Art Therapy - How It Can Be A Useful Tool In Recovery.
Mental Wellness Through Artistic Expression.
I have always found solace in art based hobbies. There is just something about art that allows me to relax. I have felt this way ever since I was a teenager. I remember sitting in art class at school, I’d be so focused on the work at hand; a drawing, piece of pottery, a Warhol pop art reproduction. In that hour I would completely zone out from the world around me.
My mind would grow calmer with each minute passing by as if I was a boat drifting off at sea away from all that troubled me. It was the one moment where I could de-stress. This has followed me throughout life. It is why at 18 I took up writing poetry and now have over 500 pieces.
I have tried my hand at many different craft projects, from crocheting to pyrography. I have enjoyed them all. The writing has been a way for me to access my thoughts and process them; understand them and myself better. It has led to realisations about myself, my condition and my state of mind at the time. It has been a useful tool in my recovery process coupled with hands-on crafts.
Today I have been creating some jewellery, which has been very relaxing and enjoyable. I feel accomplished at the end of it because I feel as though I’ve spent my day productively. Especially when I get to see a finished piece of jewellery! I’ve found it can keep me occupied for hours, which is a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon if you ask me.
I cannot say the same for meditation or relaxation music. I guess sitting in silence doing nothing has never appealed much to me. I’m just not one of those people who can relax, whilst some person on a tape talks to me, with soothing music in the background. In fact it does the opposite, leaving me with a mind that never shuts up. Allowing it to swiftly overwhelm me, as breathing exercises, imagining my happy place, and music alone is not enough. I have to keep myself busy physically and mentally, otherwise my mind easily wanders down a bad path. It’s why ever since the bipolar emerged I’ve been unable to sit and read like I used to.
I was an avid book reader, now? Well I struggle to read. I don’t think I’ve read a book start to finish, since I was maybe 18 or so. It upsets me to realise that I’ve gone almost 8 years having not read/completed a single book. This from a girl who would read multiple books a month. I mean I can’t claim it’s all bad, as whilst I’ve been unable to read, I’ve been venturing out into the wilderness, finding new arts and crafts to explore.
Art therapy may not be for everyone but I do believe a lot can be gained from just giving it a go. You might not find your perfect fit right away. For me painting is not something I particularly enjoyed, and now I can’t enjoy drawing; I find myself getting more and more aggravated if it is not completely perfect. Of course what I draw never lives up to the imagery in my head. I am by no means a good drawer, but for awhile I could enjoy it. I have found painting pottery was very fun. My parents and I have filled their living room full of our painted pieces. I also enjoy making jewellery – it’s simple enough to learn the basics so didn’t take long to get to grips with.
I like picking and choosing what pendants and charms to buy. The excitement of waiting for them to arrive, finally sitting down to create something that is pretty, but not so complex it takes months to make. I learned that when I tried crocheting, I got quite far into creating a big chunky blanket, but unfortunately never finished it. I’ve noticed I need projects that don’t take lots of hours to complete. I need something that I can pick up, spend an afternoon doing, and by the end of it have a completed piece of jewellery or art work of some kind.
What can I say, I’m a bit of a slut for instant gratification. So I don’t like to wait months to see the gratifying end creation of my hard labour.
What is your favourite artsy or creative hobby? I have to say for me it’d have to be writing poetry. I don’t think I could live without writing. It is probably my best tool in my recovery toolbox.
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