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It never seems to end.

bwithtbbwitht Posts: 19
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in Depression and Coping
My depression although brought into the depths by chronic pain, has many other contributors.

My parents could not have children of their own and Mom really loved kids, so they decided to adopt. First came my brother, #1, a son! Dad was in heaven, he had a son. Six years later they adopted my sister, olive complected, brown curly haired, brown eyed, perfect. Then a little over a year after that I came along, bald, pale, blue eyed girl. What, another girl?

I was constantly told that I would never be as good, smart, talented, pretty as my sister. I can still hear my dad's words ringing in my ears, "If you would just apply yourself, you would get better grades. Not A's like your sister but at least B's." "If you would cut out snacks you would lose weight. You are big boned so you won't be as skinny as your sister." My mom would often try to soften the harshness of my dad's words with food (her own addiction) but of course that just made it worse.

My sister was the cheerleader, track star and all around miss popular. She always had girlfriends, dates, boyfriends and parties. I was shy, tall, overweight, artistic, had a few friends but for the most part lonely. I started taking painting lessons when I was in jr. high because that was my passion. I had already made up my mind that I was going to go to the Colorado Institute of Art after high school. Oh but then my sister started to take art class and my dream of CIA died (really long story).

I continued to draw and paint and mom was my biggest fan. I have always been attracted to surrealist artists such as Dali but portraits was where I could make some money. The last painting I completed was a commissioned portrait in oil. Mom was going thru radiation treatments for brain tumors at the time and two years later she was in a coma. I had lost my biggest fan and along with her, my heart. I have not been able to complete anything in 21 years.

Enter a work comp injury and chronic pain. I have been suffering with depression from the loss of a career I loved and as the pain continued the depression deepened. I suffer with suicidal ideation and my two antidepressants and mood stabilizer have been increased as the depression increased. Finally I have max-ed out on my meds so my physician insisted I start going to therapy.

My therapist is a very sweet young gal who has a very easy way about her. I still have the depression but she is making me work on some "me" issues. There are so many different facets to what causes me to feel like I don't matter, so we have to work in layers. Some things I should be doing, I am not, others I have. My most recent task was to draw, something, anything. I have had some issues that came up that had to be dealt with so I didn't do anything Thursday thru Sunday. Finally today I got out my sketch pad and pencils and made myself draw. I chose my dog Herbie. I got him when I was a freshman and when I moved out I had to leave him with Mom. He became her dog after that and she loved him dearly. It was a really quick sketch and I took this picture before I was completely done but I want to share it.



  • You are a very gifted artist. The wonderful thing about a talent like that is that no one can ever take it away from you or minimalize it, not even our worst enemies.

    Sibling issues are among the most cutting and I'm glad that you're dealing with it in therapy. I had the big sister who could do no wrong as well. Now she's an RN and think that she knows EVERYthing about what I'm going through. I usually hang up on her before she goes through her laundry list of questions about my doctor appointments and pain levels. The real truth is that now we are adults and can choose not to allow them to have that effect on us anymore. With your mother gone you have to become your own biggest advocate.

    I hope that you will keep up with your art again. It's magical. If I could afford it I would commision you to draw my dogs- you have a gift for capturing the personality in their eyes. Art also is an amazing form of therapy in itself and can unlock thing deep in ourselves that we wouldn't otherwise address. I just have to use stick figures...imagine how hard it is to get my point across LOL!

    Hang in there and know that we're all here to talk if you need us.


  • i'm glad the therapist can help you figure out the past....now its your job to move on. based on what i see with your artwork you can move forward and become an accomplished artist.
    art isnt just copying something. i think i can see a certain feeling in your work...that's what comes out....dont keep it in....
  • Beautiful!
    Many would give just about anything to be able to draw like that!
    Keep it up!
  • I can see why you chose your beloved Herbie to be your first drawing. He is adorable and you have captured his spirit so well. I hope this is the start of a strong and positive time for you. Please know that your Spine Health family is always here for you.

  • Great work, a wonderful gift you have.
  • bwitht, that's a beautiful drawing. I was very sad reading your story. Our childhood years are when we develop our senses of security, faith and self-worth and you had such a difficult time during them. It should never have been that way. It always disturbs me when I see people who haven't had the nurturing, tenderness and compassion in their early years that is so important to helping us find ourselves later in life.

    I can see in your drawing the love and passion you feel for the gift you've been given. It's a beautiful drawing and I hope that now that you've done this, you'll find you can't live without continuing to create such wonderful artwork.

  • Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. My kids were pretty surprised as they watched me sketch. My daughter was a little girl when I was still painting so she remembers little things, like my easel set up in the living room, the painting I did of Kenny Rogers for my sister-in-law and a commissioned portrait of a friend's father-in-law. My son however, has only seen a few of my paintings I still have.

    I am starting another sketch, keep your fingers crossed because this one is really going to be important to me.
  • Good Luck with your next sketch. Thank you for sharing your gift with us all. Hopefully this will open doors to better times for you. I admire your courage to allow your talent to shine. Hugs n' Loves - Paula
  • I finished this drawing of my mom at age 19, yesterday. This picture is most important to me. I will probably have it matted, framed and hang it in my bedroom so I can see her often. When she came to America, many people told her she looked like Ingrid Bergman.

  • I think she's lovely. You've done a wonderful job. O:)
  • Please continue to use your talent! You are awesome! It is good therapy but also something others will offer you work for, which in turn helps you find friends, financial benefits, and contentment to move forward. Let go of your past to enjoy the future! Great work! Please enjoy it and keep up the good work!

    By the way, your mom is beautiful. I miss my mom every day too. Hopefully the picture will bring you peace when you see it daily.

    Take care of yourself! Have a good day!
  • I hope that it somehow helps to fill that void you have felt for so long. She was a lovely lady. You have such an incredible gift, I hope that you continue to use it, if only for your own therapy. Im anxious to see your next sketch, should you decide to share it with us.
    Take care and have a nice weekend. Robin
  • This sketch is of my grandson. My grandson, daughter and I all have a squinty right eye when we smile. It is so funny. My daughter and I also have a small mole at the start of our right eye brow. Grandson doesn't have one, yet anyway. It is interesting how genetics work.

  • :) You are SO talented! Thanks for sharing. I can't draw a straight line so I'm in awe of your talent.

    Keep drawing, take care,

  • Hi there, hope you are feeling better today. You really are very talented, what a wonderful gift! I think you should frame the sketch of your grandson to cherish forever! you could enjoy it yourself or give it to your daughter for a gift from you of her son, how cool is that? Your grandson is adorable! You captured his personality in his eyes and smile....bet he is fun to have around!

  • As soon as I started drawing this portrait, my daughter said she gets it. I really wanted it for myself but she does not have any of my work so I told her she could have it. I have picked up a frame and will go to the frame shop tomorrow to get just the right mat. I didn't know how much she liked it until she asked me to send the pic to her cell phone and she sent it to everyone she knows. I guess that means she likes it a lot.
  • I had to look twice i thought the picture of your dog was a photograph :O , WOW WOW WOW, you have a great talent :? , you have a gift, use it to accomplish what you want in life :) . would you draw my dog? i would happily pay you too :) . keep up the good work >:D< , your grandson is a cutie :)))

    Angie >:D< :H
  • My father was an artist and I know how difficult it is to draw animals and humans. You do a beautiful job and your talent is a rare one.

    Keep it up. You haven't said - are you finding that drawing again is therapeutic for you? Is it helping?
  • Thank you so much. I am getting pleasure out of drawing so far. I had a bit of a pity party a couple days ago when my sister decided she is going to start drawing again too. It was a kind of "steal my thunder why don't ya" moment but I am past that. I am working my way up to painting again and that is not her forte'. I also said to my hubby and daughter, "She isn't as good as I am anyway." It amazed me to hear myself say that, whether true or not. I think I am on the right road with my art anyway. I still have many other depression issues related to my injury and career loss (main problems) but baby steps...
  • I just finished this sketch. It is from a picture of my niece, taken over 23 years ago. It has always been one of my favorite pictures. The flour was definitely a challenge and I had to say "I am done" and quit working on it before I over-worked the paper and damaged it. The photo of the sketch isn't very good as I took it with my husband's phone.

  • :D Again, just a beautiful drawing. Hope you are starting to feel a little better -- it seems that the process of drawing and completing a project would be so fulfilling and satisfying -- I hope it is like that for you -- sending you a hug >:D< you deserve it for such fine work!

    Take care,

  • Well, I entered the sketches of Mom and Ariell in our local fair. I was pleased that each one got a first place ribbon. Now both sketches are on the way to my hometown fair. I thought it would be fun to enter them there as the elderly folks should recognized Mom from when she first arrived from England (1945) and the people my age should remember Ariell as she was not much older than that when they moved away. My hometown is very small, county population of 800, so everyone knows everyone else. I still have an aunt, uncle and their spouses that live there.
  • The sketches are amazing, and should have got 1st prize. Let us know how the local one does. It will be interesting to see how many people remember your mom. I bet you come back with lots more 1st places. I hope that this is something that is helping you. I know it brightends my day by just seeing them!
  • Thank goodness you started to use your amazing talent again. Have been sitting here oohing and aaahing at the incredible gift you have shared with us all. Thank you so very much- Hugs n' Loves - Paula
  • You all have no idea how much you comments mean to me. Without the loving support of my Mom, it is so nice to be appreciated by my cyber spiney friends. I still deal with my depression every day but when I have such wonderful comments it really is a bright spot in my day. :H
  • Have you done one of your daughter? I would think that is something that in time your grandchildren would treasure. Just curious.
  • I love your sketches! Has anyone sent you photos of their family or pets to sketch??? Hint, hint, hint, lol. Would be a great way to earn some extra $$$$.

    Best to you,


  • bewitht JUST awsome drawings!!!!!!Never stop, i also struggle with depression,mostly now because of by bad back,and if I could find one bit of talent like that I would be gratful to be able to put my mind some where besides my pain. Never let your sister take that away from you!!!!Sounds to me like she is very very jelouse of you.I pity someone like herwhen she has her health,physical&mental that she would try to take that away from you.I'm 1000%on your side,your doing a wonderful job!Keep your head held high! You have given me some hope for myself,because right now i still strugle wiht the pity pot.I AM SOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!
  • Sorry for not posting sooner. Both the sketch of my niece and my mom got blue ribbons at my home town fair. The sketch of mom also took Best of Show and got a premium award. I knew people would recognize mom but the very first person I saw asked if I was Mary's daughter. She had worked with my mom for several years at the Gambles store when mom first got here, so she recognized her right away. She had tears in her eyes when she said how much she liked the sketch and how much she missed my mom. Everyone in town liked my mom so much, she was always so sweet and never had an unkind word about anyone.

    An interesting story (at least to me) when I decided I was going to go to another state to go to college, my parents helped me & my daughter move. After we had gotten my furniture into my apartment, we went to a local diner for lunch. Our waitress looked at my mom and asked if we were from a town near my home town. She said that she was from nearby and the waitress said that she knew her from waitressing at the Country Kitchen in the other town. On another day when it was just me at the diner, she told me that she remembered mom because she was the nicest customer she had ever had. Now that is something.

    I am feeling really melancholy tonight, so I really enjoyed sharing that.
  • to hear things about your family from strangers that make you heart feel happy. I have 2 grown children and when people say nice things about them when they were growning up, it makes me feel good. It is always nice to hear warm memories from friends!
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