“The creative process is healing. The expressive product supplies important messages to the individual. However, it is the process of creation that is profoundly transformative” (Natalie Rogers)
I wish I could explain the way the mind and body feel when they are in complete darkness. When there is no joy, not even pain, just plain emptiness. It was the time that I call ‘my dark ages’ and it took some time to crawl back into the world of feeling things again. Reading some of my writings from that period in life makes me realize how far I’ve come from that time. I have so much strength now, joy for living, gratitude.
How creativity is healing me
Creativity is healing me. Every day. The first thing that made me see hope was when I took colors and canvas and just starting doing brush strokes. The colors blending, the vibrancy that appeared, the depth…it rose hope. The feeling I didn’t feel for years appeared. Hope!
Mind you, I am not talented when it comes to painting or arts in general. I was just so tired of feeling nothing that I would try anything at that point. Art therapy was one of the things that helped me (I was also going to general therapy). But, there were no art sessions here. I kind of took matters into my own hands I guess. I read about it and wanted to give it a try. Boy did it work?!
I started painting. Every day. When I finished my first painting I felt joy. JOY!!! I didn’t feel joy in years. It was like part of that darkness went away with it. I went out for walks. I enjoyed the sun, birds singing, colors. After four long years, I enjoyed the sound.
What I’ve learned from using creativity?
One thing leads to another right? I soon enrolled a gym and joined a Zumba group. Dancing! Oh God, the laughing wouldn’t stop. I would wait for that class each week with hunger. Just so I can dance again. Dancing and painting. I was starting to feel free.
The time from first painting to getting out of the darkness was several months. Several months from being completely closed to breathing fully again.
I spend each day doing something creative. It is my form of meditation. Apart from painting I also started crocheting and what I’ve noticed is that my blood pressure lowers while I do it. It makes me relaxed and happy.
The main things I learned
- Doing something creative reduces stress levels, and coming from someone with high cortisol levels this is huge.
- Expresses emotions – This was a major thing for me. I have a very hard time to express my emotions verbally, especially negative ones, I found my way of expressing anger, rage, and negativity through the creative process.
- Creates self-awareness and connects you with your inner-self. You start enjoying time spending with yourself and doing creative things. I’ve learned a lot about myself. And best of all I’m rarely bored.
When we were kids, we were doing creative things all the time. Once the obligations began, we shut that part for most of the time. Let that kid out again and use your imagination. If you haven’t tried to do anything creative in a long time, do it. You will be surprised how much it will affect your overall wellbeing.
If you want to learn more about art therapy and influences of art and creativity in general in the process of healing (especially anxiety) I found several sources you can check: The Healing Power of Creative Therapy for Depression by Everyday Health and The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature by Heather L. Stuckey, and Jeremy Nobel.
Now go do something creative! Buy a coloring book, dance, write, sing and be well 🙂