Art Therapy

Ok so I have rather stolen the name of this blog from the Joe Harkness and his blog/book. In Bird Therapy Joe explores the therapeutic benefits of birdwatching for people experiencing difficulties with their mental health after suffering with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and other mental health issues himself.

Bird Therapy - Joe Harkness

For the last few years I to have struggled with mental health issues and as with Joe it has been OCD. I don’t want to dwell on this for too long as I want this to be a positive post, but I will say that in recent months I have been to some pretty dark places. I have had this ability to hide it from everyone, including family and friends but clearly it had gone to another level and I was struggling to do cover things up. If it wasn’t for the intervention from an unexpected source who knows where I would be. I also would like to point out that OCD isn’t exactly how the media portrays it.
I can honestly say that I have never used the line “I’m a little bit OCD” and then laughed. I have said that I have OCD and its bloody terrifying. If you don’t really understand what OCD is then I would suggest visiting the OCD-UK website and if you haven’t read Bird Therapy, do it. Its a frank and honest account of the issues Joe has faced and the first 10 pages or so perfectly sums up some of the issues people with OCD have to encounter me included.

Anyway after speaking with with the right people and taking some time out I have found my love for painting again. This is my Bird Therapy or in my case ‘Art Therapy’. This combined with the love of the natural world I realised I needed to surround myself with creativity and be outdoors as much as I possibly can. This will then allow me to carry out the other aspects of life more easily!

I’m due to go away with the Society of Wildlife Artists on the John Busby Seabird drawing course in June and if it wasn’t for the words of encouragement from a colleague and the wonderfully talented artist, Nick Day, I may never have applied. I’m glad I have, as I now realise how much I need it. I was apprehensive as I wasn’t sure whether I was good enough but then I received some advice from yet another unexpected source when I was at my lowest. Scott Guiver of 27 Butterflies fame said “It doesn’t matter what other people think, just go and be yourself”. I’m grateful for that advice as I’m now going and I pick up a brush, or a pencil and paint for the pure enjoyment of it.

I will write more posts about the seabird painting course, and will potentially touch on the issues I briefly mentioned around OCD.

Thanks Joe

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