Cardmaking and PTSD Healing

I’ve been struggling for several weeks whether to write this post, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share it because mainly I try talk more about positive things even when I’m going through trials. But, something inside me kept prompting me so maybe for a reason that I don’t know, I needed to post this. It’s one of those moments that compels you to comply and deep down inside you know it will help somebody, even if only one person, by sharing.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts about struggling with nervous anxiety before, but this time I had a two-fold purpose this time:

  1. To share an update on my current condition
  2. To tell you how much cardmaking has and is helping me heal

So, three years ago, I realized my anxiety was getting worse. I consulted with a friend who was also a nurse and very knowledgeable about mental health. I confided in her what my symptoms were and told her about the prior years of trauma I had experienced (I don’t want to go into detail about the exact trauma, hope you understand 🙂. It was then that her diagnosis hit home with me… I was suffering from severe PTSD. I didn’t know much about it but I thought it only affected military especially those who’ve fought in wars. But, boy I was wrong.

We talked about some self-help options and so I started making some changes like: watching my diet (eating healthier foods), exercising, taking frequent breaks from my work day and of course leaning more on my faith in God which if I didn’t have, I’d be an absolute mess right now. And just for the record, being a Christian doesn’t negate suffering from mental illnesses and/or emotional traumas. We’re still human and live in a fallen world.

My nurse friend also suggested doing something creative but since I couldn’t crochet and knit anymore, I wasn’t sure what to do. She was also so kind as to give me some of her art supplies she wasn’t using anymore. I prayed about doing something with my hands and that’s when cardmaking came to mind. I used to make them for a church ministry but using the computer, not 100% handmade. But, I wanted to give it a try. So, I looked at YT videos, read blog posts and created cardmaking Pinterest boards for inspiration. My first few cards were not that great but at least I was learning and having fun!

Almost a year later of making cards has given me an outlet to focus my attention on and calms my nerves as well. In order to fully heal, I couldn’t just rely on 1 or 2 things, it’s a combination of many things to build safety again. Trauma takes that away and fear keeps it away. To fight that, I have to begin to rebuild and that means ridding myself of unnecessary stresses, spending more time in prayer, having good, healthy friends and family around me and taking better care of my physical needs like getting enough sleep and not enough to eat. I also began writing about my progress in my journal as well as on my “Growing Up in Grace” blog.

Cardmaking is something I look forward to doing every night. There’s so much inspiration from other Crafters and YTubers! When I began to share my cards and getting great feedback, I knew I wanted to be part of this crafting community. I’ve met some amazing and wonderful cardmakers that I chat with everyday. We share our creations and encourage each other. I’m also so grateful that God gave me a friend/nurse to confide in which was the first step to healing. She was there for me during a time when I was hiding my condition trying not to admit I had a problem. Even my husband wasn’t aware of how bad I was. You couldn’t tell I had a problem from just looking at me, but inside I was dying. Since then, I’ve had heartfelt talks with him and with my best friend who lives in a different state. It’s liberating to no longer hide it nor deny I had a problem.

I love the scripture in Isaiah chapter 53. Jesus didn’t die just for our physical sicknesses but also for our mental/emotional illnesses too. It’s equally important to be completely whole. I know The Lord led me to cardmaking as a means for healing. It calms and helps me think on positive things and when the card is done, I feel so elated and satisfied.

I opened my Etsy Shop in July 2019 and it’s seen much success since. Plus, I donate cards as well. It’s a great feeling to provide a product that my customers need and want + to give cards to others who need encouragement. God tells us it’s better to give than to receive. It does help to reach out to someone when they’re hurting as I am because it feels good to know I helped. And, at the same time, God is healing and restoring me.

I hope that by sharing my story it will encourage someone who is dealing with a similar situation and maybe afraid to admit it and seek help. It’s not an overnight process to be healed but a day-by-day…some days are better than others but at least I’m on way to better health.

This is just my advice, I’m not a nurse, physician or work in the health industry. I’m only speaking from my own experience. I will suggest if you’re having any kind of emotional trauma, get help. Talk to your physician, don’t keep it inside. God doesn’t want you to be broken. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that there are times when we need additional help.

Comments

  1. Joy Baldwin says:

    Thank you for sharing that, I am so glad that you finding things that help. I suffered from ptsd and panic attacks for years, so I understand. God is so good and aren’t we lucky to have a relationship with him.

    1. Kim McDougal says:

      Hi Joy, my friend!!! I’m so glad to know you understand and yes God is so good to help us heal! Thank you so much for your sweet comment! ~ Kim

  2. Ilda Dias says:

    Thanks for sharing that Kim. I am so happy you have found cardmaking and that is helping you heal. You are a true joy in our community! Keep healing, praying, and cardmaking.

    1. Kim McDougal says:

      Ilda, thank you so much! You were one of the first crafty friends I made on Instagram and you always encouraged me! Also, you know how much I love your cards and how you taught me to make borderless shaker cards! LOL! You’re such an inspiration to me! HUGS!

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