Of all of the human accomplishments through the ages, none capture the beauty of our soul to the same degree as art. Art is an activity unique to humans, and is perhaps the most significant way we differ from our animal relatives. Art transcends the individual, the collective, time, and space. Art in many ways is eternal. The impact of one person’s art, if forever forgotten in it’s truest form, is reproduced again and again through the impressions of those that first drank it in.
Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog post – blogging for mental health.
I started this blog just over three weeks ago, on what would become the tail end of my time in the Department of Psychiatry. During the spring months, I held many conflicted feelings on the field. I was not happy professionally and yet mental health remained, and remains, something very important to me. My self reflection led to a conclusion – that I needed an outlet. So I started the blog.
And it’s helped. I went into medicine for a reason, to be a support for those in need. I hope I’ve lent myself to you. But I cannot understate the support you’ve given me by helping my spirit be at peace!
I’m not alone in this. The catharsis of art is undeniable and the positive impacts of art on our mental health have been documented for decades. Our human languages are beautiful, and often fail to describe the emotions many of us are feeling. Art provides a medium for expression, unquestionable expression, because you know at the end of the day that you’ve done this for you.
On a clinical level, I often recommend art to patients when they are suffering. And even when they are not. I’m often met with a comments like, “I don’t know how to paint,” to which I usually respond, “neither do I!” Art can be as simple as rearranging your bookshelf. Taking in a movie. Or writing a blog.
Dr. Travis Barron is a resident physician in Toronto, Canada.