Available Balance
Tips to keep Anxiety at bay
April 3, 2017
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My Anixety

 

I am a current college student who’s not mentally stable by any means. I operate on few hours of sleep, I eat only if convenient and I try to keep my obsessive worrying at bay. I’m currently on 50mg of Zoloft and something similar to Valium for panic attacks and still I am very anxious in day to day life.

 

And so, here are some tips that have benefitted me for as long as I remember.

 

List of things to do instead of worrying

  1. Colouring in/drawing.
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Be more positive… (My Art @plaidbowtiesart on instagram)

I’ve found that my stress deteriorates very thoroughly when I express my feelings through art. Anyone who doesn’t feel like they’re able to draw (wrong, but that’s okay) you can always colour and find pleasure in that! Those anti stress books for colouring are 100% useful.

  1. Listen to a new album of music

I’ve found that finding a new singer and just lapsing through all of their music (whether pop, country or classic rock) really gives me a feel for the music and a taste of the author.

  1. Read!

If you’re into some fanfiction, romance novels or just about any fiction novel can calm me down. It clears your head and gives you something else to focus on. It can make you easily detach from life in a soothing way. (Also, TV shows work too!)

  1. Make calming foods

I’ve found that tea and toast are my comfort foods that don’t cost too much. Don’t get me wrong though, Mcdonald’s can cheer up anyone just as well. It’s really about eating something that makes you feel good (and making sure you eat. Letting your anxiety control your life is not good.)

  1. Take a breather

You may think it’s big, it’s a huge problem that needs to be solved right now. It’s most probably not. Life fixes itself a lot of the times, your anxiety is lying to you and you are not dying, You are okay, failing a class isn’t great but it’s not the end of the world. You will be okay.

 

Everyone’s anxiety is different

 

If you find yourself constantly down, that you’re too stuck inside of your head it’s always helpful to see a psychologist. If you don’t want to do that there are sites that let you vent about your problems in a safe environment.

 

See: Blahtherapy, and 7 cups of tea.

 

If you want to rant to me, that’s always safe and okay (you can do that in the comments or message me here on LB, I know how dealing with an anxiety disorder can get. It confuses you, gets you delusional and can even make you spiral into depression.

 

You are not alone.

The reality of Cegep (French Canadian’s “college”)
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First of all: What is Cegep?

Cegep is the Quebec equivalent of 12th grade and college. Most Cegep programs last 2-3 years and you leave school with a College diploma (DEC or a Technique (which is an actual job)) Cegep isn’t free but it’s not expensive either, each of my sessions cost about 1000$, 300$ for school fees and the rest for my books. Most students have about 4-6 sessions, 2 each year.

What is the life of College/Cegep students?

When people laugh about how college students are dying inside, emotionally unstable and poor- they’re not wrong. I’ve made ramen in the schools microwave more than once and have seen many students drink energy drinks like it’s water. We have essays, papers, formats and chapters in awful textbooks to read.

I’m currently in a social science program that lasts 2 years, my best friend is in a 3 year nursing program that leads her directly to the job market. The important thing (like everything else in life) is choosing a program that’s right for you. Social sciences focus on humanities and culture, English language programs focus on languages and arts.

I personally chose the Social Science program to not disappoint my parents too much. Although, later in life I’d like to continue on the art path. Hopefully something along the lines of tattoo artist or concept artist. Maybe both.

How does the classroom setting differ from high school? 

College/cegep vastly differs from high school. Us college students have classes that we actually choose and want to have, we also can skip or miss these classes at our own expense. We have more responsibilities and are in charge of our futures. We’re on average 18-19 year old’s ready to have fun and study hard (and die a little.)


I hope that educated you a bit on how schooling works here in Canada (or at least in Quebec.) To check out my last post: How to make money online as an artist

Have a nice day:)

I think I’m falling in love
mystic purple fairy

Love VS Infatuation

For the first time ever, this doesn’t feel toxic. It’s not an obsession.

I always thought that my crushes were normal. I found the prettiest person I saw and I wished they were mine. OPALsBut that’s not normal.For most of the people I crushed on in high school, I had never spoken to and I would obsess constantly over them for years. And to think, they were people that I knew very little of! I thought that craving someone -like you crave a celebrity- was love. I was suffering from infatuations.

In my defence, I was a little delusional. My generalised anxiety has been known to alter my perspective on reality and it turned my normal people crush anxiety into heavy duty uncontrollable anxiety. Making me believe that you could be in love with someone without knowing them.

And I didn’t know the difference between love and an infatuation. I thought they were equivalent. When in reality love is pure and caring, an infatuation is toxic and obsessive. When you’re falling in love with someone, you know them and it creeps up on you. That’s exactly what’s happening to me.

For the first time ever, I’m falling in love with someone. Someone who I have been friends with for almost a year and up until recently never saw anything romantic with. However, now, we talk and have nice and honest conversations. His funny and quirky jokes become my favourite and I knew he meant a lot to me but I hadn’t realised how much until recently.

mystic purple fairyAnd now, it’s weird but I see him in a new light. It sounds kinda insane but he was a close and perfect friend before and now he glows. His presence fills a room and his kindness brings me joy. I only wish I had more time to get to know him more deeply and maybe progress this into something more.

But alas, he’s moving and I’m staying. And so, the first honest love (that wasn’t laced with poison) I’ve ever had will vanish into thin air without anything changing. Except, it has changed my perspective on love itself. I know now of a much healthier version of love.

You will not love your significant other(s) in the same ways as you do your family, but the love is the same. It’s the pure and unforgettable bond that grows that is love. Knowing a person, regardless of how they look. And loving them, regardless of their monetary value.

All images are my drawings which can be seen on my instagram and facebook page. (Feel free to follow these!) And I own the rights to them.

How to Make Money as an Artist Online
March 19, 2017
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Pink lady- mug

As I explored in an earlier post (See: The Life of a Starving Artist) Making money as an artist is no easy task and it sure as hell won’t pay your rent any time soon. (As all of you are aware, making money with writing isn’t easy either.) However, if you’re dedicated and ready to put in some work, making some spare change for coffee isn’t completely off the table.

SOCIETY 6 (OR REDBUBBLE & ZAZZLE)

Society6 (or S6) is a site where you can place your art on articles of clothing, phone cases and various home objects. 

I’ve currently used Society 6 for about 8 months and I’ve made 4$ on it. No, it’s not big. Yes it’s barely anything, but it is progress. It’s being able to make money with art, which is something that has never made me money before.

You can check out my store here.

Alternatives to Society 6: Redbubble (It lets you make stickers too), Zazzle (Not too educated on this one)

DISCLAIMER: None of these links are paying me to promote them. None of them are affiliated in any way, shape or form. I’m just being honest and letting you know what I’m currently doing.

(Below are some pictures of the people that have bought my art for reference, they’ve always turned out very nicely.)

COMMISSIONS

The other “how I’ve made a few bucks with art” is by making commissions.

And making commissions is a two step process. First, you need to be “good enough” for commissions, or have a style/something you can offer to people. I’ve currently made a lot more money (but still not “day job worthy’) with commissions.

And the second step is to “put yourself out there.” You need to post that you’re open for commissions on all your social media sites (IMPORTANT: with examples of what you offer.) In general, the rule is to not price yourself too low, but not too high either. You’re trying to break out, but you’re not trying to sell yourself short. 

I’ve some examples of commission portraits that I’ve done, these were all done after someone sent me a picture of themselves to do the drawing with.

Also, here is an example of my “commissions are open!” post.

TO CONCLUDE

The worst thing you can do as an artist is getting your hopes up. It’s important to realise that breaking out and making a career out of art is easier now more than ever, but it’s still one of the most difficult roads to take.

Not expecting much leads you to being pleasantly surprised.

Sue

 

 

I Have Anxiety (and a LOT of it)
March 19, 2017
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creepy lady
WHAT IS ANXIETY?

To be brief, anxiety is fear. It’s the butterflies one feels in the pit of their stomach right before they approach their crush. It’s the nervousness that you feel when you’re in front of the class and your palms are so sweaty you’re certain they’ll slide off of your arms.

Honestly, anxiety is a necessary fight of flight self defence mechanism.

However, people with anxiety disorders have a self defence and fear driven instinct… on over drive.

THE BASIC ANXIETY DISORDER: GENERALISED ANXIETY

In general, the most common anxiety disorder is the generalised anxiety disorder. GAD for short. It’s characterised by constant and obsessive like worrying.

People with GAD are so far in their head that they can’t hear you telling them they’re being irrational.

It’s a worrying that can result in paranoid like feelings, delusions, being constantly on edge and higher stress levels than average. (Among many other side effects.) To paraphrase, GAD is constant anxiety for no particular reason.

It’s the “bad feeling” in the back of your head making you think about all the worst case scenarios.

OTHER ANXIETY DISORDERS

There are a vast number of anxiety disorders. They all have different names with different symptoms and if you’d like me to elaborate on them in a different post I’d be glad to do so, but we’ll go over the basics.

To name a few other anxiety disorders: social phobia, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. These are all mental disorders that at their core are spawned from anxiety.

And they’re all very valid and important to take note of. Anxiety isn’t something that goes away. If you break your knee you need to heal it, this is the same principle.

MY ANXIETY DISORDER (WHY WE NEED TO KILL THE STIGMA)

Recently I’ve been diagnosed with generalised anxiety, social phobia, agoraphobia with a panic disorder. It’s quite a mouthful.

Sadly, even though the diagnosis and treatment is recent, I’ve been living with this problem my whole life. To say the truth, I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t constantly worrying about everything.

Throughout my high school, I’ve never once eaten in the cafeteria. I’ve even had anxiety attacks in classrooms. Raising my hand in class to ask a question would give me heart palpitations. There were many people who I just couldn’t talk with because my anxiety would get so bad I’d feel like I was dying.

And I thought it was normal because nobody in my family ever told me other wise.

You guessed it, it wasn’t normal.

To kill the stigma of having a mental disorder would allow other people to realise that they need help and it would get them help. I don’t agree with the trendy “haha I’m mentally ill” joke that’s going around but normalising and accepting medication and help would simplify so many things.

A mental illness needs to be healed, not concealed.

If you could do me a favour, don’t ever tell anyone that “just going outside” will solve everything. Especially if you don’t know what they’re dealing with inside in the first place.

Sue

The Reality of the Starving Artist
March 19, 2017
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Hello! This is my first Literacybase post! Leave advice in the comments!
This is about my struggles as a "starving artist."
I USED TO BELIEVE THAT BECOMING AN ARTIST WAS EASY.

Your job would be an artist. Just like your best friend who wants to be a nurse. You’d put the effort into your career and you’d make it. You’d wake up, do your work and create art (like other people do their work) and then you’d collect a pay check.

But that’s not the case.

When I wake up, the only thing I feel is the crippling realisation that I am completely and utterly financially unstable. The only thing I’m good at, the only thing I’m passionate about is the one thing that makes absolutely no money. (Well that and a philosophy degree. But that’s a whole OTHER can of worms.)

A career in the arts is no easy task. If it’s your second choice, then it’s never going to evolve the way you want it to, at the pace you want it to because you will never be able to put 100% of your effort into something that doesn’t allow you to pay rent.

And that’s not even counting all the doubt and scepticism that everybody in your life will have about your career choice. Conversations at Easter will go like this:

Oh hello Sue! So nice to see you! What’s going on in your life :)” Will say my aunt, meaning well.

“Hi! Nothing new really…” I’ll awkwardly try to evade the conversation all together.

The conversation will steer into the “do you have a boyfriend territory” and eventually she’ll get tired of my unsatisfactory love life. She’ll then ask what I want to be working as in a few years.

AND IT’LL GET SILENT.

Because I want to say that I’ll be working as an artist. But I can’t say that without looking like I know nothing of real life. That I know nothing of taxes, rent and bills. Because art isn’t a job. “It’s a hobby.”

BASICALLY

It’s frustrating.

I am doing my best to grow as an artist but no progress is being made monetary wise. It makes me feel hopeless. Afraid that I’m gonna stay in the 90% of artists that work minimum wage unhappily their whole lives.

And I’d love to be a concept artist or a tattoo artist, but  it takes time and sacrifice to pursue art. The people around me don’t understand the risk and reward. So for all you artsy folk out there. Hold on, the starving artist trope is the most difficult one, but it is not unbeatable.

For now though, I think it’s safe to say that I’m currently avoiding conversations with extended family about it.

Mary

A recent drawing of mine.