Creating as a Cure

30 Jul

 Forgetting. We all do it, and more often than not, it has such a negative connotation:

“Grandma forgot to put sugar in these cookies again. I think she’s going senile…” or

“Damn it… I set my coffee on the roof of the car before I left, but forgot to transfer it to the cup holder before reversing out. Bet someone got a jolt of java driving behind me.” or


See what I mean? Forgetfulness gets such a bad rap usually. But when it comes to ED recovery, or just living happier, I say a little dose of temporary amnesia is beneficial. It’s nice to be able to zone out from all the stressful thoughts that usually run through my head concerning weight, food, body image, insecurities, fears. That list normally occupies 90% of my thinking everyday, which I’m trying to change because really, it’s such a waste of intelligence. I think my gray matter needs a detox from all the detrimental thoughts the ED bombards it with, and that’s where art comes in.

For the longest time, I thought since I did so well in school, excelled in math and science, loved puzzles and nonfiction, I couldn’t be “creative” or “artsy.” When I was little, I loved drawing, painting, dancing, baking, and most of all, daydreaming. But as I matured, I picked up the message from society that I was supposed to be successful, bright, and driven, and any of those activities were distractors. Hippies, children, professional artists, and people with a dominant right brain could do art, but not me. No, if I wanted to study science or math, I had no time to “waste” on being creative.

Art, however, is an expression of emotion. In retrospect, I see a correlation between the development of my ED as a coping tool for my feelings quickly after I pushed the creative activities I loved out of my life. To survive the difficulty I was going through and no creative outlet, I turned to my eating disorder. Perhaps it’s the only thing my ED was good for- it helped me through an extremely heart-wrenching emotional time by giving me a sense of order and stability when everything was chaos. No, it was not the best coping tool, but it kept alive and functioning. I felt, and still do sometimes, that the mental struggle will overwhelm me; a riptide of anxiety, depression, or grief that will never let go.

 So, I starved away the sadness, binged back the tears, fasted of fear, heaved up the humiliation.

But I am a different person now. Through art, I don’t need an ED to forget about my troubles and numb myself from feeling. Today, I turn to photography, scrapbooking, knitting, pinterest collaging, cooking, writing(this blog!) and simply forget about everything but the art I am creating. The ED was successful in helping me cope because, through it, I lost myself. Literally. Art has helped me lose the eating disorder, and find myself again.

If you’d like to see some of the photography I’ve been snapping up, take a look at my new “Photography” Page at the top of the page.

Don’t FORGET to create something today!!!


4 Responses to “Creating as a Cure”

  1. menia August 2, 2011 at 7:21 AM #

    Hey!Just found your blog and i really like it.
    I agree with u. I used to draw when i was a kid but then i stopped it. i don’t know why. and the worst is that since i was 18 years old till my 22 years i did nothing. It’s the last 2 years(i’m 24 now) that i’ve started to be creative again. creation makes you a more self confident person 🙂

    • eodwyer August 2, 2011 at 1:19 PM #

      It’s so true- creativity really does give you confidence. I’m so glad you like the blog- it truly has made an enormous difference in my recovery and the writing is another form of creativity for me. I’ll continue posting about my photography and art in recovery, so I hope you’ll keep reading.
      I read the post you linked to mine in and absolutely related to it. I too have felt “lost,” and have lost so many years doing nothing but starving myself. It sounds like you’ve found yourself and your creativity again. It certainly shows in your writing- it’s gorgeous.


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