Friday, January 6, 2017

Mental Health & the Benefits of Art Therapy

It's no secret the benefits artistic release can have on the mind. Art Therapy is a vastly diverse and growing movement. One that we are very proud to be apart of and contributing to. In the fall of 2016 we had the pleasure of finding Katie Wilkie and joining her band of merry mental health advocates. Together, Katie & Sophie created #MHArtTherapy and the results have been fantastic.

The tweets shared from those participating in #MHArtTherapy as well as the messages those of us involved  (BalloonsAndTheBrain & Bipolar Photographer) have been receiving has been encouraging to see. We're all very pleased with where things have been heading and looking forward to the Mental Health Twitter communities continued support.

If you follow any of us and are watching what's knew with the hashtag you've come to see how it all works, the encouragement the mental health art community shares, and the fun regardless of the difficulties we all face. As you may know, all of us involved are affected by our own mental health journeys. We each work through the ups, downs, and rounds using some form of artistic release. Oh and of course we lean on each other through the difficult times. We never knew it would be possible to connect with people, find ears who will listen and be accepted so warmly. We have found all of that through #MHArtTherapy.

For those who are new go check out #MHArtTherapy on Twitter. What we've all been doing is discussing new topics and where we want to see this brilliant idea in the future. This is continuing through 2017 and something we're all looking forward to. There are different themes each week, which is excellent because there is something for everyone and you can always put your own interpretation on it. Something my parts and I found very intriguing to see.

We are all so proud to be apart of this and thrilled with the founders and what they're doing. So many are immensely supportive in the mental health world and tomorrow morning another example of that is taking place. The Amazing Lombardo's are a force within the community. They're kicking off this years radio show on Voices for Change2.0. Tune in tomorrow morning at 11am using that link to hear from the amazing women who created #MHArtTherapy. Tweet your questions using the #VFChange.

Having worked in the arts in some capacity my entire life I enjoy seeing the work people come up with. All the different mediums used, whether you enjoy painting, inking, sketching, crocheting, writing or even photography there is something new to discover and see from across the world. It's a fun thing to be apart of and we hope you all will join us this year.

One of my sketchbooks is filling up with characters like the ones below. Sleep is a massive issue for me and my parts. It is one of the things we all have in common. A few do have night terrors. One of my parts has been sketching these for years in a way to get them out of my head.

A few of us love to ink & create our own coloring pages.

We sometimes like to watch what each other does or how we work. Since, it isn't always possible, a few of them will record or photograph their work on my cell phone. This video of the "Bathroom Wall" is just a quick glimpse into how one of my parts works. This particular part is 15yrs old and has a serious love for Tim Burton's style. She painted my husband and I as Burton characters. Something we both had found very cool!

Snapshots of where the bathroom mural began.

One aspect of living with DID that I've come to enjoy is if I dissociate I now know many things, there is no deep lost in thought questioning and no fear. This was possible due to our years in therapy. It has helped us all tremendously and something we continue working on and advocating. Before it was a bizarre occurrence. I never knew what was happening, where I was going or if the next time would have one day been the last time. Now I speak openly with my parts, they voice their concerns to me, a close friend or our therapist. Even with my husband now, the progress is there, but like many important things it takes time and we're still working on this.

Something that has been consistent throughout my life has been art. Even when I would "black out" (Dissociate) I had, many times, come back to various photographs and art pieces I had no memory of creating. I found it interesting and truly bizarre at times. Now though, I know it is my parts working something out or creating a new idea. I find it fascinating in many respects how they all seem to have a different style and favorite way of expressing themselves.

This image is one of mine. An abandoned places project.

Autumn is our collective favorite season. Just a snapshot but we liked it.

One of my acrylic paintings. On canvas.
I spent last yr really playing with silhouettes.
This was painted while I was coconscious.

We have met MANY interesting people. This amazing lady is a friend who is an amazing Hoop performer.

A few things I know:
  • Some of them love working with Ink & Watercolour. One in particular excels at this and it is mind boggling to me. Reason being I cannot create and use watercolours properly. I don't have the patience or drive to deal with it. I see no structure there but she enjoys creating something from this fluidity. She loves fun, color, and fantastical imagery.
Not great IMG sorry! Ink & Watercolor from a younger part.
She's 10&1/2 years old.

Another Watercolor from the same young part.

  • They had used art when I was younger to try and tell me I was not alone nor was I "insane." I'm able to remember glimpses in my life of this idea entering my mind & the calm it created. 
Yes, this image is actually of two of my parts. This is not "photoChopped" but a technique in camera.

  • Art is an amazing outlet. One I've used most of my life but I just was unaware until more recently the extent to which this was true.

Cat Got Your Tongue?

Random Sketch.

We very sincerely hope everyone can find this at some time in their lives. Art can assist anyone and everyone. Even if your skill set is simplistic or ' not good.' That's the beauty of art it is expressed based on the individuals thoughts, feelings, experiences and so much more than that.


  1. This is such a lovely and unique post ~ it's always great to express emotions through creative means <3 xx

    Thanks for sharing all of this xx

    1. Thanks for your kind words SophieAnneTaylor! Glad you enjoyed it.
      Be well,
      The We In Me