Chronic Pain Visualized #1

Chronic pain isn’t easy to express, not in words or pictures. I have struggled to express how chronic pain actually feels through art. My paintings are abstract multimedia pieces, and for the most part they’re just so I have something bright to look at around my house. They leave the onlooker with no idea that I suffer with every brush stroke, every adhered scrap, every swipe of the palette knife. These five artists, however, have managed to express so many of the things I feel every day, but have no idea how to show people a visual representation of.

Since I’ve been feeling particularly lousy and in way more pain than is even normal for me, I’m gonna go ahead and let this count as a blog post? I want to do a whole series on art relating to chronic illness, but we will see. I’m so disorganized!

1. Of course, let’s start it off with Frida, who had a pain syndrome that many have speculated was fibromyalgia, as well as severe and debilitating chronic back pain which she has portrayed so clearly here. I have always loved this self-portrait, entitled “The Broken Column” even long before I developed clear symptoms of fibro:

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#SpineDamage #NerveDamage #FracturedVertebrae #DegenerativeDiscDisorder #HerniatedDisc

2. The damage done to my low back from getting hit by a semi truck. Now I feel like this when my back goes out, which is kind of a lot because of the addition of Spina Bifida Occulta and Joint Hypermobility Syndrome:

Pain1

#HerniatedDisc #DegenerativeDiscDisease #Scoliosis #Lordosis #Osteoarthritis #EhlerDanlosSyndrome #JointHypermobilitySyndrome #SpinaBifidaOcculta

3. Nerve pain, just imagine those lines about an inch underneath your skin, until it’s basically in your bones:

pain7

#Neuropathy #NervePain #NerveDamage

4. This one reminds me so clearly of the one sided occipital migraines and trigeminal neuralgia which I am constantly dealing with:

pain4

#OccipitalNeuralgia #TrigeminalNeuralgia #OccipitalMigraines #TMJ

5. Sad but true. This is what yoga feels like now. I am always telling my boyfriend that it feels like my spine is trying to rip clean free of the rest of my body, just like this:

b035997c62dd663ee2931331ac8c4310

——————————————————

I’m not posting these for pity or for shock value, sometimes it helps me to have a visualization of my pain ,because it helps me to picture it disappearing while I meditate. Other times I just want to know I’m not alone. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a little bit validated when they see their chronic pain taken seriously. These artists take pain seriously, but they also managed to turn their pain into something creative. Using pain as inspiration for making beautiful things or things that others will relate to is a huge goal of mine as a formerly creative person. Illness can’t have my creativity, and these honest portrayals of the agony of chronic pain help me remember that art and the freedom it gives us is such an integral part of healing. Time to start painting again!

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About Jessi Finds Out Fibro

Hi, and thank you for finding your way to my corner of the web! I'm on a journey to empower myself and hopefully others through shared courage and compassion. I write Finding Out Fibro, a chronic illness and chronic pain awareness blog that is not just about fibromyalgia, as well as a new project making jewelry under the Etsy name Hopeful Spoon. Please check out the shop and share if you can! Thank you for your support! My other hobbies include defeating ableism anywhere I find it, upcycling old junk into funky awesomeness, raising my voice to erase stigma against invisible illness and mental illness, baking, collecting vintage kitchen ware, sharing body-positive messages, playing around in photoshop, abstract painting (especially in neons and metallics!), advocating for those living with chronic illnesses and mental health challenges, seeking safety and upholding visibility for LGBTQIA individuals living with physical and mental disabilities, researching and testing plant-based remedies for chronic pain, and spending all my spare spoons in my veggie garden. This is my opportunity to do more than just survive with chronic illness. This is me learning how to live well, even though there is no cure for the war my body is waging on me.

8 responses to “Chronic Pain Visualized #1”

  1. abodyofhope says :

    I really relate to this. I started pinterest only bc I wanted to do a board for artists with chronic pain and chronic illness. My second board is Pain Art- just like what you are post here. Ill share the link with you if you’d like.
    I’ll definitely be pinning these to my Pain Art board!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. abodyofhope says :

    Wow! You do have a lot of pins!!
    I was glad to have pinterest when I wasn’t able to type or do anything other than look at images due to my head problems these recent yrs, but I still think I probably developed a bit of a pinterest addiction, lol.

    Here is the Pain Art / Art Therapy board. I would love to see yours also: http://www.pinterest.com/meriluv82/art-therapy-pain-art/

    PS, I don’t think your Pinterest button is enabled yet on your blog pg. Luckily, of course I have a pinterest app 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessi Finds Out Fibro says :

      Oops, thanks for the heads up! I am not being as good at this right now…. real life dragged me all over the place in the last week and a half… literally and figuratively!
      Thank you for the link, I followed the board! my chronic illness board is: http://www.pinterest.com/jessichval/chronic-illness-pain/
      I definitely consider it a pinterest addiction in my case, but yeah, it kept/keeps me sane when my mind/body can’t handle anything else. Sometimes I can’t handle pinning even, because my stupid eyes see ten of everything or get super blurry or have floaters depending on what hell the day decides to deliver! I’m gonna go figure out how to do this pinterest widget thing…. I have the pin-it button so every image shows a “pin” button at the top right corner, so I would have never noticed if you hadn’t pointed it out! Thank you again, sweetheart. Hopefully you’re having one of the better days today, and if not I’m sending you lots of spoons just in case!
      ❤ Jessi

      Liked by 1 person

  3. abodyofhope says :

    Thank you. I pinned some of your stuff. I’m very sorry about your week (I’m trying to hang onto mine). My RSD support group is enjoying your posts.
    I think you just enable the pinterest button. It might be under settings if I remember properly…
    (((((Soft hugs))))) hang in there

    Liked by 1 person

  4. abodyofhope says :

    Awe Jessi, thank you. I’m the lucky one to have them at this time in my life especially.
    I think you are right that you and those I meet with the most severe illness and pain seem to be the warmest people. Did pain do this? Or were you already a tender loving soul? Idk… but I actually hate it that these beautiful people are hurting the most. xoxoxoxo
    I’m resting up for the day. It is always such a blessing to talk with you. Until next time ((hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

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