How Art Can Heal Past Wounds.

in hive-120078 •  27 days ago 

For a long time when we've thought of health and healing, physical health has been the main focus. The placebo effect was largely laughed at and dismissed, but recently health professionals are becoming more aware of just how much of a part our mental health plays when it comes to our physical health and wellbeing. Stress is now known to play a huge role in many illnesses, because it reduces the effectiveness of our immune system. So it makes sense that anything which helps our mental health will also assist our physical health.

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As a child I loved creating; drawing, painting, crafting, sewing, origami, you name it. Certain colours calmed me or enchanted me and depending on my mood or frame of mind, I'd work with different colour themes or different styles, blended or clean cut colours. I used to have an advertisement out of a magazine on my wall and I couldn't tell you what it was advertising for certain, a perfume maybe, but it wasn't on my wall for any other reason than the deep blues which I loved to gaze at. I looked at that picture and would almost sink into it, the colours enclosing, embracing me, my body relaxing. I'd use inspiration like that to try and capture similar feelings in my own artwork.

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As I got older I stopped painting and drawing, because I was pretty much told I wasn’t going to be able to make a living from it, so it was time wasted. I got a job, instead, and became productive, but it was still the creative things that relaxed and healed me. When my husband and I bought our first house I put my creativity into decorating.

Then children came along and I only had time for practical things. By the time my eldest was 6, some of my childhood issues resurfaced and I ended up in in counselling.

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Now that I look back through motherhood, I realise that the times when I was the most emotionally stable was when I had the opportunity to create. I'd be sewing or crocheting while my daughters did dance and gymnastics; making blankets and dance costumes.

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As a homeschooling mum I had the excuse to join in with the crafting and art. The garden became a creative space and is almost guaranteed bring me peace when my mind's in turmoil.

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All these things seemed more acceptable as being productive because I was actually making something of use, saving money or teaching our children. We had a winter blanket on each bed, ready for winter and I gifted one to my mother for her birthday made in her favourite colours from yarns she wasn't allergic to.

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But my biggest step in the last couple of years has been writing for the first time since college. It started out as an invite from the editor of Grass Roots Magazine to write for them, then it's carried on with Steem.

Through writing I can take churning thoughts, write them down and start to make some sense of things. Recently, for the first time I decided to put into writing the childhood experiences that kept coming back to haunt me. It’s something that's often advised, but I only ever gave it a half hearted attempt and saw no use in it. This time, rather than just noting down the facts, I actually started to put the feelings into words as well, putting myself back into that child at the time. I started to recall things I'd buried in the recesses of my mind and finally began to make connections that I'd previously not understood.

I tore open those wounds, cried a river and slowly put myself back together again, finding forgiveness where resentment lay.

So often art is dismissed in our modern society as being unproductive. We are discouraged from it unless it can earn a living and only a small niche are able to do so. Yet more and more we are seeing how healing it can be. A quick internet search and I find organisations in Australia and the UK which help provide arts for health and healing.

https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/programs-and-projects/arts-for-health
https://www.artsandhealth.org.au/
http://www.artshealthandwellbeing.org.uk/
https://www.art4healing.org/

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Recently I saw a wonderful acknowledgement how artists have helped in Australia's time of bushfire crisis, with needle workers making pouches and nests for orphaned, rescue animals and entertainers putting on shows to raise funds for victims and artists seeing their work our taking on commissions to raise money for the same.

I'm grateful to feel I can again embrace art without guilt, for it is not only productive, after all, it's healing.

~○♤○~

This is my response to the @naturalmedicine Art is Healing Challenge

All, but one, photos courtesy of @izzydawn who is a beneficiary of this post.

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Some wonderful patterns and good use of colours.

WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!! Beautifully written and delivered! I LOVE art, too!! Music, drawing, graphic art, writing, poetry, ALL OF IT! So glad you posted this. Thank you for raising the awareness of the most beautiful parts of life...

CHEERS TO STEEM!

:D

😆 Thank you for such enthusiasm!

It was genuine as was my gratuitous response to reading. :) Well done.


ibt
Congrats! on your upvotes from the IBT Community

Those garments are fantastic! Art is indeed a natural therapy, and there's some very interesting chemistry that happens in the brain while someone's going off and creating this, that, or the other thing - whether its musical, physical, sculpted, sewn, or even a carpenter using their tools - the act of creation illicits something very primal and "other worldly" and so very theraputic.

Thank you. They were fun to make, if a bit challenging at times.

There's also something satisfying when you complete something too, don't you think? Especially when you have the memory of doing it from start to finish.

It sure can be. I like writing blog posts, recording podcasts, and recording DTube videos. I haven't felt like posting a whole lot lately but I do need to get into it again.

I think we all have those phases when we just can't motivate ourselves to create. Hope you get your motivation up again soon.

It's not necessarily a lack of motivation, but it's the over thinking and worrying about "quality posts" and comparing myself to others which can be my biggest stumbling block.

So far pretty much everyone I know who has been actively prevented from doing whatever it is they actually want to do (usually creative endeavours) has ended up angry, deeply resentful, depressed or some combination of the above. Kind of sensing a statistically insignificant trend.

Glad you got yourself back into making things, those outfits are magical O_O and bet everyone appreciates the hell out of those blankets in the cooler weather, they look so snuggly!

This post was so poetic. The way you took us through your beautiful handmade garments and then visited a little about your childhood wounds to end with you are able to enjoy creating again.

Wow seeing your work really helps me to understand just how amazing of an artist you are. I know you’ve shown some of your sewing/mending work before but I don’t recall seeing those uniforms and beautiful gowns or the textured crocheted blankets. I sure wish you had more time to share your works with the @needleworkmonday community (hint hint lol)!

I’m glad you were able to find forgiveness where there was resentment and now have art as an outlet again. Wonderful post ~ 💓

As I got older I stopped painting and drawing, because I was pretty much told I wasn’t going to be able to make a living from it, so it was time wasted.

This word nearly turned me off when I was starting out my journey as an artist. Howerever, what most people don't know is that there are those making millions with art.

But I'm happy I stood by doing what I love doing. It might not yeald millions now, but it will definitely on the long run.

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There aren't many who make it at art. I must admit that I certainly don't have the talent you do. I look forward to seeing where your journey takes you. Please keep posting even when you're a millionaire. 😉

I don’t see anything placebo about the way our emotions affect the body, they directly influence our nervous system which impacts the muscles and organs.

I think the reason art is undermined is that while we do try to create standards of beauty, we don’t always fit into those standards (some of us find tremendous inspiration from art that is so far outside that standard. That makes it difficult to commodify, kind of like kindness, and because we live in a society that requires money, we don’t always value that which does not easily fit a supply and demand equation. I digress! This should be a post!

Beautiful costumes and I’m happy you found healing in creating!

Let me know if you make it a post, I wouldn't want to miss it! 😁

There's something of a love hate relationship when it comes to art. We can't help, but admire beautiful things and the talent required to create them, but I guess we also see it as unnecessary or indulgent.

I love this article. I definitely think that art therapy should be included in someone's treatment plan. I would do some art-themed group therapies for youth living with addiction and mental health. They would love it and it encouraged them to learn about themselves and their healing process. It was very liberating for them.

I think you're right, it would be a positive step to incorporate art. A focus that allows you to work through issues at your own comfort level and in your own way.