MSPals co-founder Mary Pettigrew was diagnosed with RRMS in 2001 and quickly turned to art therapy as a way to cope with her new diagnosis. Mary wrote poetry that was, in her own words, dark, yet therapeutic.
"Art therapy meant so many things besides the fact I could have a better sense of self. I felt I didn't have to take medication all of the time to relieve anxiety and/or depression."
Writing poetry was not only a way Mary coped with her diagnosis but also how she chose to confront the realities of her divorce. "I took to [writing poetry] with a zealous passion. What am I going to be? What is the next chapter of my life?"
So, what is art therapy and how can you do it? According to the American Art Therapy Associaton, art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem."
Of course, you don't need permission to create art. Whether you are writing a poem, or painting a masterpiece, this holistic approach to managing symptoms brought on by chronic illness such as multiple sclerosis can not only assist in improving feelings brought on by illness (or divorce), but allows you to explore the deepest areas of your being with one ultimate goal: Healing.
Have you created art inspired by your MS? If so, please use the form below to share your story AND your art! We can't wait to see your creations and learn how creating art helped your MS.