Expressing yourself through art

 As it says on this website that one of its aims is to “inspire people with disabilities to use some form of creativity as a coping mechanism for our difficulties” I thought I’d walk you through some examples of how I’ve used creativity both to cope with my mental illness and also to express myself over the years.

At high-school in the 90’s, one subject I enjoyed and succeeded in was Art. Here is my Art A Level final piece on the theme of Conflict. Conflict is unfortunately a perennially relevant subject in this troubled world. However, as an angst ridden teenager, looking back perhaps I was also expressing some inner turmoil. 

Conflict, charcoal

When I later had my breakdown, although it was a very painful and difficult time, I was once again able to use art to help me make sense of what I was experiencing. Here is one example from my portfolio of art created in therapy in 2016. In the early days of my art therapy the imagery was quite dark and disturbed as you can imagine. However, I’ve chosen to show a happier image based on a dream in which I was roller skating (a childhood hobby) but then lifted off the ground and started flying. 

Skating then flying, crayon

More recently I went on a retreat at a place called Penhurst. This was in 2022 when I was well on my recovery journey. During the retreat I came across a bit of a Psalm. It was a creative retreat, so I made this collage during my stay there inspired by the psalm. For anyone who is interested, the verse is psalm 18:28 and it reads "You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; My God turns my darkness into light." 

Piercing the darkness, collage

We all have ups and downs in life, and regardless of whether or not we have a faith, I expect we can all relate to the imagery and symbolism of light and dark standing for periods of happiness and sadness, for example. In my collage I've tried to show the rays of light breaking up the darkness, thereby giving hope.

You may want to reflect on how you have used creativity to cope over the years?

How do you express yourself creatively?

Bryony Bennett

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