Use My Own Medicine


Day 1_(c)Tish McAllise Sjoberg

This morning I woke feeling anxious and blue. Which to some degree seems too opposite to live together in the same body. Anxiety feels like it runs FAST in my belly, and the blues seem like a SLOWING of my life force. But here they were, both greeting me at the door when I woke. I learned many years ago from my teacher and mentor Jael Greenleaf that an important tool to stay out of depression and anxiety is to get up as soon as you wake up. It is in those early, just woken, vulnerable moments between sleep and awake that our gremlins can start a bonfire in our brain. Today, I did not heed that advice, thinking I wanted to try to go back to sleep, just for a few minutes. Not good.

When I did venture up I had the thought, “You better scribble. Use your own medicine.” I got dressed, made my coffee, did the dishes, fed my furry friends, and was ready to do the drudgery of the morning and check emails when the voice went off again,”You better scribble.” I had recently bought a new scribble journal (5.5″ x 8″ hard-bound sketchbook) so I grabbed it, tested a couple pens near by to see which felt like the right pen for the scribble I needed to express and went to it. The first expression in a new book is always a little hard for me, the desire for it to look good came up. But once I got my pen on the paper I was able to let most of that go.

I love repetition when I scribble. I matched the speed and the line quality to the anxiety I was feeling in my belly and I was off and running. Did it help? I noticed I began to breathe deeper. It started with a big sigh and then followed with deep breaths that happened on there own. I was breathing. So yes, it helped.

When I had the desire to start a scribble blog, I was not thinking I would start with a day where I was not at my best. (Hey, just like the new sketch, that desire to make it “look good.”) That is the scribble for you, it is improvisational, it can’t be planned, it is a response to what is.

Today my scribble told me that I can breathe. That is big.

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