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Using Art as Therapy

I have loved creating art since I was little. Art class was always one of my favorite subjects in school. I love creating art and gifting it to other people, but until this past year, I rarely made art for myself. I have come to realize, art is a form of therapy for me. Over this past year, I have begun to use creating art as a way to gage how my mental health is. I have found when I am going through a depressive episode, I stop painting completely. When I am feeling super anxious, I use painting as a way to calm my mind. I also find painting helps me feel productive on days where I feel like I cannot perform how I want to.

Recently, I created a painting on the biggest canvas I’ve ever used. Despite this painting taking weeks to finish, it gave me something to look forward to each day. Whether you are new to creating art or a pro, art can be an outlet to express your feelings and take time for yourself!

From, Maria

What to Expect at a Psych or Detox Unit

Podcast: How Culture Shapes You

This weeks podcast is with Adrianna , Cindy, Emma, and Nahjeera . We had a special guest Woodeline, who is Adrianna’s aunt. Woodline is a 23 year old student at  CUNY Medgar Evers College. She came into talk about her experiences in life and gave her views on the topic of how does your culture shapes you as a person.

Everyone had different ethnicity and different views on current topic questions.

Emma is half Brazilian and Colombian. Adrianna, Woodeline , and Cindy are Haitian American . Nahjeera is African American.

Everyone gave their input about how if you act differently because you need to change your identity or show less of your culture to the world, everyone gave their honest opinion about how they show  themselves to the world.

We hope you enjoy this podcast click here to watch

What is your culture? How do you define your culture? How has it shaped you as a person?

To check out our Summer Interns other podcasts, click here

FREE Community Film Screening

The Connecticut’s Women’s Consortium is showing the  film, “Making Me Whole: Prison, Art & Healing” for FREE on March 18th

More info here

Eliza’s Recovery Video

September is Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Month.

Eliza is talking about why she fights for recovery, what her life was like, and how it has changed.

Share your recovery story with us, too and tell us why you fight.

Submit your video here

Watch the video on Vimeo, Youtube, and TurningPointCT.org

Red Panda

Tai, a young man from Alabama, came to visit his fiance for winter break and agreed to check out the Young Adult Connection Group in Middletown. Tai decided to join us on the night of “personality tests” and when he found out his spirit animal, he saw it was a bear.
Tai returned the following week with this masterpiece – his interpretation of his spirit animal. He instantly wanted to represent his spirit animal as a panda, but was convinced to draw specifically a red panda.
We hope Tai will join us next year at the connection group too – he’s full of life and is a great addition to our Young Adult Connection Community.

Artist: Tai

Island Boy Poetry: Poetry Heals!

Island Boy Poetry: These are some of my poems. I am finally getting back into the habit of writing but most importantly, poetry is my everything, including my motivation. While you read these poems, just imagine yourself as the writer.

Hope I could help someone get through today

Another Rave 

Vision me weeping in this world

That covets its own wealth

Where the meek reaps and sweats

And the fortunate sips and keeps.

And god is taught.

And I am torn of my dignity.

 

Here kindness witnesses a dying child

…Of hunger

…Of rejection

…Of slaughtered conscience

but refuses to acquiesce

And turn a blind eye,

But likewise almost dead.

 

Voices parade streets

With a shared language

That should champion hope.

 

Hasn’t the world had seen enough of corruption?

Hate?

Violence?

Has the world not yet come to learn history?

For some it’s a passion

For others its simply what is convenient

But to think of it…

Utter love and peace is still a vision.

 

Depression 

I’ve been thinking

And I think back to that morning I woke in tears

With feelings of gloom and despair.

And I think back to my dream

And I think back to my feeling alone

And my fears

And why every minute of every day is too much

For my pounding heart

And this miserable headache.

And my body bleeds with memories

And flashbacks

And begs to know the future

And to forget this moment

That is but a bad dream.

But everything awakens me

From memories of failure

To feelings of helplessness.

And I feel a little weak

From all the madness in the world

Judgment and hate

And there “I overthink”…

And I become lost in misery and torment

And thoughts follow thoughts

But into another deep sleep

That halts the emotional trauma

And becomes the antidote for my depression.

 

—Kevin

Young Adult Connection Group, Guildford, CT

NAMI Young Adult Connection Community is proud to start up another location in Guilford, Connecticut!

We will be meeting from 6:30-8pm at the 510 Village Walk Plaza on the first and third Tuesday of every month (bi-weekly).

This NAMI group is facilitated by young people for young people ages 18-29 and it’s FREE!

Some activities we do at these groups include, but are not limited to, music, art, games, talking, meditation…and so much more!

Snacks will be provided.
If you have any questions, please contact Val @ (860) 266-0366.

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To Try is to Succeed By Brianna

Bri’s favorite color is purple, last week she identified “feeling happy is the color purple,” so it was no surprise that when she designed her advocacy T-Shirt, she chose it to be purple. On the front of her shirt, she included a pocket square and on the back it says “To try is to succeed.”
A beautiful interpretation of breaking the stigma!
Artist: Brianna

You Be You By Johnathan

John designed a bright colored baseball T-Shirt that says “You be you” and on the back it says, “Only you can control you.” He’s absolutely right, only we can control our actions and thoughts. So why not be you? Let’s break this stigma!

Artist: Johnathan

You Are Not Alone in the Dark by Kim

You Are Not Alone in the Dark – Kim designed a gray T-Shirt that says “Shine a Light” with an image of a match in the pocket square glowing. On the back of her shirt, she wrote “Warrior, Fighter, Survivor.” Each word is written in the color of a flame. Bright and bold contrast with the dark T-Shirt, she is sure to stand out from the crowd! Kim shared with the group that she wants to bring this design to her NAMI chapter on campus to actually use this design for a shirt. What a great idea!
Artist: Kim

J.G.’s Procrastination Monster

Jessica shares her monster’s story with the group: the fence represents being prevented in getting anywhere and getting things done with a scary monster hiding in the darkness. She includes fire in her representation of her monster too. Perhaps this monster’s name is “Procrastination?”
Artist: Jessica

G.M.’s Mad Scientist Monster

G.M.’s Monster – Gavin, a new member to our Young Adult Connection group created his monster, inspired by Toby Allen’s illustrations of mental illnesses. Although Gavin did not explain what his monster represents to him, we can all say his monster looks a bit like a mad scientist. Gavin will be returning to college this fall…so it is very fitting!

Art by Gavin

RIPPLE Open Mic Night – Sept 8th, 6:30 pm

MENTAL HEALTH & ADDICTION OPEN MIC NIGHT

Come share your POETRY, SPOKEN WORD, SHORT PROSE & ART!

Open to those who may have experienced or have used services for mental/behavioral health, addiction, substance use/ substance abuse
Up to 3 minutes per performer
Providers, loved ones & others encouraged to come listen

WHERE:
At the Westport Barnes & Noble.

1076 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880

WHEN:
Thursday September 8th, starting at 6:30 pm

Join the discussion and share your thoughts about the event HERE!

And learn more about RIPPLE:

We Must Be DEAFENING (https://www.facebook.com/WeMustBeDeafening/)
Recovery Innovations for Pursuing Peer Leadership and Empowerment (https://www.facebook.com/RIPPLERecoveryInnovations/)

@WeMstBDeafening (https://twitter.com/WeMstBDeafening)
@RIPPLE_Recovery (https://twitter.com/RIPPLE_Recovery)

 

Smudge!

Smudge! – Sara decided to do the impossible…smudge all of the colors she could and dousing the page in water. It takes incredible strength to let the water take over the art!

–Sara

My latest book I have been reading…

Hey, everyone!

I wanted to see if anyone has read some great (or even crappy) books lately. I recently picked up a book by Brene Brown, a researcher, and author on shame and resilience. Her book, The gifts of Imperfection delves into ways to bounce back from setbacks.

It is a pretty light read, and I had some good insights from it. As part of my bedtime ritual, I always grab a book and read when I have some quiet time. (Note to self: do not scroll Facebook before bed. Social media is like Pringles, Once you pop, you can’t stop!

Check out the link on Amazon for more info:

PS. Fun Fact: The book I hated reading most was “Lord of the Flies.” I was in 9th grade, and all I remember is reading about obnoxious boys running on an island “hunger games style” trying to hurt each other! :0

The Calm Before the Shake

The Calm Before the Shake – Steph unveils different expressions through her art.

This collage is truly a collection of herself – everything from the braille background representing being blind to the phrase “Positively Uplifting Energy”.

-Steph

Wellness Warriors: “Claire”

Wellness Warriors – “Claire”  is clairvoyant and sensitive. She uses the 7 chakras to imbue herself with the elements, and can align herself and her teammates. Such Chakras include the root chakra, a firey element that can burn, to the crown chakra, a purple wind that can soothe. Claire also is extremely sensitive to emotions and has strong intuition powers.

-Michael

Celebrity Wellness 2

Celebrity Wellness 2!

Whitney Houston: I chose Whitney because her talent, star presence and big person (and her famous Diane Sawyer interview) were a great inspiration. Whitney had her own struggles, and later in her career was publicly known for this.

Donald Trump: I can’t even explain this hot mess..

-Michael

Frozen

I love Disney, and was challenged to draw Elsa and Olaf from the movie Frozen!

-Michael

Painting: What the EyE tells us!

The eye says so much about us. Whatever we are going through is revealed through this magical organ… your story, a lost memory, a lonely night, a new day, a great achievement!… it is all revealed through the eyes.

Sunset

This piece signifies the beauty of the sunset at the end of the day. No matter what we go through, the end will be glorious as long as we stick through!

–Painting by Kevin

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

Splat

Splat – This dark inner circle describes a girl who has been challenged with many obstacles. Feelings of being forgotten, sadness, and the blank outer shell shown is nothing, but her true self to the world. In the mess of the darkness, she uses watercolors to share her messy yin and yang and the guard dog protecting her from the outer world.

Artist: Savannah

Inner Circle

This piece was done by one of our group members at the Young Adult Connection Group in Middletown.

In this watercolor piece, you will see the inner child and soon the outer rings consuming the mind. Words plaguing the brain like “disordered eating” and “social anxiety” are just a few to describe what this young adult tries to hide from the world.
Soft colors mask the darkness behind this piece; blinding us to believe this is a happy, level-headed, lovable person.

Artist: Chelsea

Jasmine

When I started working on my trauma therapy, my therapist asked me to come up with an animal as my protector. I thought he was joking at first, but then I realized how important it was to have that spirit animal as my protector. Doing trauma work is incredibly exhausting and in many cases, scary because the past experiences are brought up.

This is Jasmine. She’s a black panther with green eyes and she is special. I decided to draw her because I wanted to show my support group how I envisioned Jasmine as if she was truly sitting beside me.

-Valerie

Owl and Spider

Owl and Spider – Once upon a time there was an owl named Peter who decided to eat a spider because he was hungry…

In our Young Adult Connection Groups, we often create art. One week we drew our “spirit animals.” One very talented young woman took the spirit animal test and resulted in being the spider. She decided to be a little more creative by drawing an owl eating the spider.

-Nanichi

Helen

Helen represents the pinnacle of beauty in Greek Mythology. As the woman who started the Trojan War, Helen lived a life some would see as an “object.” That was Helen’s fate to the extent that we know of her, and her veil of sadness is intimately apparent.

-Michael

American Dad

I LOVE Roger on American Dad. As the delightfully offensive Alien resident in the Smith Household, this sketch is Roger as “Fantasia Lopez” a woman trying to scam “the system.”

I always enjoy cartooning as an alternative to realistic illustration – there is less pressure, and it is always fun to capture the essence of a character.

-Michael

Transitioning from psych wards to the material world

The thing is that I was a DCF kid. My childhood composed of trauma and abuse which led me to growing so accustomed to The System that I never learned the social skills needed to interact with Normies (people who were never in The System and is sane enough to appear normal even if they’re not). I believe that I never fully adapted to the real world; I never successfully transitioned from a hospital ambiance to the community setting. This theory would definitely explain why I’m so socially awkward. I have a habit of making people feel uncomfortable and actually taking pleasure in it. You see, in psych wards, talking about depression, suicide, rape, and the like were topics of conversation. We made humor out of it because they were the only things to define our lives. It’s why I have a very dark, warped sense of humor. I know it’s hard to take me seriously but I use humor as a coping/defense mechanism. If I stop laughing, I’ll fall apart. I’m content with failing to transition from the psych ward to the material world. I accept my mental health problems to the point where I embrace them for the better. However, life is a journey and things happen for a reason. I’m slowing coming to terms with being better with social-stuff but if certain people in my life are meant to go away, then I must let go or be dragged. Life is better without expectations anyway.