Nighttime Mania: Rainbow Kaleidoscope

People with mental illnesses often see things other people don’t see. What they see or experience could be nearly anything. Mania doesn’t necessarily mean people see things that aren’t there, but in cases where mania is part of a different illness it can easily occur that way.

Mania is different for different people - this particular experience literally included rainbows all over the room, as displayed in the interpretive sketch.

Nighttime Mania:

One night in March, I was manic and unable to sleep. Having just started new medication recently, we were still adjusting the dosage. I have a friend who works nights, and thus is usually awake at odd hours. Sometimes he gets weird texts from me … such as the one he got this particular night:

“It’s back ward s the rainbow room but head spinning kaleidoscope s don’t spin heads only rainbows.”

Yes, the words were spaced like that.

To explain what the text meant, I drew an interpretation of the visuals I saw that night. My head had felt like it was spinning, and a kaleidoscope of rainbows covered the surfaces in the darkened room. Although I was literally seeing these rainbows, people who have seen the sketch say it looks like how mania is described as being (not seeing).

Nighttime Mania, the kaleidoscope I saw in the darkened room.
Nighttime Mania, the kaleidoscope I saw in the darkened room.
A Word of Caution:

Mania can be (and probably is) experienced differently by everyone, but it can be very interesting. Personally I find it quite fun – although that doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing. The “fun” of mania can cause problems too – problems with making bad decisions that seem okay in the moment, or with acting in a way that we normally wouldn’t. There’s a whole host of things that could happen. We have to be careful. The person best equipped to give reliable advice is your doctor – please listen to what they have to say.

Happy Friday!

XOXO, Nicole

Wall Hanging Earring Holder

When my husband and I moved away from our first home (and first city) as a married couple, our family came and helped us pack a truck to make the 7 hr drive to our temporary home (my husband’s parent’s house). Although we all remember packing my earring holder (it had nearly been forgotten, so it stands out in our memories) somehow it vanished at the temporary residence. Although I have searched frequently for it, the earring holder has not yet turned up.

Confession time: sometimes, instead of digging through my jewelry box to find earrings, I go without. It's simply less hassle! I love this wall hanging earring holder because it looks nice, and I can see (and get to!) all of my earrings with very little effort.

Since there were originally two earring holders given to my parents years ago, I was able to consult the one remaining earring holder (my mom’s) to decide how to create a new one.

Material/Equipment List for Entire Project:

*Note* the materials/equipment is also broken down in each section, this is just a cumulative list of everything used in the project. 

Materials (and prices I paid):

  • dowel rod, 24″ long or 2- 12″ dowel rods (given to me free)
    • can be bigger/smaller depending on desired size of project
  • 4 decorative ends (Cost Plus World Market, .50c a piece)
    • (type depends on whether using drilling method or not – I used “drilling method” and cabinet knobs. See method for notes on possible ends)
  • 36″ x 84″ vinyl porch screen replacement kit (cheapest option) (Home Depot, $10 – estimated cost per one earring holder, .72c)
  • bow wire or twine (Wal-Mart, $1.50)



*NOTE* I did not purchase anything in this section for this project, and as most are common household items I did not count them towards the price. 

  • ruler
  • pencil
  • hand saw
  • drill (or glue, if not using drilling method)
  • two drill bits (for pilot hole, skip if not using drilling method)
  • scissors, for cutting vinyl
  • chalk marker (easiest to wash off)
  • 3″ upholstery needle (or other needle with large eye)
  • thumb tack or small nail 
Some assembled supplies for the earring holder.
A few assembled supplies.

There is a method that involves a small amount of simple wood work, and a method that does not need wood work (other than cutting the dowel rod to size). My dad helped me, and we did the drilling method.

Sawing Only, No Drilling Method:
*NOTE* If using cabinet knobs, skip to “drilling method”.

Materials/Equipment used in this section:

  • ruler or tape measure
  • pencil (to mark where to cut)
  • hand saw
  • 24″ dowel rod (longer/shorter is fine, just change other sizes to match)
  • 4 decorative ends (can be homemade or maybe curtain rod ends)

The dowel rod still needs to be cut to have two pieces the desired length (mine were both cut to 12″ long), but this is easily done with a hand saw and takes only a short time. Since I started with a long dowel rod, when it was cut I had an extra piece. You can save the extra for another project, but it isn’t necessary here. Measure the length you want with the ruler, mark it, and use the hand saw to cut it at the mark.

In this method, you would use an end piece on the dowel rod that fits snuggly over without needing holes drilled. I’m not sure precisely what to use as we did not do this method, but you could get really creative with it – if you like to work with clay, you could even shape ends to fit over the dowel rod and glue them on. My dad suggested that decorative ends designed for curtain rods may work as well. DO NOT GLUE ANYTHING YET! (If you do glue at this point, it will make the remaining project more difficult but not impossible).

Drilling Method:

Materials/Equipment used in this section:

  • ruler or tape measure
  • pencil (to mark where to cut)
  • hand saw
  • 24″ dowel rod (longer/shorter is fine, just change other sizes to match)
  • 4 decorative cabinet knobs
  • drill
  • 2 drill bits, one small and one size of screw on knob
Cabinet knob used as decorative end
Here is one of the cabinet knobs I used. The screw is part of the knob.

Don’t let the fact that there is drilling involved keep you from this project! Wood tools make me very nervous so I asked my dad for his help, but he said it was easy and he was able to finish while we talked. It took him less than 10 minutes to saw the rod to the right lengths and drill all four holes.

Prep The Dowel Rod:

Cutting the rod is simple. You need two pieces of rod the same length. Since I started with a long dowel rod, when it was cut I had an extra piece. You can save the extra for another project, but it isn’t necessary here. Measure the length you want with the ruler, mark it, and use the hand saw to cut it at the mark.

For the decorative ends on my dowel rods, I used cabinet knobs that were designed to look like sunflowers. Since they were made for cabinet doors, they had a screw attached – hence the drilling into the rods. The knobs came with nuts attached, but since they were unnecessary for the project my dad saved them for any project that might come up later.

Time To Drill:

We made a pilot hole to keep the dowel rod from cracking. Starting with the smallest drill bit, find the center of the dowel rod end and slowly drill a hole. It’s best to go slow and start with a very small drill bit. After the hole is drilled, take a larger drill bit (drill bit size will depend on the size of the screw attached to your knob) and drill it into the hole just created with the smallest drill bit. This widens the hole enough to insert the screw.

Although you could attempt to skip the small drill bit and only use the large, this increases the risk of damaging the rod. In the end, there should be four holes – one on either end of each of the two dowel rods. You should be able to screw the knobs into these holes, with them fitting snugly enough that no glue is necessary. Even if you wish to glue the knobs, wait until the end. DO NOT GLUE AT THIS POINT. It will make the rest of the project more difficult (but not impossible).

Knob being screwed into rod.
Visual of knob being screwed into dowel rod.
A Bit of Cutting & Stitching:

Materials used in this section:

  • 36″ x 84″ vinyl screen replacement kit
  • ruler
  • chalk marker
  • scissors
  • bow wire
  • 3″ upholstery needle (necessary for larger eye)
Vinyl Porch Screen Replacement Kit for earring holder
Vinyl Screening – Dimensions are 36″ x 84″

Now for the easy part! This part takes more patience, but it’s a easier to correct any errors here … cutting & stitching! The vinyl has to be cut to the appropriate size, since it was designed for a porch. If you don’t mind having a few scraps of vinyl afterwards, it is easier to cut off a bigger than necessary portion of vinyl so you have a smaller piece to work with. If scraps aren’t desirable, just measure the vinyl to fit while it is still attached to the roll.

It would have been preferable to have a longer piece of screen for my final project, but cutting mistakes made my project slightly smaller. If you want to prepare for potential errors (such as cutting crookedly), then you can cut your project slightly bigger than desired in order to leave room for trimming. Also keep in mind that both ends of the screen will be rolled over in the finished project, making it shorter. I recommend planning for a longer project than intended, and using the ruler and chalk marker to mark where to cut. You can easily wipe the chalk marker off of the screen with a damp cloth afterwards.

The dimensions for my cut screen were: 12″ x  18″.


When the screen is cut, it’s time to move to stitching. Bow wire proved quite difficult to thread into the needle, but I thought the finished product was worth the extra effort. That is entirely up to you.

Finished stitches using bow wire.
Finished stitches using bow wire.

Using the longer portion (18″) of the screen as the sides of the project, fold over the bottom (12″) of the screen one and a quarter inches. Use a ruler and draw a line with the chalk marker to indicate where the fold should stop to guide you as you stitch. You want the dowel rod to slide in and out easily, but not be too tight or too loose. Knot the end of the wire, and with the threaded needle start your stitches three squares down and three squares in from the cut end of the vinyl. (You will be using the third square.) Try to keep your knot on the same side as the folded over vinyl (the back side). If a square happens to be broken or break at some point, starting at this point will make sure your knot stays secure in spite of it.

Stitch and Knot:

To make the stitching go faster (but still look nice), I put the wire through the first hole, skipped two holes, and then put the wire back through the third hole (not counting the first hole). Continue in this pattern until you get close to the end of the vinyl, and end your stitches at least one hole (preferably two) from the end. (How many holes from the end depends on the dimensions of your vinyl.) Knot the end of your wire (try to keep the knot on the back side) and cut off the excess. You should have a kind of long, thin pocket for the dowel rod.

Making sure the vinyl is folded over on the same (back) side of the earring holder, repeat the stitching process above for the opposite end of the vinyl.

Earring Holder Assembly Time:

Materials used in this section:

  • extra bow wire
  • stitched 12″ x 18″ vinyl screening
  • 2- 12″ dowel rods
  • 4 decorative cabinet knobs
  • glue (optional, I did not use glue)
  • thumb tack or small nail

Home stretch! This post was extra long, but that was because I wanted to make sure everything was clearly explained. This part is a breeze!

Choose which end you want to be the bottom, and slide a dowel rod through the fold. Attach decorative ends. If you don’t glue them on (whether or not glue is necessary depends on the ends you use) then you can take the dowel rods off later and paint them. I left mine the original color and prefer it that way, but it is nice to be able to change the color whenever you want.

Sunflower design on cabinet knob.
Design on decorative knob. Aren’t sunflowers beautiful?!

Slide the second dowel rod through the other fold. Since I used knobs that screw into the rod, I was able to hide the knots where I tied the hanger between the knobs and the rod. To do that, screw the knob partially into the rod. Tie the desired length of wire in a loose knot around the end of the rod, and then carefully slip it off onto the screw to finish the knot. I kept mine loose (not tight on the screw at all) so it would be easy to disassemble if I ever wanted to change the knobs or paint the rods. Do the same thing on the other end with the other knob.

If you chose the “no drill” method, you can simply leave the knot visible on the rod, or make it a bow on either end. I debated with tassels where each knot would be – have fun with it!

Enjoy Your Crafty Skills:

Hang your new earring holder on the wall, and enjoy your hard work by slipping some earrings on it! You put the post or wire of the earring through the front, and with your hand behind the holder you can slip the back on the earring on the other side to keep it in place.

Wall Hanging Earring Holder

Hope you love your earring holder as much as I love mine!

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Wall Art

It’s been said before how crafts like this Wibbly Wobbly wall art are good distractions for people with mental illnesses (or other stress). Although this post is a bit late for Christmas (it was originally intended to be a Christmas present, and I didn’t want the recipient to see it early) it can still be a birthday present – or a present to yourself …

This idea was based on a picture I saw online that said, “whatever, I’m late anyways”. The idea was great, and I wanted to do something with it for a present. When my husband and I were discussing presents one day and I showed him the picture, he (jokingly) suggested “wibbly wobbly timey wimey” (from Doctor Who, if you aren’t familiar). Since my sister loves Doctor Who, and both her birthday and Christmas were coming up, it was settled.

Birthdays are always coming up and fans of The Doctor are everywhere! This is a piece of wall art I made for an upcoming family birthday. It was fun and easy to make, so here's how it's done.

    • 22 in x 28 in canvas (or larger if you want to do the whole clock) – I got mine at Michael’s. Look for sales, I got mine in a 2 day sale for 70% off.

22"x28" canvas

    • 250 ml tube of paint (choose a lighter color so the letters and numbers stand out) – I used bright aqua green acrylic paint from Michael’s. The size I purchased does not appear to be available online, but it was $11. I recommend looking for a sale.

250 ml bright aqua green acrylic paint

    • 2 – 12 ml tubes of paint (choose a dark color, I used black and violet. You could also just use one color.) I already had mine from other projects. I only added the size to let you know that it doesn’t take much – the size I used was more than enough. It also appears the size I used is only available in sets of several tubes. In-store, Michael’s has a large selection paints similar to the one I linked to for .50 – $1.00.
    • letters and numbers (I used a wooden 250 piece set from Michael’s, which has plenty of letters to spell “wibbly wobbly timey wimey” as well as all of the necessary numbers for the clock). You can also use stickers, or paint yours on.

250 piece wooden number and letter set

    • clock hands (I got mine from Wish – if you go that route be warned that shipping usually takes about a month. They are very cheap, though, and I couldn’t find them anywhere else, so plan ahead. You could also paint these on if you wanted).

3 piece clock hands from Wish

Other Materials (You Probably Already Have):
  • 2 paint brushes (you’ll want one that’s at least an inch wide, and a small one for painting the letters.)
  • paper plate or paint tray
  • protection for whatever surface you’ll be working on (I use a large piece of paper that came as stuffing in a package I got in the mail.)
  • wax paper (optional) – this is good for setting the letters on while they dry. They come off really easily after drying.
  • hot glue gun
  • hot gun glue sticks
How To:

Using the 250 ml paint, coat the entire front and sides of the canvas. After it dries, paint another coat, even if you don’t think it needs it – you’ll be happy about this later when your project looks great! It’s important to wait for the first coat to dry before applying the second coat so you can get proper coverage.

If you bought wooden letters and numbers, or pieces that need to be painted – with the two 12 ml tubes of paint, cover the front and sides of each of your letters and numbers. Do not paint the back – it is unnecessary since the pieces will be glued to a canvas. I used black on the numbers and violet on the letters. Only one coat was necessary. Lay the pieces on wax paper to dry.

Painting the wooden numbers.

Numbers to Paint:
  • (1) – #0
  • (5) – #1
  • (2) – #2
  • (1 EACH) – #’s 3 through 9
Letters to Paint (spells “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey”):
  • (4) – B
  • (2) – E
  • (3) – I
  • (2) – L
  • (2) – M
  • (1) – O
  • (1) – T
  • (3) – W
  • (4) – Y

Of course, check my figures to make sure you have the correct amount of each letter and number. I’m only human, and do make mistakes. 

Once your canvas and pieces are dry, arrange the pieces on the canvas. Make sure you lay out the clock pieces too, so you can put the numbers the proper distance away. You want to get an idea of the look you are going for before you attach them. I arranged mine like this:

Unfinished canvas

This is the unfinished canvas. After this photo was taken, I decided to put a number 1 on the top left, as if part of the 11 was still in place on the clock. You can arrange yours however you want. If you wanted, you could even do the full clock (you would need a larger canvas) and have various pieces missing from the clock and either falling or lying beneath the clock (as seen on this canvas).

After you find the look you want, it’s time to break out your hot glue gun and hot glue sticks.

Hot Glue Time:

I recommend leaving the pieces in place, and picking them up one at a time to apply the hot glue. After applying the glue, put the piece back in place firmly, and then move on to the next piece. That way, you don’t have to mark the canvas for positions and you can still have a good idea of where the piece goes. It won’t be in exactly the same place as before (unless you have a really good memory and can place a piece precisely on the first try) but it will still look great. It might even look better than how you had it arranged before!

Don’t glue the clock hands yet – work on the numbers before that. It is a good idea to glue certain clock numbers first – for instance, on my clock I glued the numbers 12, 3, and 6 first. These numbers determine the positions of the other numbers. Even in cases where the numbers are falling, it is good to have these base numbers down as a marker. Always keep in mind the length of your clock hands (you can probably trim them if absolutely necessary, but be careful not to leave any sharp edges).

Don’t Glue the Clock Hands Yet:

After you have glued all of your numbers, bend the NOT YET GLUED clock hands (GENTLY!) so that they come out from the canvas. If you have already glued the hands, you can either leave them unbent, or attempt to very carefully bend them. Bending them after they are glued is simply a little more difficult – but bending adds to the unbalanced (wibbly wobbly) look of the clock.

If your clock hands are from Wish, then they will fit together with the hour hand on the bottom, the minute hand in the middle, and the second hand on the top. After placing them together, glue the underside of the hour hand where the all join. The hands from Wish have a small metal piece here, and if you apply plenty of glue it will help hold all three pieces together. You can also glue the places near the metal where the hands overlap. The glue that overflows from that section will be used to fasten the hands to the canvas, so after you glue them together, carefully place them in position on the clock.

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey – Finished Product:

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Wall Art

It took me 3 days to finish this entire piece. Most of that time was waiting for the paint on the various pieces to dry. It’s not hard at all, and was enjoyable to work on.

Have fun!

Self Therapy: Avoiding Self-Harm (Stop Me)

Art, in all its forms, is amazing. You can express yourself through a pencil and paper, or through paints, or through clay. If you have a mental illness, then there is a whole other side you can reflect in your art, an understanding that everyday people don’t have. There are so many options. One could sit and list options for hours and still miss different forms of art. A great thing about art, is that it is a great way to express yourself. If you are feeling low (or having bad thoughts) you can pass them onto the paper or whichever medium you like and stop them from intruding in your head. Don’t think that every work has to be a masterpiece, or because you aren’t creatively inclined that art can’t help. If you give art a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised.

That was what I was attempting to achieve with this Stop Me sketch.

As someone who struggles not to self-harm, coping skills keep me on the right track. I love art, and sketched 'Stop Me' to help distract from the urges.

Trigger Warning: This sketch may be triggering to those who self-harm.

At the time this sketch was created, I had recently gotten out of the hospital (it was a 5 month stay) and was living in a new facility. I was homeless, and it had been a long, hard year. Everything was uncertain. With a history of self-harm, standing on such fragile ground was triggering in and of itself. Rather than self-harm, I poured those desires onto my sketch pad and created this sketch.

As someone who struggles not to self-harm, coping skills keep me on the right track. I love art, and sketched 'Stop Me' to help distract from the urges.

If you or someone you know is struggling with urges to self-harm, there are many outlets to express yourself that don’t leave a scar.

The butterfly project is fairly popular, and involves drawing a butterfly on your body where you want to cut. You can read more about it at Recover Your Life. On the link they also suggest a great alternative instead of drawing a butterfly, and even an addition to drawing a butterfly so it lasts longer. Check it out!

Some other ideas to stop self-harming:
  • Create a ‘love’ jar (This would be for someone you know who self-harms):
    • Collect love notes or nice comments from friends and family of the person who self-harms, put them in a jar, and give them to the person. Tell them that whenever they want to self-harm, pull a note out of the jar and read it. Then they can remember how worthwhile they are, and how much everyone loves them.


  • Sketch or create art in some form:
    • This is what I did above. You can take whatever you’re feeling, and express it in a tangible, non-self-harm way.


  • Listen to positive music:
    • Although it will be difficult, avoid sad or aggressive music. It will most likely make the desire to self-harm even worse. Try to listen to music that is positive or uplifting.


Search engines or sites like Pinterest can also provide great ideas on what to do when the urge to self-harm strikes. You can do this!


Disclaimer: I do not support or encourage self-harm or any form of intentional injury to anyone or anything. If you self-harm or are considering self-harm, please seek professional assistance. I am not a mental health professional and do not offer medical advice. If you are considering suicide, please get help immediately. The National Suicide Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, everyday.

National Suicide Lifeline #: 1-800-273-8255
H. (n.d.). The Butterfly Project [Web log post]. Retrieved September 1, 2016, from

Being Productive: Water Bottle Fish

Sometimes, having a mental illness keeps people from being productive. Symptoms and doctors visits and life in general is so overwhelming that it seems like nothing gets done. This is a really easy fish craft that doesn’t take much concentration or energy – but can help someone who is struggling feel more accomplished.

How it Started:

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are super creative. They are usually in charge of the crafts at Vacation Bible School (VBS) at our church. VBS this year was Under the Sea, so of course they needed some animals that live in the sea! Thus, they came up with these water bottle fishes.

My really creative in-laws were decorating for an Under the Sea VBS and came up with these fish. They are simple and easy to make, and really cute! Besides, what sea is complete without fish? VBS, mermaid party, or any other water decorations wouldn't be complete without fish like these.


They are really cute, and seem pretty easy to make. My sister-in-law came up with the idea and also made all of the featured fish – I asked for her permission to post them here.

My really creative in-laws were decorating for an Under the Sea VBS and came up with these fish. They are simple and easy to make, and really cute! Besides, what sea is complete without fish? VBS, mermaid party, or any other water decorations wouldn't be complete without fish like these.

The fish above was made from a mini water bottle.

How To:

Paint the water bottle your chosen color, squish the end of the bottle if you want, and glue on fins with hot glue. The fins can be foam with paint or sharpie lines (seen above) or construction paper.

If you have a different idea, go for it! The idea is not to be stuck in a mold, but to use your own creativity.

My really creative in-laws were decorating for an Under the Sea VBS and came up with these fish. They are simple and easy to make, and really cute! Besides, what sea is complete without fish? VBS, mermaid party, or any other water decorations wouldn't be complete without fish like these.

This fish was made from a juice bottle – you don’t have to use only water bottles! Get creative! We had a salad dressing bottle that we thought would make a good puffer fish (it hasn’t been made yet, though).

So if you’re having some kind of party that involves a water theme, or maybe you’re having an Under the Sea VBS too – try these fish! Everyone will love them.

Self Therapy: Light-Up Flower Decorations

Mental illness (of course) comes with far too many symptoms, and if you are on psychiatric medicines, then you probably have side effects too. When symptoms get bad or you are stuck in your thoughts, it can be helpful to do something distracting. Crafts are great for this, because they involve thinking about what you are doing – not just mindlessly performing tasks. These flower decorations are easy, and yet still require enough attention to be able to distract one from what might be bothering them.

The fake flowers you can buy at craft stores are pretty, but it’s nice to spruce them up a little bit too. After acquiring some battery operated tea lights, I decided to make flower decorations out of them.

Do you need an interesting complement to your centerpiece? Are you in need of a simple craft to do? Maybe you just want to make a picnic special. Whatever your reason, these flowers are super easy to make and look pretty, too!


Time to make decorations:

The ‘doing’ part is really simple. Take the petals and leaves off the stems (fake flowers are what you want, so they don’t die) and hot glue them onto the candles. Make sure you cut a small hole in the bottom so you can turn the tea lights on when you’re finished making them (and off again later).

Note that different flowers come off the stems differently. For me, some of the flowers had a plastic piece I just had to peel off each petal. The others had a three layer plastic piece – I had to pull the entire flower off, then pull the top piece off, separate the two layers of petal, then remove the plastic between the petals and the one beneath. It sounds like a lot, it really isn’t, though. It just takes a lot of words to explain.

I hot glued the petals on the bottom of the candle (avoiding the on-off switch) and on the sides so you wouldn’t really see the candle (didn’t really work on the red flower – it had two layer petals and they were shorter than the purple).

For a little extra pizazz I glued the leaves from the flower stems beneath the new flower-candles.

These are really cute to use as decorations around a centerpiece.

Light Up Flower decorations look really nice around a centerpiece.

Have fun!

Self Therapy: Strong – Not Beaten Yet

Despite being unable to locate a reliable statistic estimating the percentage of people who have a mental illness and also self harm, I can tell you that self harm is something I struggle with. In addition, I have met several other people (usually in the hospital with me) who have a mental illness and self harm, as well. Regardless of self harming behavior (or lack thereof), we’ve probably all heard the recommendations to draw on the places we would cut. That is essentially what I was doing with Strong – Not Beaten Yet. When we create art rather than hurt ourselves, we are sort of giving ourselves therapy.

If you’re reading All Behind A Smile, chances are you or someone you know suffer from a mental illness. So you probably know how hard certain days can be, sometimes for unpredictable reasons. You know how hard it is to be strong.

Having bad habits and trying to stop typically leads to days when you are tempted. When I was tempted to cut again after stopping, I decided to turn to drawing something other than butterflies to help myself resist the temptation.

Focusing on cutting in particular, when a day arrives when I’m tempted more than usual, I draw on my arm instead of cut. I used to draw butterflies – the technique where every butterfly is someone you love and each cut you make kills a butterfly. There’s probably more to it than that, but that’s not what this is about.

This particular day, I decided to draw things that represented problems I suffered from myself. With some permanent markers in hand, I got busy ..

Almost all of the colors used are related to The Bracelet Project. I’m not sure where it originated.

Breathe (in black, self harm)

is to remind myself to take a breath and try and get through the temptation.

NEDA (in purple, bulimia)

to show myself where I’ve come from, what I’ve gotten through before.

Semi-colon (in yellow, suicidal)

a story that hasn’t ended and still has so far left to go.

Finally, rewind, pause, play, fast forward (in green, mental illness – color not from bracelet project)

To live life for where I am and not focus too much on the past or present. Not to exclude thoughts of the past or present, because they are still there and they still matter, but to keep moving forward.

Instead of drawing butterflies (if that works for you, by all means use it) I decided to represent the problems I suffered from. Sometimes it's easier to see it physically, and somehow marking your flesh helps alleviate the temptation at least somewhat.

Whatever your story may be, whatever you have or are going through, you’re not beaten yet. You’re still here, still fighting.

Stay strong – and remember, strong is getting through the day. Strong is getting out of bed when you don’t have the energy. It is smiling when your world is falling apart. Strong is whatever you manage to do that is hard for you. You ARE strong. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not. There are so many ways to be strong.

Being Productive: Knitting Ornament

With a mental illness, it’s really easy to get bogged down with symptoms and side effects. Unfortunately, this typically means not much (if anything) gets done. When I made this ornament, Christmas was coming up – so of course there were lots of presents to make or buy. Even though this craft was fun and not too difficult, making it was very productive because it became a present.

A simple, easy to make knitting ornament. It's made with items you probably already have!

There are so many crafts on Pinterest – most of them are really cool. Of course I can’t resist trying a few of them out! When I saw this particular ornament, it was screaming my husband’s aunt’s name. (She loves knitting). It didn’t look too difficult, and I already had most of the items needed. After picking up the remaining items, it was time to get to work!

I made it for her for Christmas last year.

A simple, easy to make knitting ornament. It's made with items you probably already have!How to:

It was really simple – I bought a cheap plastic ornament, a hot glue gun with sticks, and made use of my crocheting yarn.

For the knitting needles, I hot glued pony beads on the end of toothpicks and painted them brown.

Just hot glue the yarn on the ornament in a random pattern (like you would find on a yarn ball) and stick the “knitting needles” through the yarn. Maybe hot glue them in place so they don’t get lost.

I’m sure there are better instructions out there – this is just a rough sketch of what I did.


P.S. It did get a little tedious gluing the yarn in place and attempting to make sure none of the ornament below showed, however, the look on our aunt’s face when she saw it? Priceless. 

Self Therapy: Saying Goodbye

Regardless of mental illness – when a pet dies, it’s completely natural to feel sad. A big chunk of our lives is now missing. We might not have even been able to say goodbye. We just have to be careful that when we feel sad, we react in a way that won’t harm ourselves or anyone else. People with a mental illness tend to be more susceptible to stronger emotions, and more led to react to how they feel in a less socially appropriate way. It can be really hard to maintain healthy control – pets that have been around for a long time tend to hold onto a major piece of our hearts and lives. I’ve been there before. This time, though, I dealt with my sadness in a much healthier way.

My betta fish, Pendragon, died a bit ago. I hadn’t had him very long, but I was still very upset … so I told him goodbye.

I used to have a betta fish named Pendragon. Even though I hadn't had him very long, I still wanted to send him off properly - so I got creative. I think he would have liked his goodbye.


To send him off, I drew him in the environment I thought he would be happiest in. A big, open space with lots of plants and some rocks for him to nudge around.

This was his goodbye:I used to have a betta fish named Pendragon. Even though I hadn't had him very long, I still wanted to send him off properly - so I got creative. I think he would have liked his goodbye.

A short time until goodbye:

While I had him he would sometimes get startled (or maybe it was excited?) and swim back and forth in his aquarium so fast I thought he would crash into the walls. He didn’t, though. He would nudge the rocks around, seemingly looking for food – and he was a picky eater.

I would put his pellets in the tank, and he would take one in his mouth and then spit it out again. A few minutes later, he’d come back and actually eat the pellet. Maybe it was too big for him .. I tried Pen on a smaller pellet, but he didn’t seem to like that too much either. The first food was a food all of our betta fish growing up had loved. Oh well.

Pen was fun to watch. Sometimes he would just sit on the bottom of the tank, and sometimes he would swim to the top and blow a bubble nest.

When he died, my husband took care of him for me. I was too upset.

I miss him.


*update* a cat that I grew up with (which had been a member of my family for about 16 years) recently died. We don’t forget them simply because they are gone. You are not alone, even if your pet (of any species) has passed on. This was not the first pet that I’ve loved that has passed, and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last. We can make it through this.

How do you say goodbye to your pets?

Being Productive: Wedding Snow Globe

With small, forgotten items lying around doing nothing, it’s certainly productive to put them to good use. Even if you haven’t been in a wedding, there may be something else you could make use of. Being productive helps improve a person’s sense of self value – haven’t you noticed that when you do something worthwhile, you feel good about yourself? Having a mental illness can take a toll on our self value, so it’s good to be as productive as we can to help counteract it.

Do you still have items from your wedding lying around? Maybe you don’t know what to do with them … but if they are small, they could be put to good use.We've all seen the wine glass turned snow globe images on Pinterest. Most of us have probably considered making one - they look so good! Though I wanted to make one, I didn't know what to use. That is when some leftover items from my wedding caught my eye.


Big event over:

After my wedding in August, I had boutonnieres from the groomsmen and my husband. They were just sitting around, doing nothing. All over pinterest, I’d been seeing wine glass snow globes. They looked really interesting – I wanted to make one.

We picked up a couple of wineglasses at the dollar store, bought some fake snow online (fake snow is actually really hard to find in-store), and stocked up on glue sticks for the hot glue gun. Even the bottom of the globe was taken care of (no water involved) because we had some cardboard from inside a calendar my husband got for Christmas. The only thing left was, what in the world were we going to put inside the globe?

What to use?

A quick search of the house revealed no possibilities. Nothing interesting. Wait .. on the bookshelf. Boutonnieres (that I had to google the spelling of, BTW) from our wedding. Perfect! I put my husband’s boutonniere inside the snow globe, and decorated the outside with some fabric and two of our groomsmen’s boutonnieres. After picking up a candle in the clearance section, we were good to go!

We've all seen the wine glass turned snow globe images on Pinterest. Most of us have probably considered making one - they look so good! Though I wanted to make one, I didn't know what to use. That is when some leftover items from my wedding caught my eye.

It was fun, super easy, and came out great! Make your own, and get creative with the decorations! I’d love to see what you come up with!