistic imagination, we’ve compiled a starter kit to get you on your way.

The following suggestions are simple ways to explore your inner creative voice while turning off the negative influences that so often get in the way. They may not all work for you, but hopefully one or more of the following techniques will serve as the artistic equivalent of a long, hot bath.”

  1. Cut and paste a painting to create a collageEzArtCollage11.16.14

    “Create a painting on a material like paper or cardboard. When you’re finished, cut or tear it up. Then use the pieces as building blocks for a new artwork — a collage. See how your original artwork transforms into something new and exciting, something unpredictable. This exercise illuminates the close proximity between creation and destruction, encouraging us to take risks to push ourselves creatively and in other aspects of life.”  

    There is no obligation to share images of your finished healing art activities.  However, you are welcome to do so in this thread or in a private message for possible inclusion in the Art By Survivors portion of the Art For Arachnoiditis Project public exhibition. Be sure to specify if you would like to be named or remain anonymous at the exhibition. Here is the Project Registration Form .

E-Z Art Therapy Ideas #1

It is freezing out here…and supposed to get colder. It seems like a good time to start a series to help cope with winter confinement.

This series of healing art activities begins with

10 Easy Art Therapy Techniques To Help You De-Stress

The Huffington Post  | By Priscilla Frank

“Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. While many other forms of therapy depend on verbal language to express feelings and overcome personal obstacles, art therapy allows for other, more abstract forms of communication. This tactic makes room for elements of the subconscious that perhaps are not yet ready or able to be verbalized come to the surface.

You do not have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of art therapy. In fact, most of the exercises rely not on the final product you create but on the therapeutic, meditative ritual of the creative process. If you’re intrigued by the process of relaxation through artistic imagination, we’ve compiled a starter kit to get you on your way.

The following suggestions are simple ways to explore your inner creative voice while turning off the negative influences that so often get in the way. They may not all work for you, but hopefully one or more of the following techniques will serve as the artistic equivalent of a long, hot bath.”

FIRST ACTIVITY

  1. Design a postcard you don’t intend to sendEzArtPostcard11.13.14

Whether it’s a love note to someone you’re not ready to confess your feelings to, or an angry rant you know is better left unsaid, sometimes enumerating all the details helps deflate the issue at hand. While writing the text can be therapeutic in its own right, designing the postcard gives even more value to the object. It also allows you to activate different portions of your brain while relaxing in a manner similar to coloring in a coloring book. Once you toss that signed and sealed letter in the trash (or tuck it away in a drawer), you’ll find its message has lost some of its power.”

There is no obligation to share images of your finished healing art activities.  However, you are welcome to do so in this thread or in a private message for possible inclusion in the Art By Survivors portion of the Art For Arachnoiditis Project public exhibition. Be sure to specify if you would like to be named or remain anonymous at the exhibition. Here is the Project Registration Form .

I originally saw the article in my news feed from The Art Therapy Alliance.