A Creative Way to Cope with Anxiety that Gives Me More Anxiety

I have always had bad penmanship.  My handwriting is practically impossible to read.  Even I have trouble reading it.  My printing is not much better.  My artistic skills are even worse.  I can’t draw things except for figures in geometry problems, which come in handy when I tutor.  I can’t draw what I see.  A drawing of my dog would probably look about the same as a cow or any other 4-legged creature.

When I worked as a Certified Peer Specialist, the one activity that I never wanted to facilitate was the art activity.  The one time that I did, we made drums out of oatmeal boxes so I could use them later for a music activity.  My drum, of course, was not very artistic.

One of the peers used mandala drawings in her activities.  There were many samples on the internet and she eventually bought a book with many pages of mandalas.  For those of you who are not familiar with mandalas, click here.  With a variety of colored markers or crayons, one can create a beautiful drawing by coloring in the areas.

The thought of doing this creates anxiety in me.  When I see a mandala, I see many opportunities to screw up by drawing outside the lines or messing up whatever patter I start.  When I sign my name in a birthday card for my wife, I usually make a mistake or write something that she can’t read.  Sometimes, I feel like I should by an extra card in case I have to throw the first one away.  A mandala is full of opportunities to fail.  As a perfectionist, why would I even want to try one of these?  How many blank copies would I need in case I messed up?

So many people use mandalas to help them cope with anxiety.  It might help me if the spaces were numbered like the old paint-by-numbers books.  At least I wouldn’t have the stress of making decisions or screwing up the pattern.

I do OK drawing two parallel lines and a transversal or a rectangle or even a unit circle.  But mandalas make me nervous.


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