“My Darkness” (**Trigger Warning – Self Harm & Eating Disorder**)

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“For those who will fight bravely and not yield, there is triumphant victory over all the dark things of life.” ~ J. Allen

This is another piece that represents the confusion of emotions I feel on a regular basis.  Because of the abuse I went through, my mind and body learned to separate themselves as means of protection.  This is called dissociation.  Because of the way I would dissociate, I learned not to feel anything, even happiness.  I was an empty shell.  In the beginning of my therapy process, we worked a lot on allowing myself to feel…..to feel anything.  I had a very hard time staying present during therapy sessions because my gut reaction to feelings is to dissociate.  But slowly I learned to stay.  Sometimes it was only for a few seconds, but as time passed, I was able to stay present for longer periods of time.  I was beginning to really, truly feel emotions.  I was able to cry, be angry and even be happy at times.  This was a long and grueling process, but it was also amazing to recognize that I had something outside of my empty, dark shell of a life.

It was also during this time that I became so easily overwhelmed by emotions that I didn’t know how to deal with them.  Sometimes I slept.  Sometimes I binged and purged.  Sometimes I would cut myself.  Somehow the feeling of cutting myself was a release of my feelings, like when the blood would come out, so would the feelings.  Same thing goes for the purging too.  When I would force myself to vomit, all the feelings I had went down the toilet too.

In the process of my art therapy, I was talking to one of the therapists and he asked if I’d ever used scratch art as a way of dealing with the urges to self harm.  I had seen scratch art kits at the craft stores, but never tried them.  He suggested that maybe the physical action of scraping the paint off of a board or paper with a sharp tool could take the place of my self harm.  So I tried it and IT WORKED!!! 

This is one of the first scratch art pieces I made.  In the bottom left corner, I’m curled up.  I feel scared, alone, overwhelmed, angry and confused.  The swirls all around represent those different feelings.

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