I started the art therapy program in 2018 with the illusion that I was healed enough from my past trauma. However, I relied on the chaos of my life to feel safe. I did not fully understand that I was running away from my trauma instead of facing it. Being part of this program helped me to face these issues with a sturdy foundation and balance. The art I created became a daily reflection of my post-traumatic growth. Each crisis that came into my life made me stop and honor them with my tears and art process.
At the program’s start, I received news that a fellow combat veteran had committed suicide. Then I lost a long-term friendship who stole a family heirloom from me. The lock-down orders were a loss of my habitual lifestyle. I revisited the violence I had endured in a previous marriage. Then I found out the news about my family members’ limited life expectancy. I created art around each loss.
Creating art was the only thing that helped me stay present with myself and others. I started the junk journaling process to help me grieve. I was able to explore the grief I experienced and foster self-awareness through the creative process. Junk journaling allowed me to reauthor my story, investigate my post-traumatic growth, and encourage self-regulation.