A year ago, if someone asked me if I had any hobbies, I would have said “no”. I didn’t really do anything just for fun. As part of my recovery and as part of a new way of life, a healthy way of life, I started exploring hobbies. I thought about new, exciting things that I had never tried but didn’t really know where to start. I didn’t feel up to joining a class of any sort and didn’t have the financial means to take on anything that cost money so I gave up the whole idea of a hobby.

Then one day, as I was sifting through my memories, trying to find some happy ones (I was looking for that “happy place” to go to), I stumbled upon a childhood memory of a new box of crayons. I remembered opening that new box of crayons, finding all those bright colours, inhaling that beautiful, waxy smell and running my fingers over the fresh, sharp tips. To me, it was a box full of endless possibilities and countless hours of happiness and solitude. I remembered the feeling of contentment I had as a child, sitting for hours with my crayons, scissors, coloured paper, old magazines and whatever else I could find…creating.

"I’ve found that some of the emotions and fears that I can’t find words for will spill out onto the page."

So, I dug out any craft supplies I could find and started cutting, pasting and colouring. I didn’t have a project in mind. I just let it happen. I started to notice colours and textures. I also noticed, happily, that I wasn’t thinking about anything except what was right in front of me.

Now, almost daily, I settle into my little corner where all my supplies are and start creating. I’ve found that some of the emotions and fears that I can’t find words for will spill out onto the page. There are no rules and that means there are no limits. I let my imagination go wherever it wants to.

Kindergarten crafting helps me explore memories (good and bad), personal issues and fears in a comfortable, safe way. Sharing some of my work helps build confidence and helps me to see that I am creative and unique. Experimenting with colours, shapes and textures helps me see the beauty in the world outside of my apartment.

Creating child-like art is my way to express myself. I believe that any form of self-expression is healthy and, for me, it’s become an important part of my recovery.

About Debi Noye

Debi is a writer, a mental health consumer, and a suicide attempt survivor. As part of her recovery, she has found freedom in embracing her creative side (painting and creating mail art as well as writing), which allows her to be open and honest about living with a mental illness. Debi is passionate about playing an active role in the mental health community not only as a consumer, but also as a friend, resource, and advocate for other consumers. She lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.