I live in Birmingham with a number of pets I never asked for: “Complex Chronic Overwhelming Psychological Distress” (also answers to a variety of other names), “Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome” (a breed that seems to have issues with chronic pain, fatigue, IBS etc) and Alopecia. They clash and fight and make each other worse, so have a significant, widespread impact on me trying to get on with my life.

This blog is about recovery, self compassion, self care, my drawing and newspaper yarn art and learning to thrive.  I have also written a couple of things over at The Mighty website too.

Everything here is a product of my brain and body working to make sense of what gets through the filters of perception to resonate with my thought patterns.

Much of it has come from the (late and difficult) realisation that we can’t just bypass our inner worlds to live as purely rational beings. Without first understanding and accepting our feelings before applying rationality, those feelings will find another way to manifest in our behaviour and lives. We can’t escape the feelings our magical biological bodies create because they exist, like in all animals, to serve a purpose. Sometimes they are way off the (objective, rational) mark, but they still exist and affect us biologically, physiologically, psychologically and spiritually/culturally.

I make no claims of uncommon artistry, skill, talent, comprehensiveness, objective accuracy, wisdom or insight. My specialist knowledge (not sure if too niche for mastermind) is my own lived experience of struggling to feel comforted or connected to human beings while living with chronic pain and other symptoms. I’m aware of the lucky breaks I’ve had and lack of barriers compared to many. My new field of study is acknowledging the barriers I do face and building meaning and hope. I’d like to share this online to make it ‘real’ and in case others may also benefit from it.

If you want to know about my actual education/work background and the pieces of work I’ve contributed to in mental health then LinkedIn has a summary of that.

Folksy shop:

Some products of this process seem to be things people like and want to own, which is why I set up an online shop. www.folksy.com/shops/goodnewsfrombad

If it’s something not currently available in the shop or a commission, pop me a comment somewhere here, tweet me, facebook me or email me at GoodNewsFromBad at g mail dot com and I will get back to you!

I use newspaper yarn for a lot of my creations, but also photography, drawing, digital painting and sometimes words.

Why Newspaper?

I have written a post at The Mighty about how my process using newspaper yarn mirrors my recovery and therapy journey. Newspaper may look black and white at first glance, but the inks in the paper really come to life when you spin it into yarn. And so bad news becomes good, old stories become new ones and a rainbow of subtle colour appears from black and white.

I sort through paper, cut it into strips and twist the yarn with my fingers, rather than using a spindle, to get a very fine yarn. I do not use glue, or water or add any colours, so any colour results from the inks in the paper. I like to find words in newspapers which can be cut out and given new life in my designs where possible.

I’ve been working with handspun newspaper yarn since October 2010 (though originally my Folksy shop was called “Zygotegifts“).  I had to close it in 2013/14 but reopened in 2015 with a new name, “GoodNewsFromBad”.

Other stuff:

You will also find photos here – I’ve always liked taking pictures, but it became a bit of a lifeline over the last few years – practicing mindfulness, mindful walking and gratitude by photographing the little bits of beauty I see by road sides, in overgrown gardens or even out of my bedroom window on days when I can’t get outside.

Drawings and illustrations which have helped me in a lot of my therapy work. Much of my compassion focused therapy has involved imagery, something I personally find hard to do and also to connect to. So to make things feel more real and to ground them in my senses and being I draw them. It helps me make sense of my journey and what is happening in my head and in the world.

There are also helpful links, summaries of events, and ideas that have helped me with my recovery including easy recipes for fatigued people and random thoughts and words I have felt the urge to write.

I hope some of it is of interest or enjoyable in some way.