Wednesday, July 9, 2008

rediscovering the passion.

a few days ago, over on the new f-word forums, rachel asked me something i was surprised to never have answered before: "Have you found that art therapy has helped you considerably in your recovery?" i'm not sure why, but as soon as i read this, it was promptly followed by a flashback of groans and desperate pleas against art therapy group that i would hear on wednesday nights. it was certainly not a favorite amongst my treatment group, but i loved it. i was forced to pick up a drawing utensil - in a safe environment - and reconnect with something that was once such a huge part of my life.

here was the response i gave to rachel:

i've been drawing since i was a little kid; i always loved it. however, as my eating disorder took over, it became extremely difficult for me to do any form of art. everything i did was "useless", "terrible", "talentless".. i would become so incredibly angry with myself at a crooked line, an imperfect curve.. i eventually stopped drawing altogether. i couldn't deal with the absolute self-hatred that came with doing something i once really connected with.

through art therapy, i was able to rediscover myself and my love for drawing again. i used it to practice letting things go and working on my irrational strive for perfectionism. if i messed up a line, i would be immediately inclined to crumble the paper and trash it, but i started to force myself to stop, look at it for a minute, take a deep breath, and continue with my ideas.

the more i was able to do it, the stronger i felt myself becoming in my fight against unfounded ideals. i began to really fall in love with drawing again while i was inpatient, and as i continued through the rest of my treatment at walden, art therapy helped me grow so much in so many ways, let alone reunited me with an old passion.

i wrote an entry that started to go into this a long time ago. it was actually about a friend of mine from treatment who helped me work through art therapy when i was first fighting it.

i found it odd that most everyone hated art therapy so much at walden. i never knew if it was just that they weren't the drawing types, or if they didn't feel any emotional connection to a cray-pas, or if it was the same reason it was so difficult for me to keep my sheet in one piece after my hand would slip on a wrong angle. only one other friend of mine was really into it, and rightfully so. kiersten has quite the talent and i'm hoping she might be willing to share it more.. *hint, hint*?

what were your experiences with recovery through art therapy? if you hated it, how come?


brie said...

I didn't love art therapy. It was not a very productive tool, personally, in connecting with my emotions. Writing has always been a much better outlet for me...and I'm not saying art therapy was awful, etc, just...not my cup of tea, I suppose.

I wrote a satirical series on IP treatment...and here's a link to the piece on art therapy. Please keep in mind it *is* satire and sarcasm, okay? I'm not taking myself or art therapy seriously, here. There are some true therapeutic benefits to it, and I'm glad that it has been an outlet for you.

Michelle said...

I have to say i am about as artistic as a toothbrush but i loved art therapy at walden (when I was in Jenn was the facilitator of the group) for me it has to do with connection to a leader. Anyhow, one day we did this activity closing our eyes and scribbling or letting the pen/pencil lead us on the paper. 3 different was so weird what my papers revealed to be or what i found in them.

i have done art therapy at CEDC and that was horrible but it had to do more with the instructor being not very experienced.

Labyrinith said...

OH love I have so much to say to this! I love you! I want to share my experience with Art Therapy at Walden because you KNOW my passion for it, and all things related to it-I still do it. I love looking at your stuff. I got the 'hint hint'. =) I will write more. Busy day here today w/ Joey stuff, my landlord is getting the house looked at, blah blah and an appt w/ my therapist. BUT I would LOVE to add to this! I love you lil one! Can't wait to see you! XO, Kiersten PS. I went through a LOT of frozen oranges in art tehrapy!