Over just under 6 months, I was blindsided by not one, but two cancer diagnoses.
In September 2022, my daughter was diagnosed with colon cancer, and learned a mere few months later that her disease was incurable. My turn came in January 2023, when I received a diagnosis of breast cancer.
To help me overcome this devastating news, I turned to a psychologist. I shared with her about the creative journal I’d been keeping, and how it proved to be such a positive action. My psychologist then spoke to me about the benefits of art therapy and the workshops offered by the Quebec Cancer Foundation. I was drawn to these possibilities on the spot and quickly enrolled!
Deepening the need
I began attending art therapy workshops for people with cancer in the spring of 2023, and this at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont. During exchanges with the art therapist, I became aware that what preoccupied me the most was my role as a caregiver for my daughter who was also ill. This particular concern is what I most needed to let out, to express on paper. And in fact, this is what led me to sign up for virtual art therapy workshops for loved ones.
Relaxation and sharing: essential support for loved ones too
These activities have been incredibly helpful. Art therapy provides me with a vehicle other than words for expressing my emotions.
Because sometimes, I can’t imagine how I could ever verbalize all that I’m feeling. Yet art therapy offers me a way to do this. Every time I put pen to paper, draw a line, or turn to a certain color, I feel a certain release. And this release is actually more physical than anyone could ever imagine.
Every gesture is associated with an inspiration (think breathing), then an expiration. It’s a gift that I give myself once a week, a gift that transports me elsewhere and allows me to forget my difficult daily routine for a moment. And what to say of the wonderful people I’ve met who share my sorrows and understand me, all in a safe and respectful setting. For me, it’s a pure moment for merely creating and even more. A moment focused on openness and sharing.