Art as Therapy – Good for trauma, anxiety & depression

Ever since I remember, I was drawing pictures, writing poems and listening to music melodies and lyrics in songs. Art in it’s many forms has always helped me relax, re-focus and escape from moments of sadness, frustration & later in life depression and anxiety.

In my early teens,  I was struggling a lot at school with my confidence and general enthusiasm to learn. There were  many difficulties at home,  firstly by having narcissistic parents and also by having a special needs older sibling. The older I got and the more I tried to form my own identity, the more resistance I got from my family. I had to help with my sibling’s disabilities, with my mum’s depression and with my Dad’s workaholism and lack of emotional support at home. I became a carer, a husband & a wife. I was parentified, I wasn’t allowed to be weak, or sad or tired and I generally felt more and more disconnected.  I remember a lot of frustration , sadness and anger at home. I used to get very upset that I couldn’t do normal things with my sibling as we got older. I felt a lot of pressure as if I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders and I was afraid of my parents.

 Both my parents chose to use undermining & hurtful words towards me, whenever I wasn’t doing what they wanted. If I struggled with subjects like Maths, my Dad would get angry at me and call me stupid. If mum needed help at home, I had to drop whatever I was doing and help her. My feelings didn’t matter most of the time. I don’t remember being comforted that much or having any confidence in anything. I learnt to ride a bike when I was 12 because my parents couldn’t teach me. There is so much I wish I had been able to do that would have helped me a lot in my adult life. My first depression hit when I was  14 after my Dad called me a ‘slut’ for having a boyfriend my age and mum opened my diaries..The older I got, the more dramatic and stressful the environment at home became.  Eventually my parents divorced and since then the emotional neglect got worse.

Despite all this, Art has always been constant in my life.  I loved drawing, colouring, making 3D models, writing poems and even studied Art as a Bachelors. Looking back on all my creations is like a ‘diary’ of my emotional state at the time. There was a lot of meaning in my artwork and my poetry was very depressing…As the years went on and I started counselling & psychotherapy, my art changed and I started incorporating an element of hope in my artwork and became a little more playful with my creations. That starved ‘child’ who wanted to play, started doing just that..Playing!  After years of anxiety, ptsd and depression I finally decided to study Art Psychotherapy which I got accepted for. It is a challenging profession that is hard to get work in, but I still want to pursue it as it feels right for me.

This mandala was one of my entry pieces that got me my Unconditional offer for my MA 🙂

 mandala b w better


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