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.