If you did not already know, I have epilepsy. I’ve had my first seizure at age 7, and a handful since then. Thankfully I also have what doctors call “auras” and what I call “de ja vus.” This has been my saving grace when it comes to driving. All this to say, that onSeptember 28, 2015 I attended the Epilepsy Foundation Northwest’s Art Therapy Project. I had no idea what to expect, but I was totally moved by the stories of other epilepsy patients. For about an hour we worked on process-based masks to represent the two side of our experiences; as active citizens and as lonely sufferers. It’s a similar project I did with at-risk-youth students of the Philadelphia Mural Art’s ArtWorks Program in 2009. At that time though we were working through ways of depicting social pressures and internal feelings for teens in West Phili.
At the EFNW Art Therapy ProjectI had a chance to really hear about what other people with epilespy struggle with. I was moved by all the ways in which they have overcome and what they do to stay seizure free! It was amazing. I’m glad to have had the time to attend.
Here is the mask that I made to represent the two-sides of my epilepsy. The dark storm and lighting is the way in which the brain undergoes a complex seizure. It is quite literally a lighting storm in the head! The inside of the mask depicts dragon qualities. I used pine cone parts and a bottle cap to create 3D and 2D scales. I see my seizures as a sleeping dragon. It is when I stack up a couple of the right triggers that the dragon awakes. Sometimes it can take a while to get it back to sleep.
If you or someone you know has seizures, please check out your local Epilepsy Foundation. They are a nationwide network of independent non-profit facilities. They do a lot of outreach, including programs such as the Art Therapy Project I attended on September 28, 2015.