Healing With Art

They say art can heal, and I truly believe that. Read on for my story on healing with art.

An icky thing happened to me recently at work. It wasn’t anything sexual as the term “icky” might invoke the thought, but it felt really icky and made me feel like I was the size of a pea.

Without going into too much detail, basically what happened is that I was sworn at, yelled at and berated by my boss in front of a colleague as well as most of the office since they are in earshot of where we were. He was fiery red in the face, shaking and hostilely screaming.

I was stunned and basically frozen as this lambasting continued on for several minutes until I said something that slowed him down- which I don’t even remember what I said. He still continued being nasty, trying to bring me down, until finally things smoothed over a bit.

I was extremely embarrassed and teary eyed. Although I could tell this outburst had only a little to do with me, and more to do with something deep inside him, it didn’t stop me from feeling like a helpless child. I admit, I knew this day would come since this wasn’t the first time he had an outburst toward me, except then it was on a much smaller scale. He has also done it to other employees, but also not to that degree.

So what did I do about it? Nothing. My boss is the owner and I live in a state that is an “employment at will state” or what I call “fire at will”. That means you can be let go for any reason at any time.

Why am I telling you this? Because once I went back to my desk, in a shell-shocked state, all I wanted to do was to be at my craft table making something. Part of that feeling was escape, at least at first. Then when lunch-time came, I sat in my car thinking about making things- cement planters, painting, drawing, building things- any and all of it. It reminded me of how instrumental being able to create things has been in my life.

I have a tendency toward depression. It seems like a curse that many creative unfortunately share. We tend to run on the sensitive side, I know I am- oh so sensitive-and my astrological sign is Cancer. Double Whammy.

When I think back to times in my life when sad things have happened, or depression has taken hold I realize that I turned to making things to elevate my mood. These weren’t conscious thoughts. Looking back now, I can see these times of making were often at the beginning of a personal downturn. I guess I have been aware that art can heal, but I only realize now how important it’s been in my life.

This past year and a half of making things for this blog has been very cathartic for me. The nice thing is, that it wasn’t born out of a darker time for me, but I am willing to bet that it has been a factor in keeping my spirits lifted.

If you’ve read this far, you probably have had similar experiences with healing with art. Maybe for you, art is also a preventative. I encourage you to keep making, even when times are good. Things that have helped me have been setting goals. Because of this site, I have self imposed deadlines and a responsibility to you, my readers- to try to keep on some sort of schedule. So if you find that making heals and you struggle with getting the motivation or time, then maybe set goals for yourself. Maybe make a list of people who you would like to make gifts for. Make a deadline. With the holidays coming up in a few months, now is a good time. Goals are great things for healing, and achieving them will do wonders for your soul.

Have you gone through things like this? How did it make you feel? Did you turn to making things to heal through art?

If you would like to comment below, please do, I’d love to hear from you. If you prefer to keep it private, then feel free to email me at ellen at artsyprettyplants dot com. Sorry for spelling it out that way, but if I leave an actual link, then spam bots will send me lots of nasty emails.

Here are some resources for art therapy.

The Healing Power of ART 

The UnLonely Project

Art As Healing

If you got here through an art and healing link, then you may not be familiar with some of my projects. Please visit my archives to find a project that will hopefully inspire you to create!