I can list the ways May 29th is memorable – it’s a monumental day every year – it’s my birthday – but last year an event happened that will make my birthday even more monumental with each year.
It’s one of those things that we don’t like to talk about. It’s a skeleton hidden in a closet – the less people that know the better. But that’s really not true. That’s not how it should be. It’s how society and the people around us in general have spun it. Keep it to yourself because it’s bad – and if it gets out – it’s gossip fodder.
“Did you hear about her/him?”
And it gets talked about endlessly behind our backs but never to our faces.
By now you’re wondering what it is I’m talking about. Perhaps you even have speculations of your own. Here, let me share
1 year ago, I graduated from Center for Hope of the Sierras. They are a treatment center for eating disorders – but they’re special and have a program for those of us with diabetes and an eating disorder. When I say they’re special – their program seriously stands out from others because it’s not that they simply let people with diabetes into their program (not all eating disorder facilities do) but it’s a focus. It’s not a program where you go in and you have to be the expert on your diabetes and teach them – but they’re experts – they know diabetes. The dietician knows diabetes. Their nurses know diabetes. The caretakers are well versed. As a person with diabetes we see an endo who has Type 1 diabetes weekly. They know diabetes – not just knowing about diabetes – but they KNOW diabetes.
I spent 3 moths there. I put myself there. I needed help on many levels – my idea of coping with diabetes was to ignore it. I had never let it be a part of my life. There was an epic bonus to ignoring my diabetes. I could eat whatever the heck I wanted and stay thin. A beautiful marriage of twisted thoughts if you ignore how sick I was.
There are many great things that came out of my stay there – but there’s one in particular I want to focus on.
Coping Mechanisms, in particular for me – Art Therapy.
The whole reason I went down the route of coping methods that I did is I couldn’t appropriately express it and I didn’t know how to deal with it. (And honestly, people were no help because they didn’t understand.)
What I have learned in the last year is that art expresses everything. Even better – it can have a world of meaning behind it and people will see a hundred different things in that same piece of art. If you don’t want to explain it you don’t have to – but everything that you were feeling inside is no longer inside of you because it’s on a canvas or a paper or a side walk, on a napkin , on the inside of a gum wrapper – wherever you put your art – it’s no longer inside of you! That’s the short story
I’ll tell you a secret about art, because if you’re like me you’re thinking “I don’t know what to do, I have to wait for an idea. I have to wait and be inspired.” I learned that’s not true, I learned that once you start doing something, maybe it’s just doodling – art will flood from you.
For me, the therapy continues – a piece of art will reveal a meaning I didn’t see before it was done. Some art I do is created with a meaning right from the get go. Any art I create though, is an expression, a release. There’s this other quote that I found that very well puts this concept of art therapy for me:
If I could say it, I wouldn’t have to paint it. – Edward Hopper
Replace paint with any manner of art. ”say it” is the key word, we often can’t say it. We can’t express it, we can’t cope with it, and that drives us the directions we went. But with art, now there’s something. we don’t have to say it, art is expressing it, art is a manner of coping with it. It’s beautiful!