At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Friday, 13 March 2015

Art and Recovery :)

...Well I say "recovery" but perhaps a more appropriate title would be...The role of Art in Life, or something like that? Because, I mean...I think the pleasure and enjoyment that can be extracted from art can't really be underestimated...whatever stage you are at. Recovery has essentially rekindled many of my old interests from long ago...interests which I have overlooked and neglected for the past 9 years or so. I was so caught up in my eating disorder, so preoccupied with eating disorder thoughts and anxieties, that many of the things that I once loved to do were forgotten about, cast aside. But now I have reconnected with many of these long-lost passions, and am beginning to experience them for myself once again, win back the senses of delight and enjoyment that they evoked for me. And art, in its various different forms, was just one of them.

What I would like to talk to you about is the benefits of doing art in recovery...or indeed everyday doesn't matter whether you are in recovery, recovered, or have never been touched in any way by an eating disorder. Whatever the case may be, we all know that our lives are never as carefree and as idealistic as we would like them to be. There is bound to be stress, concern or anxiety in some form or other.

I am an avid believer in the principle that releasing the pent-up feelings that have built up in a stifling, burdensome bundle of thoughts in the head is extremely helpful in recovery and stressful situations. Talking to someone is probably the best thing you could do, always. Writing, of course, is also so helpful, and it's something which i do regularly of course as you probably already know! One thing I would suggest, though. If in the moment you feel so overwhelmed or upset you can't bring yourself to speak to anyone - write down the thoughts, the anger, the words the Voice is saying, whatever. And then in a short while, when the feelings aren't quite so intense, look over what you wrote and talk to someone.

Anyway...back to art - the main point of this post, haha :p what I wanted to get across to you was, that giving the creative side of your brain a little free rein, is such a helpful and rewarding thing to do in recovery (in the everyday life of those who are healthy). And through art, emotions, anxieties, thoughts, feelings and fears can all be expressed.

And sometimes...sometimes when it all gets too much, I find there is just something so, so soothing and calming about sitting down in a quiet, warm room in a comfortable high-backed chair with a little table in front of you. And just sitting there and doing some art..using whatever art tools you feel like, for as long as you like. Using your heart to guide your hands rather than your head. As this, I think, is when the most beautiful and inspiring images are created.

Anyway. I AM going to write a bit more on this topic, as I really want to testify the points I made above properly and endevour to demonstrate to you the value and importance of art in today's world. What you, the artist, choose to create, is entirely up to you...and it doesn't have to be difficult, or complicated...and especially not flawless. we are humans, not robots. What you make doesn't have to be flawless. It is perfect and beautiful in all of its own individual uniqueness, just like you. :) <3 xxxx

Two of my much-loved completed Painting by Numbers pictures on the Welsh dresser at home <3 xxx

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