TLC Conference – Body Portrait : Stephanie’s Process 

This weekend at the TLC Conference in Dallas, I met Stephanie who has Trichotillomania and Dermatillomania and is blogging and sharing her experience of these illnesses. You can read her blog here 

She has kindly agreed I can share a description in her own words of how it felt to make her Body Portrait in my art session at the conference here in Dallas yesterday. 

“Thank you @liz_atkin for hosting this art session at #bfrbcon 2016. 

We were told to trace around our bodies and to first fill in the outline of our body. I chose paint. I had no idea what to do, I don’t consider myself artistic and I was convinced whatever I made would turn out ugly. But I didn’t care, I started with one long wavy pink paint stoke along my shoulder. I liked how it flowed so I added a few more, mixing colors. My body tingled and a rush of mixed emotions came over me. A couple of paint strokes made me emotional… Hundreds of paint stoke later I come home with a piece of art that depicts the inner struggles of my disorder. 

I’m surrounded by black to represent the darkness that clouds my mind. My hair is pink (typical color of love and passion) because I just want to love my hair and trichotillomania has become a passion of mine. My eyes are blurry because anxiety makes it hard to see what’s real and what not, as if my world is always blurry. My hand is black because I times I am not even aware of the damage I am doing by picking and pulling at my hair and skin. It’s ghostly, like it sometimes doesn’t even exist to me. My lips have crosses on them because for so long I suffered in silence. My mind is scribbled because I feel almost as if I can never keep track of make sense of all the thoughts. The black under my eyes are there tears that result from my fears and anxieties. 

The colors inside are the pieces of me that I try so hard to love. They are the pieces that make me who I am. They flow through my entire being, they mix with each other, and they work together to make who I am. Those are the pieces of me that I try so hard to shine a light on, to bring to the surface. Right now though, they are stuck inside, surrounded by the darkness of anxiety. 

This conference has taught me so much. Loving every bit of myself is one of those things I learned. Even surrounded by what I feel is darkness, I will move on and one by one let the pieces inside me come to the surface.”



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