Art as Therapy for TBI- Brain Injury Awareness Month Essay

Typically, the second post of the month is about pop culture. I have something planned for that but I didn’t plan my time appropriately so I will shift my schedule and do an essay this week and the pop culture post next week.

Thursday I had my brain injury support group (we meet via video conferencing now since COVID) and we talked about feeling broken with a brain injury. There are certainly days I feel like I am one of the misfit toys but today I wanted to talk about the various coping mechanisms that I gravitate to on days when I feel extra brain injury or extra broken.

Images from Pixabay and BIAA and graphics designed by me using the Over app

Disclaimer: I am not an artist but I wanted to show how I use art as therapy.

I have always been someone who loved to write and tell stories. It’s really only after the brain injury that I have dabbled in telling my own story (the memoir about my brain injury that I’m writing). Yet writing and especially writing my brain injury story can be daunting and hard on my injured brain. I have various ways to cope with that, some healthier than others (I have a real weakness for sweets) but I would like to talk about art as coping and how I use it.

I’m hardly talking about anything new here in my discussion of art as therapy since there is a whole profession based around it: art therapy. In fact, when I was just out of my coma and in the hospital I did art therapy. I remember (!) painting a porcelain frog. Now I have continued with art but it came about very naturally and I really didn’t seek it out for therapy but it has just naturally turned into a calming and soothing force in my life.

Like most therapy, my art takes two forms: escapism and self-expression/storytelling.

Escapist Art

I have been decorating for Easter so cute seasonal art like this is definitely an escape.

I enjoy drawing and painting pictures of Selby that are seasonal.

Storytelling Art

I did a few things for this blog post to show how I tell my story through art.

This is clearly inspired by the great Snoopy! I used a combination of Posca Pens (a Japanese paint pen I got on Amazon) and water color.

My attempt at digital illustration showing the 3 me’s!

I have started an “Art Inspiration” board on Pinterest and through that I have found some fun styles and techniques. I found a few artists on Pinterest and then Instagram that are very talented and do fun videos, etc. This one, @gracevelyn_art does a watercolor and pen style that I just started trying myself. Check out her art and videos here.

As I mentioned, my Traumatic Brain Injury can cause me to feel “broken” and “off” some days, and every day I feel entirely different than I did pre-TBI. I have found that reading, writing, and spending time using electronic devices can just exacerbate any feeling of brokenness on heavy TBI days. Drawing, painting, and crafting allow me to step outside the brain injury for a bit, and for that I will always be grateful.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Since March is Brain Injury Awareness Month I want to list some resources and some of my previous Brain Injury Awareness Month posts.

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is a good resource for information of advocacy in America. The past two years their campaign for March was “Change Your Mind.” This year, the March Brain Injury Awareness Month theme is “More Than My Brain Injury.” Click here to view the “More Than My Brain Injury” campaign.

My previous blogs on Brain Injury Awareness Month: Change your Mind- Brain Injury Awareness Month” (2019), “March is Brain Injury Awareness Month” (2019), “Monthly Writing Update: March is for Memoir” (2019), “How my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has Affected my Hearing” (2019). And in 2020 I did each monthly feature for Brain Injury Awareness Month: book review. pop culture, essay, and writing update. And last week I began my annual posts with a discussion of the new theme: More Than My Brain Injury.

Daily Doodle Featured Project of the Week

I got some new pens that allow me to watercolor paint over them and they don’t bleed. This is becoming my signature illustration style: jokey drawings of Selby. She basically is my own personal Snoopy!

A Selby Sweetie Conclusion

Selby was zonked out and my Mom was trying to wake her up! Remember when you were little and would fall asleep before bed and your parents would have to wake you up to get you to actual bed? I used to hate that feeling! Well seeing this happen to Selby brings me back.
Selby got her hair cut yesterday and they put a pretty bow on her!

3 thoughts on “Art as Therapy for TBI- Brain Injury Awareness Month Essay

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