Thrilled to be featuring among other great artists from our diabetes community reflecting on life with diabetes in this article by Weronika Burkot (@typeone.bluesugarcube).
The Diabetic Survivor is a visual designer from the USA. He has been living with Type 1 diabetes since 1997. He created The Diabetic Survivor to raise diabetes awareness using design to connect with, raise questions, and empower people with diabetes. He wants to bring some joy and happiness to the diabetes community by touching certain aspects of the “diabetes world”. Among his various illustrations, he is sharing interesting facts from the history of diabetes in “The Diabetes Time-Machine” series.
by Weronika Burkot
See the complete article below 👇
The therapeutic role of art
Art functions as an intermediary between your brain and who you are as a person. It works on the thought level, the feeling level, and behavioral level. Through the art process, we are acting out emotions. When creating art, our defenses go down and it allows our unconscious self to come out. Creating art can effectively support our thinking in many ways, like igniting our intuition, bringing beauty into our lives, helping us understand more, developing our imagination and communication with other people.
“Art Therapy is a Mental Health Profession that uses the creative process of art-making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.” – The American Art Therapy Association
It is normal to see a doctor when we feel unwell but is still seen as an embarrassment to see mental health professionals when we struggle in life. This misconception can stop people from getting the help that they need. Going to therapy is not a sign of sickness or weakness but indicators of strengths and survivals.
Life with diabetes brings us many challenges every day. Diabetes is often unpredictable, and this can be very frustrating. Anyone living with diabetes knows that having a chronic disease can affect both mental and physical health. Constant checking, testing, estimating, calculating, observing, and solving various diabetes-related issues without even a single day off. Feelings of frustration, exhaustion, and even hopelessness can build up and, if ignored, potentially lead to more serious mental health problems. It is not a secret that people with diabetes are at greater risk of depression and suicide than the general population.
For many people with diabetes, it is hard to talk about their problems. Image-making makes a good tool because words can be hard to find, and they can be even harder to speak when you are traumatized or overwhelmed with some event, e.g., diabetes diagnosis. When you express yourself creatively, the tension is released and in the art form you can see your problem, you can touch your problem, you have the chance to contemplate, reflect and find ways to cope with it. The method is different, but the goal is the same: to have a more fulfilling life.
Type 1 diabetes artists community
With the advent of many amazing diabetes artists, diabetes became a part of the art world. These artists are striving to make a change for the diabetes community through their creativity. They are not only inspiring, motivating and making people with diabetes smile, but also raising awareness by showing life with diabetes in an original, visual way. As it is often said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”.