Empowered Through Art

Healing from an eating disorder can be a tremendous journey. It can be hard, exhausting and sometimes uncomfortable - but at the end of the day we know it's worth it. It becomes nothing short of empowering when you are able to heal and discover a brand new life without an eating disorder running the show. For many, it can be about finding that one thing that brings us some inner peace. Whether its through writing, singing or using art to explore our emotions. One of our awesome Project HEAL supporters, Jenna Rose Simon, has done just that. With almost 40K followers on Instagram she has been able to share her powerful artwork to not only heal herself, but bring light to serious topics through captivating images.

We hope her story of recovery can bring you some inspiration today!

1. How long have you been drawing for?
I've been drawing for most of my life, but I used to draw mostly portraits of either friends or celebrities.  I only recently started drawing concept art, or things that are based on raw emotion.
Art 6
2.  How has drawing affected your recovery?  
Drawing has affected my recovery in too many ways to list.  When I first started drawing concept art, it was really just for me and my therapist.  I didn't think it could have an impact on anyone else.  She told me that one day, when I was ready, I should put my work in galleries and that it could really help others.  I wasn't ready to stand up in front of people and talk about my work and the concepts behind them, So I started an instagram account solely for my art.  That kind of exploded quickly.  People did seem helped by it, and that really helped me therapeutically.  I've struggled most of my life to feel as though I was good enough, and struggled to feel that anything I ever did would be good enough too.  Drawing the artwork helped me cope with some of the difficult situations in my life.  Sharing it with others and watching it move people has started to help me heal the little voice inside my head that thinks that nothing I do is ever going to be good enough.  It's still not perfect, but I have moments now where I sit back and say, "Wow, that really touched a lot of people!  I'm proud of that drawing," and I've been able to relate that feeling to some non drawing activities as well.
3. Do you have any advice to those who may want to draw for therapeutic reasons?
I would say do it.  It is not even about skill level.  I went to college to study Art Therapy because I was so fascinated by how much it could uncover that regular therapy didn't necessarily get to.  Sometimes drawing or writing, or even dancing... any other art form, seems to be an easier way to express feelings.  It doesn't have to look like a masterpiece, and you don't even have to share it with anyone else.  It just has to help you in some way.  Everyone is capable of that.
4. What is your favorite piece that you've drawn so far and why?
I have a hard time sometimes deciding on a "favorite" piece, because all of my pieces are different, and they all have different purposes.  I think in choosing a favorite, I'd have to say that the one I love is a self portrait I did where I am holding my neck and my brain is trying to strangle me.  The message behind it is "Your thoughts are what's killing you."  I feel this is such a common theme among people today, both in eating disorders and other disorders as well.  Sometimes we overthink things to the point that we create situations in our heads that aren't even real.  I am so guilty of this and still, to this day, am regularly being called on it.  This drawing is meant to depict that we can be our own worst enemy depending on what kinds of thoughts we foster.  Within eating disorders, I think behavior commonly comes from thoughts we foster, which come from experiences we've had in our life.  It is so hard to change those thoughts, but this image shows just how important that is.
 art therapy 3
5. What is your advice to anyone who is just now entering recovery?
 Try to remember that there is life after these few weeks.  This sounds so utterly specific, and possibly cheesy, but it's so true.  The first couple of weeks felt almost unbearable to me, and in every moment, I didn't think I would make it to the next one.  I couldn't even think 4 weeks ahead to a time where it got easier.  I had people in my life who kept reminding me that typically, the first few weeks are the hardest for a variety of reasons, and then it starts to get easier.  I didn't really trust them, and I don't expect anyone to trust me either, I just hope that they take this information and think, "If she could do it, and she is saying this, then so can I," and continue to have hope.  Sometimes we don't get to the end because we feel like the current situation will never end.  I am literally still guilty of this on at least a weekly basis, but past experiences and being able to get through very difficult moments have taught me that it will eventually end, no matter how I feel right now.  And when it does end, you'll be so happy that you stuck out these more difficult primary moments.
Connect with Jenna on Social Media:
Twitter: @JennaRoseSimon
Facebook: Jenna Rose Simon
Instagram: @AGentleTouchOfArt and @JennaRoseSimon