Guest Blog by Jennifer Scott
Bipolar disorder affects millions of Americans, yet the many different treatments available work differently for everyone. Whether it’s medication, therapy, or a combination of the two, it can be hard for sufferers of bipolar disorder to find a balance that’s good for them.
Many people turn to alternative medicine or therapies to aid them in their journey to a healthy mindset, and art therapy is one of these. Being creative can be enormously helpful for people who suffer from depression, violent mood swings, or manic episodes, and there are so many ways to express oneself that it’s easy to find something for everyone. Here are a few of the best ways to use art therapy to help cope with bipolar disorder.
Even if you think you don’t have a talent for drawing or painting, give it a try. Many people are creative and don’t even know it because they haven’t attempted to express it before. Keep a small sketchbook and pencils with you while traveling so that you can jot down a quick drawing when inspiration hits; visual art is all about practice, practice, practice.
Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t satisfied with your results the first several times you try it. Many working artists put pencil to paper for years and still aren’t completely satisfied with their work. The key is to keep going and to try several different mediums. Watercolor, charcoal, acrylic, oils, and pastels are all wonderful things to try. Get a feel for which one you like best.
Dance is a very expressive form of art. Music can have a wonderful, uplifting effect on mood and dancing allows those with various disorders–including anxiety and PTSD–to express themselves and work through negative emotions.
Creative writing or journaling is a great way for people struggling with mood disorders to cope and figure out new ways to express emotions. It can also be a good way for those who have struggled with alcohol or drug abuse to work through any obstacles that are in their path.
Photography can be a wonderful way to see the world with new eyes. It doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby; take a disposable camera to a local park and snap some pics of the landscape, or crouch down and take photos from a new perspective. Seeing things in a new way can help immensely when trying to learn new methods of thought.
Alongside creative writing, poetry can help a person get in tune with their innermost thoughts and memories. It’s a very personal form of writing that can allow the writer to find root causes for certain behaviors, which can be immensely helpful in coping with bipolar disorder.
Jennifer Scott knows how difficult it can be to live with anxiety and depression. She has experienced both since she was in her teens. Today, she writes about the ups and downs of her mental illness on SpiritFinder.org. The blog serves as both a source of information for people with mental illness and a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can come together to discuss their experiences.