Even though, as a child, LisaDiana was happy, witty, creative and compassionate, she spent the last thirty years of her life suffering daily from undiagnosed co-morbid mental illnesses. Despite many hospital stays, psychiatrists’ visits, therapists’ visits, medications and treatment plans, the medical community never pinpointed what her brain chemistry issues were or created a treatment plan that alleviated her mental anguish.
It wasn’t until her life and health fell apart after an intensely traumatic two and a half years, did LisaDiana give up trying to live, let alone be a productive member of society. She retreated to her bed and hoped every night she’d never wake up while her family tried to find one more psychiatrist to treat her.
After being evaluated by a new psychiatrist, LisaDiana underwent a relatively new medical treatment and attended therapy sessions with a therapist trained in that treatment. After two months of treatment, LisaDiana began to recognize a positive change in her mental state and that was all she needed to summon up the remaining bits of resolve and determination to get better.
During months of treatment, therapy, cognitive re-training and medicine trials/titrations, LisaDiana revisited old hobbies that used to give her joy. Her two favorites were creating art and playing the flute. She was tentative, at first, because she couldn’t sight read and had no formal art education. But, one day, LisaDiana took out her simple art supplies and began to draw geometric shapes inside a large circle. Time passed in the blink of an eye and hours later, LisaDiana had drawn a Mandala.
Never having had self confidence, LisaDiana actually smiled as she gazed upon her drawing because she was filled with a sense of accomplishment and pride. She also noticed that, while engaged in the art creation process, her mind was calm yet focused. Her body was relaxed and her mood was light. This experience also gave her the courage to pick up her flute, after twenty years, and attempt to play a piece that she had played in high school. She noticed she experienced the same positive psychological and physical effects as when she was drawing.
After a few weeks of greatly enjoying art and music making, LisaDiana gathered the courage to submit four art pieces and a flute recording to an upcoming gallery exhibit. To her delight, all were accepted which just motivated her to continue to create and play.
When LisaDiana shared her experiences with her new psychiatrist, after exuberant congratulations, the doctor said something that LisaDiana reminds herself daily— “Art is Spirit”. It was then that LisaDiana realized in order to be in active recovery from her mental illnesses, brain chemistry, cognitive strategies, physical health and Spirit need to be treated simultaneously. LisaDiana continues to tend to her Spirit through the Arts.