I was in my forties, when I finally turned to the magical intensive healing of Art Therapy when I was too ill to do anything else as often happens with creative souls yearning to be set free.
Because being loved by others was not always as satisfying as I hoped, each loss watered my disease of depression until I could no longer hide my dysfunction. My face and hands began to swell and my wobbly legs no longer let me dance. My memory came and went as did my chronic pain. My depression didn’t permit self-love or good self-esteem. It wanted me to ask for nothing and expect nothing. It made me deaf to the needs of others; loving it when I was sad, sick and bored. I had not yet learned the joy of self-love. I was in my forties, when I finally turned to the magical intensive healing of Art Therapy when I was too ill to do anything else as often happens with creative souls yearning to be set free.
I was in the midst of an emotional and mental crisis brought on once, again, by another breakdown from depression. “Why me?” I cried, feeling the full weight of self-pity. After a long hospital stay, and a period of medication and counseling for depression, the nurses once again introduced me to pencils and crayons. They told, I had the time even if I didn’t have the will to go on. Angrily, I obliged them by filling pages with doodles and scribbling, which came natural to me. They always ended up torn to threads piled on the floor.
Everybody laughed at me. At first this just made me angrier. After a while, I began laughing, too, at the absurdity of acting like a child at forty. As for my renderings, I didn’t have to worry if they were bad as bad can be. No one really cared. I found a safe place to hide and heal.
I began liking expressing myself so much in the arts that when I got out of the hospital, I decided to take some writing and art courses. I began a decade of art intensive therapy. It wasn’t easy. I still had the pain to deal with and there was little money and lots of bills. I worried my poems might break in pieces at any moment when I hadn’t paid my electric bill. One day I was caught up in sadness and the next I was manically throwing myself into creativity. Because I am a perfectionist, I thought my work was never good enough until I read that Henri Matisse, the famous painter, once confessed he, too, felt bad he never painted like everybody else. When he was too ill to sit up and paint, he had a piece of coal tied to a long stick, to enable him to draw on a piece of paper attached to the ceiling over his hospital bed. I guess we’re never too young or too old, or too ill to have the desire to create. John Russell, the art critic, observed, “There is in art a clairvoyance for which we have not yet found a name, and still less an explanation.” I found there was nothing like replacing my depression while keeping busy doing something I loved. I was surprised to find a fresher, less tormented self, as well as a newfound confidence I could not have prophesied.