Paintings Provided by Bridget Thomas
In the forty years that I have dealt with epilepsy, I have had to find many ways to achieve overall wellness. It makes me happy when people battling epilepsy share their stories with me on how they will not allow epilepsy to control their lives.
Bridget Thomas is a friend of mine who has been battling epilepsy for eleven years now. Her seizures started at the age of eleven. Bridget and I met through Facebook after she had a very negative experience with a doctor. The stories we have been able to share with one another have been so important, knowing that facing this neurological disorder we are not alone in the battle.
Despite the frustrations of epilepsy, Bridget remains strong and has now been seizure free for two years. When I asked her how she has achieved this, she shared some pictures of her artwork with me. Making paintings, drawings, and crafts has helped her to cope and feel better. Even in times when she is sick, art helps her to remain calm and happy.
According to the article, Development and use of the art therapy seizure assessment sculpture on an inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit, art therapy is a psychotherapeutic field, in which art therapists engage patients in the creation of art to assist with emotional and physical healing and growth (Brown et. al, 2017). Despite the evidence that it is beneficial, art therapy is often not used as a resource to help patients battling epilepsy. In the few years that I have been an advocate, I know of only one doctor that offers art therapy in his clinic. Dr. Nirmal Surya who runs a clinic in Mumbai, India provides art therapy for his patients. As important as medication is to help control seizures, it is only one piece of the puzzle. Other resources are needed to achieve overall wellness to deal with the side effects of anti-convulsant medication.
Pictured at the top of the article, are two paintings that Bridget made. It makes me happy to see when people with epilepsy find a passion to help them heal, to achieve what they need. Along with physical well-being, emotional and mental health need to be addressed as well. As patients, we must try to achieve overall wellness and not assume that a magic pill is going to solve the problem. Battling epilepsy is a team effort by both the doctor and patient. As individuals battling epilepsy, we must love ourselves and do what we can to be happy and healthy.
Along with the paintings above at the top of the article, Bridget paints flower pots and sells them through her Facebook page Peachy Planters. You can visit her page at https://www.facebook.com/PeachyPlanters101 to see her beautiful work. The picture of the flowerpot here is one that I purchased earlier in the year and I have in my office. Please visit her page and see the beautiful work she has created.
If you are battling epilepsy, do what you can to achieve overall wellness, and find something that helps you to be happy and healthy. Thank you, Bridget, for allowing me to share your work and show others a way to deal with epilepsy. Love yourself, take care of yourself, and together we will defeat epilepsy.
Brown, S. E., Shella, T., & Pestana-Knight, E. (2017). Development and use of the art therapy seizure assessment sculpture on an inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit. Epilepsy & behavior case reports, 9, 6–9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebcr.2017.11.003