The opportunity to dive into my creative side presented itself while I was recovering & adjusting to living with vasculitis, a chronic inflammatory condition.
My journey with Changing Lanes came into existence when I attended the British Society of Rheumatology annual conference in Glasgow, UK in April 2016. I was invited to display some of my art work at the patient event held during the conference.
Conversations with others in similar situations as well as health and allied health professionals about my experience with creativity transforming the illness experience, paved the way. I turned the leaf over to the "New beginnings " chapter in my life.
After losing myself in the illness, this was my first step towards re-inventing my identity with creativity and art. The creative experience helped to express what I was feeling and going through from a deeper place of understanding. The somatic, attitudinal, social aspects of coping and living expressed through digital art.
From my experience, adapting to find ways around limitations plays a key role in rebuilding confidence and progressing forward.
Using Digital software
When it comes to people suffering from Rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions, they have to deal with the constraints from the general disability from the illness but also the physical limitations to express the "art" in their mind.
How did I overcome this problem?
On repeated use of my hands, they become numb, dead and painful. I found the use of digital medium my adaptation as it enabled me to use light touch with minimal effort and alternate hands. Less pain and fatigue became apparent in my hands and arms compared to using a paint brush on canvas or charcoal on paper.
This new found freedom to explore myself through the world of colours and creative expression gave rise to my present work.
Digital media has transformed the in the landscape of social networking allowing wider interaction/collaboration and sharing through a variety of platforms and forums.
Digital medium use in the context of art therapy;
- use of apps in mobiles/tablets/computers
- Internet and social media to archive and share art and personal reflections
- sharing contributes to interpersonal connections, social learning, generates a sense of
achievementand increases self-worth
There's a lot of scope to promote and develop the role of digital medium for creative expression as a holistic approach to care given the wealth of studies illustrating the beneficial effects of integrating creativity and healing in long-term conditions. Especially for people who have difficulties with using a paint brush or charcoal stick due to physical limitations, the digital medium is a great solution - it works very well for me.
Connect. Contribute. Collaborate.
To be seen, heard & included gives more control over day to day living.
Using my art work, I aim to raise awareness by exploring creative expression as a tool for people facing challenging circumstances due to illness, disability or emotional trauma.
Through my work, I would like to contribute towards raising public awareness of the following:
The life-changing course invisible, inflammatory conditions tend to have on patients. The ripple effects it causes on numerous aspects of their lives.
Harnessing the creative side to cope with day-to-day challenges brought on by the illness can be constructive as well as an enjoyable pursuit.
The role of art in long term illness, it's potential therapeutic benefits and its use in the multidisciplinary approaches to self-management.
To promote the role of digital apps/medium for creativity, especially for people with functional limitations due to Rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions.