Art therapy provides patients with a way to re-author the narrative of their illness.
Research shows that art fills the void often left by chronic illness. It distracts thoughts away from illness, promotes the experience of flow and spontaneity, enables the expression of grief, and helps patients maintain a positive identity. Art is more than cathartic. It offers a means of overcoming the restrictions imposed by illness on one's self, in many cases creating a more enriched lifestyle.1
Amy VanDyke, a vestibular patient, says:
"I have found a way to use my former hobby of painting as a great stress relieving (and hopefully someday) profitable occupation. I was diagnosed with meniers in late 2013 after breaking my foot and referring myself to an ENT. I was sent to the University of Michigan to a neurologist and had a labyrinthectomy shortly thereafter. A few months later, I became bilateral. I used art as my personal therapy.
"A friend whose husband is a quadriplegic visited me during my recovery from surgery and we decided to work together. Due to our many obstacles, we are only able to meet a couple of times a month and trade art for the other to finish. This has resulted in us being invited to show in several local art hops in our city.
"In a strange twist, my business partner has recently been diagnosed with BPPV. In spite of our challenges, we are both hopeful and positive."
Check out Amy's Facebook page.
See more of Amy's art: