Epilepsy & Art

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How do we define art and what constitutes as art?

Such a wide spectrum of specialties and skills but what impact does that have on each person?

If you walk into an art gallery more often than not you’ll overhear conversations of how a particular painting makes someone feel, what stands out to them and how that emotion or feeling manifests itself.  That is a typical response and demonstrates the intensity one receives from someone else’s creativity.

Art has many more therapeutic uses associated to it.  Because the spectrum of art is so vast, different types will have various effects.  Drawing and painting is a regular practice used for children and adults as a means of expression if they are unable to verbalize something.   So where does that leave epilepsy?

Like the above example, drawing and painting is a method of self-expression.  Coloring books are all the rage as it is proven to relax and relieve stress.  Stress in itself is a classic symptom which increases seizure activity.

For me, I have always been more creative and artistic than I ever was academic.  I scraped by in academic subjects but my highest grades were always, art, textiles, music, dance etc.  Being creative transports me to another place.  It’s a place of peace where I forget the stresses of everyday life, seizures and really exercise a part of my brain which feeds my soul.

Over the years having trained as a dancer and then pursued a career in theatre for a time, I travelled and taught arts and crafts, stained glass and drawing.  I was also immersed in the judicial system and administration in various forms for many years and while I gained many skills, I found it to be constricting and I seemed to just exist from one day to the next.

One of the other issues with working in those admin areas was the stress and constant feeling of having to prove myself as an epileptic; that I was just as good as those without epilepsy; that I could work as fast and as efficiently, but I always wondered and was concerned what people thought of me and that my ability was being questioned.  This became an endless cycle of stress and my absences always increased during these situations.

Now, I’m currently in the throws of laying the foundations for a business.  I am eager to work for myself, to navigate my way and one of my products will be glass related.  Being active in the artistic world gives me a real sense of freedom.  The world is my oyster, I feel good enough and I don’t worry about whether I will match up to the standard and quality of colleagues’ work.  Now I am proud and love what I do.

The creative process is unique and to know I have produced that, to look at glass and go through the motions of bringing a vision to life is nothing short of magical.  I lose myself in each step of creation because all I feel is joy.  Being alone also helps me to be calm.  So often interacting with people whether it’s friends, family or acquaintances, the energy and focus necessary to engage in conversation and piece together the communication of words or sentences I have missed is exhausting.  If I’m on my own working I have a clearer head.

It’s easy to get caught up with life and all its requirement but making time for something creative is so important.  I’ve had many people tell me they’re not that way inclined, but that’s why coloring books are there, it’s simple or why not take a chance and try something new?  You may just find that you excel and this brings you a therapeutic relaxation which will improve your health.

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”

– Pablo Picasso

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2 thoughts on “Epilepsy & Art

  1. I’m brand new here, but I couldn’t resist commenting.
    You’ve expressed something I’ve been struggling to articulate. While I don’t necessarily have a lot of artistic talent, art therapy forms a crucial piece of my mental health routine.

    Like

    1. Hi Gabe, thank you so much for your comment. It’s always helpful when people reach out and express being able to relate to these situations. I’m so pleased it has been of help to you. Art isn’t about producing a Van Gogh standard for example, it’s about what you get out of it and what it means to you. Neither is it about judgement, it’s about enjoyment and if there are health benefits on top of that (which as far as I’m concerned they go hand in hand) then we have all hit the jackpot.

      Liked by 1 person

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