• Michelle Carlos

The Art of Healing

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

How turning to your creative side can become a cure to depression.

In my brooding teenage years, I discovered that I am prone to producing better artworks when I am in a difficult emotional state. Not that this condition is unique. After all, every artist has his or her own cathartic moment that ignites creativity.


Big C

To be honest, I really do not want to cash in on my cancer story, but it had such a big impact in my life that I cannot deny how much it shook my core. A few months after the operation during a bout of deep sadness and an episode of many sleepless nights, I got out of bed, went straight to my study and started painting.


It was a young woman distraught, stripped to her skin and bones with her head bent down, a hole in her belly and maybe flowers on her purple hair for the finish. It was a rough expression of my then fragile emotional state. I went back to bed and drifted away to sleep.

Cancer had such a big impact in my life that it shook my core.

A Request

Next thing I knew, we were moving to South Africa. Knowing that I would not be able to work, I asked my ever supportive husband to give me a year to figure out what I wanted to do in my life. Intuition told me that I could no longer pursue a career in coloring films or restoring dusty old movies. Not wanting to succumb to my fear of becoming obsolete, I decided to make new plans: be creative.



I wasn't aiming for perfection. I just needed to create something.

The Therapy

In preparation for the move, I hoarded art materials, gathered art books and took them all with me. I began with coloring books and when I became tired of the illustrations, I made my own drawings and colored them. And when I realized I could still color, I took a brush and filled up pages with colorful strokes until a cohesive image realizes. I wasn't aiming for perfection. I just needed to create something. In between I would bake cheesecakes, learn beading and gilding, make my own clothes and bags and broadcast them all to my newly-revived Instagram account, then aptly called, “Wasmachstdujetzt?”, German for, “What are you doing now?”. All of these activities accomplished in a year’s time.


Nowadays, I am doing just fine.



#resilience #cancersurvivor #arttherapy

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