This description of healing and personal growth was written by community member, Allyson L. She responded to one of our story requests. Please leave your words of encouragement and inspiration in the comments below.

I’ve always been crafty.

I took the basic art classes required in school, and was the teacher who had the best artwork, gifts, and classroom decor. But after two years of workplace struggles, my physical health drastically declined. Eventually, I had to leave my career. I was devastated after losing it all and survived partly thanks to art journaling.


H/T Kristal Norton. Click here if you can’t view the video.

While healing, I wanted to get the words that haunted me out. I knew and was encouraged to get involved in my community and I wanted to make something tangible. I had heard of art journaling, but it looked difficult because I didn’t know how to draw. I knew that I wanted textured, messy, tangible art, so I started attending classes at a community art studio.

Despite being dead set against art journaling, I gave it a try. The director of the studio encouraged and guided me through the process. First, they had me list the words that haunted me. Then I narrowed down the list over and over until it was 3 words.

Suddenly my creativity exploded. I knew how to tell my story! In just 2 hours, I was hooked.

As a teacher, I told students there was no wrong way to make art. Every classroom I had ever had, had “every child is an artist” on the wall alongside students’ artwork. As a special educator I had to be creative with my teaching, but never thought to apply this skill and philosophy to myself!

Soon I began to fill page after page, using anything I had around. I used basic art tools including: paper clips, staples, lace, plastic wrap, fabric, magazines, etc. I told my story in a semi-chronological way. I gave my journal the title “She Survives in the End.”

Allyson's Art Journal

Although my journal is not complete. The art journaling process has served as closure for me. It has been calming, thought-provoking and fun. I have an idea about the final product, but follow my feelings and inspiration as it comes to me. To date I am 34 pages in.

I have also shared my journal with doctors, therapists, friends and people I meet. I am always surprised by their amazement and curiosity. I recommend art journaling to anyone who is healing. Don’t worry too much about the final result. Your heart will tell you where to begin.

– Allyson

Endometriosis, PCOS, High Tone Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, Depression, Anxiety, C-PTSD, Hypersomnia, Asthma, Allergies