Teachable Moment #2 | Art Therapy Series

Hello again, my friends!! Welcome back to the spankin’ new teachable moment, art therapy series!! 😀 *flaps hands in the air back and forth* That’s the sign of my utter joy and excitement 😉

So, this one is relatively simple today and involves a few pathways of journey. There’s more writing in this one than the first one, and it’s only one sided. The funny thing about doing these, so far, is how much work I have to do to decipher just what the hell the instructions were to begin with and how that explains what’s on the piece of paper XD

Any who! I believe this one was our map to Recovery. Here’s what I did:


The goal was to draw what our road map was towards Recovery. I created 3 different paths, one for depression (in blue), one for the OCD (in red) and one for the suicidal ideation (in black). I also included phrases within the paths that involved things I either told myself or that other people told me. Throughout each path way there are yellow strips when the light brightened and Recovery Progress were made. There are more loop de loops with the OCD (some of them are cyclic if you look closely) and there are stopping/dead end points with the suicidal ideation, showing how I reached points where my values overran my ‘desire’ to harm myself, and I reached out for help instead. 🙂

In the Depression category these are the phrases listed:

“Depression is a haze, but the clouds will clear”

“I can see you’re struggling.”

“I support you”

“I’m here for you”

“This will pass”

“Are you okay?”

“Stay safe”

“You’re doing the best you can”

“You can be okay again”

In the suicidal ideation category:

“Talk to someone”

“I want you to live”

“I want you to overcome this”

“This is not the only way out”

“I want you to get better”

“Stay safe”

“This is not the right way”

“I’m worried about you”

“I love you”

“You can get through this”

“Hope exists”

“Things get better”

And in the OCD category:

“That is not a threat”



“Let it go”

“You are not your diagnosis”

“That’s just my brain doing its thing again”

“Thoughts are just thoughts”

“Break the cycle”

“Stay safe”


“Everything will be okay”

And then, if you can see, all three paths join together again and brighten out to the banner of Recovery. (Which is particularly interesting because I made Jeanine this type of watercolor this year:


Created with watercolor pencils :3 That’s how I started getting into watercolor. 🙂 Neat, huh?

This reminds me of how sometimes I’m not as original as I may think, since often I’ve come up with an idea or phrase MONTHS before I start using it heavily. That, at least I think, is interesting! 🙂 Recovery then, is a process that just grows on you.

You can see with each pathway there are a similar breadth of concerns:

That life will get better, it’s important to stay safe, that Hope exists, and that Recovery is possible.

Some of the techniques I listed like mindfulness have been incredibly helpful in my journey towards Recovery.

It’s also nice to see how my eventual belief in myself and others to get through the cruddy moments began. Of course, it was propelled forwards even farther from this song:

And it’s how I still hold that belief for my friends out there who are struggling today, that I KNOW they will recover and get through the hardest times. I know they’re strong enough, and I’ll hold onto hope for them, until they’re able to take it into their own hands, too. It makes me think a little bit about this photograph I did years ago:

IMG_2405 Rocky 3

In this, I am holding a jar with a broken butterfly inside of it, and there is a flashlight held between my legs that is shining through it. The photograph is meant to symbolize inner potential and inner strength, no matter what the outside may feel like. From April 2014

The inspiration for this theme in our Photography Club on campus was ‘Interpretation of Inspiration’ And I used these song lyrics:

“Although today you may weep ’cause you’re weak / And everything seems so bleak and hopeless / The light that you’re seeking it begins to seep in / That’s the only thing keeping you from leaping off the motherfreakin’ deep end” – “Beautiful Pain” by Eminem ft. Sia

For an added bonus, since we’re on the topic, these are the other photos I included in this theme:

IMG_9415 - Rocky 1

A black&white photo of my hand with the sunlight flaring over it. From a stairwell in the Wheatley building on campus. Feb. 11.2014

IMG_1967 - Rocky 2

My boldest piece at the time. I wasn’t open yet about my struggles (in fact, I didn’t know I had any) but I was passionate about suicide prevention (although not nearly as much as I am now) and so I made this piece, because this piece was the most I interpreted from the song lyrics. Meant to represent a ledge, of course. Taken at school, April 2014

IMG_2509 - Rocky 4

This one features a broken, decayed bench but sunlight still reaching through the empty woods to bring hope to it. This concept still makes me smile. April 2014

So, what’s there to learn or take away from this teachable moment?

Well, the pathway to Recovery is not a linear journey for one. And there are many paths and detours and dead ends we may face before we get to the point in our lives where we’re able to feel free and happy more days than the days we feel irritated and drudgery. Life is a complex wonder for many of us, and I believe it’s important to hold onto hope and all the dreams a person can imagine so as not to become corrupted or empty inside. Or, unfulfilled, as they say.

It’s natural to want more, but seeking perfection is unattainable. It’s important to recognize when you’ve done the best you can and to find satisfaction in that process rather than the outcome, whether that outcome is good or bad.

That’s a lot of what mindfulness is about. About accepting the presence of thoughts or emotions in a nonjudgmental manner, that allows them to exist and pass by as they naturally will. As well as to find bliss and light in the moment, engaged in it 100%, rather than getting caught up in the past or the future.

It’s a useful skill to learn, and a pretty great stress buster too. But, we’ll talk more about Mindfulness another day.

I suppose it’s important to just keep in mind that things in life that we are dealt with aren’t usually fair or deserved. Shit just happens, sometimes. And it’s up to us what we choose to do with those circumstances. We may not be able to control very much in our chaotic lives, though we do control our actions and behavior. If you can’t change your thoughts or emotions, at least you can act within your line of values. And for what you can’t change, just remember, you’re doing the best you can. And give yourself credit for doing that, because some people never do.

Recovery IS possible. Remember that, too. Until next time, my friends. ❤ ❤ ❤


Stay safe.