My daughter was recently diagnosed with POTS–postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Basically her body isn’t responding to the pull of gravity, so her blood pools when she stands up, the brain doesn’t get enough blood, it sends out panic messages, the heart races, adrenaline flows, and the poor kid ends up in a constant state of nausea, dizziness, lack of focus, and many other symptoms. Treatment involves medication, exercise, increased sodium and fluid–and it is incredibly hard work to get better. Rebecca has a good attitude, but many of the things she most enjoys aren’t feasible for her right now. To my surprise, she has turned to drawing as both a way to pass the time and as a stress reducer.
Why to my surprise? Wouldn’t you expect the child of crafty lawyer, with all those crafty forebears, to be into art? Ah, that’s not the way the world works, is iit? She always enjoyed art, but didn’t have a passion for it, even though she has great color sense. She never particularly liked making jewelry, either, especially since she could just tell me what things she liked and I would make it! But in the last couple of months that has all changed. Not only has she been drawing every day, but she designed a few necklaces as thank you presents for people.
She started out doing a pain journal, using drawing to show how she was feeling–an example below.After that, she started drawing everything, especially people, which is hard. I’ve always found that I could get the curve of a hairline or maybe a chin right, but would have trouble with the eyes or the nose–it’s interesting talking about those things with her because it helps me understand how she SEES things and how that tranlates from eye to brain to hand.
More importantly, with an illness that zaps concentration, to see her so focused on trying to capture the line of an object or the curve of a smile is exciting. None of us can figure out exactly why this kind of concentration brings her comfort, but I’m glad it does. I’ve always found that creativity, in whatever form, is an outlet that calms and energizes. I’m glad in this difficult period she, too, is finding that art brings solace.
How do you use art to calm your soul?