When I got divorced last year, I felt numb. It was as if nothing had ever happened and I was still the same. When my friends asked, I told them that I was fine — and I was, at least at the time.
A part of me felt liberated. I could do the things that I always wanted to but never could. I had more time for my hobbies, my friends, my family. I thought that that was it. I thought that was all that I’d get from my divorce — a general numbness and sense of liberation. I felt lucky. Most of my divorced friends reported feeling depressed or like a failure. But I didn’t.
But as weeks progressed and the reality settled in, I became restless.
There was no one in my home, it was empty. I had to drink my coffee alone and spend my evenings alone. I had no one to talk to the way I talked to my spouse. Then the memories started rushing back — everything about our life together seemed perfect through the kaleidoscope of my mind. But I knew it wasn’t. I felt like I was going to be alone forever and like I had failed something that I shouldn’t have failed. Something that my parents didn’t fail — love. Depression was omnipresent in my life. I couldn’t get out of it.
But then, I stumbled upon something curious.
How Art Changed My Emotions After Divorce:
I read a quote once by my good friend, Roger Grange, from 1Day2Write: “Art is untouchable and always present in our lives. Looking at it from the outside is nice but once you start creating, you get liberated and all of you is poured down on that paper.”
And truly, it was liberating.
Several months into my depression, I stumbled upon an article in the local newspaper by a woman who was diagnosed with depression and managed to keep it under control by drawing. I was entranced. Recognizing myself in her, I decided to give it a try. I mean, how bad could I possibly be? The answer was bad – very bad. But I didn’t care. No one had to see it, no one could criticize me. I explored various techniques, starting with drawing. A sharp pencil and an image in front of me to copy from wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Still, I endured for a while before I started painting.
I really got into painting. I loved that there were no clean lines — just color and emotions.
I’m not an artist so I mostly just painted abstract images. I strongly believe I was painting whatever I felt in my heart or my mood at the time. But getting it all out of my system and onto that page really improved my overall state. I was kind of happy again! My friends even noticed the improvement. I was able to go out, have fun, talk, and eat like a real human being. The drawing that worked so well for the woman in the article didn’t work for me, but it inspired me to find my own way to fight. And I did.
Benefits of drawing on your emotions after divorce.
Now, I wasn’t familiar with the science behind drawing when I first began. I just did it. However, psychologists across the world have placed significant value on art for depressed people or people with other mental health issues.
“It works because it keeps you focused. It keeps you centered. Your thoughts and feelings are all directed towards the art that you are making. You don’t even have to be good at it – but it will work,” says therapy blogger with Write My X and OriginWritings, Rachel Grimes.
Here are some of the benefits of creating art that the scientists listed:
- You create something — a product you can see and learn from.
- Looking at your art can help you understand yourself and what you need to change in your life.
- Making art means expressing yourself without the fear of criticism. This can break through your negativity.
- If you do art in a group, it can help you connect with more people.
- You learn to let go of your emotions.
And boy, were they right.
If you are not sure what else you can do to improve your mental state, here are some other therapeutic activities:
- Art therapy – drawing, painting, sculpting, coloring and so on.
- Dance therapy.
- Drama therapy.
- Music therapy.
- Writing therapy.
Over To You
Getting divorced is hard. We all know it. If at first you don’t feel that all-encompassing sadness, you will. I thought I was lucky, but I was wrong. But it’s important to know that there are always ways to help yourself, and there are always ways to recover. Art helped me. Something else might work for you. But one thing is for sure — you should never give up.
Joel Syder is a business analyst and writer with AcademicBrits. Joel works hard on helping people realize their full potential in the IT industry. He also likes to share articles on various topics as well as his personal experiences.