Using Art to Process Trauma

This blog is challenging to write but necessary to share. It’s a big part of my journey as an artist.

When I was 18, I embarked on a new adventure far away from home. Three months in, I was sexually assaulted. I couldn’t find the words to express my anger, sadness, and shame, so I kept it all inside. I turned to alcohol to numb my feelings. Then one night, I picked up my sketchbook and quickly realized that through art I could confront my emotions in a way that would allow me to release my trauma without saying a single word. As a result, I put the Vodka away, and art became my powerful tool in helping me process and eventually heal from the painful experience.

Finding My Voice Through Painting
I had always enjoyed painting, but it was after the assault that I began to use art as a form of therapy. When my emotions got the best of me, and my words failed, painting let me quietly express my feelings without needing to use a single word. As soon as I took up my brush and started creating, it felt like everything else melted away—at least for those moments while I painted. When I let the tears run down my cheeks with every brush stroke, I released the pain, the sadness, and the shame. It became an escape from reality when all other options failed me.

Coming To Terms With My Experiences
Through painting, I eventually began confronting my own experiences head-on. Expressing myself through art allowed me to come to terms with what had happened in ways that words could never have done justice. Painting gave me some control back over something that felt so out of my control at first – the power of creativity enabled me to convert what I was feeling and transform something so dark into something meaningful and beautiful instead.

Sharing My Story
Once I felt more comfortable talking about what had happened, art became even more significant in helping me share my story with others. It allowed me to have a difficult conversation with my mom and friends, who could not relate unless they had been through something similar.

Through the process, I learned that art is a powerful form of communication because everyone can interpret it differently; no one will ever know exactly what you meant when you created it – which can be freeing at times. Whether you choose to share your story with others or simply keep your artwork private, creating art can be a great way to process difficult emotions while still respecting your boundaries if you’re not ready or willing to discuss them openly yet. The process helped give me back the power taken away from me on the day– both literally and figuratively speaking!

As an artist, creating artwork has become an incredibly meaningful part of processing and healing long-term. For anyone struggling to process their trauma, creating art might just be the perfect way for them to express themselves without words. It is an empowering act that allows us survivors to take back control over our stories – even if only for just one moment in time!

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