Art is a Valid (and Meaningful) Form of Therapy

Creating something beautiful while you are suffering is cathartic. Making meaning out of chaos is satisfying. Having something tangible to show for your nebulous pain is meaningful.

Throughout my battle with Bipolar I, I get that many times I have allowed my illness to keep my spirit down. I have wallowed. I have cursed Fate. I have commiserated in hospitals. I have thrown the covers over my head. I have cried. I have given in to frustration, negative thinking and pure misery…

…but I have also written and published two novels, created three websites, and made a ton of visual art to prove to myself that something good can come from suffering and to (hopefully) inspire people like me to generate something positive from a medical condition that is challenging even when you are not currently experiencing an episode.

So, there are many, many forms of therapy: Cognitive Behavioral, exercise, self-education, meditation, nature, pet therapy, distraction, journaling, treating yourself, group therapy–the list really goes on and on. After trying and (with some) consistently using these as part of my toolbox, my go-to therapy of choice is still art therapy.

Perhaps, today you could find the time to do a sketch representing how you feel, write a line from deep within you, add some color to your living room, or really any activity large or small to express what it means to be you right now in order to have a record that shows you can turn your trials into something real and meaningful. It will most assuredly make you feel better.

Art is a world where there are no mistakes, only quitting. Art is a place where you can figure yourself out, work through confusion and pain, and make a permanent mark (even if no one else ever sees it but you). Art can make you feel successful when doing anything else seems too difficult. It can give you self-confidence to continue on your path.

P.S. Thank you for viewing my art in this post!

Peace and love 🦋🦋🦋,

Marie K Johnston/Kristen M McCurry

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