Fighting Sjögren’s Blues with Creative Art Therapy

It happens. Everyone gets the blues from time to time. For us Sjögies, it could be “Sjögren’s blues”. How not to get a little gloomy in the face of the unique challenges that accompany this rare and lesser-known disease?

There are different ways to beat the blues, but one of my favorites is creative art therapy.

I like to think of myself as a satisfied, grateful, and positive person for the most part, but there are times when I am sad or depressed, sometimes for no specific reason.

“Melancholy delight.” (Courtesy of Derrian Childress)

Last week I experienced an episode of the Sjögren blues that suddenly happened after trying to clean the cat litter box. I knew it would be a challenge, but wanted to try a new technique that involved sitting on the floor rather than bending over, which is too tiring and painful.

It ended up being a mistake because I got stuck! I couldn’t lift my body on my own. I couldn’t turn my body to the side, and I couldn’t lie down either.

“Help, I have sat down and I cannot get up!” I was thinking. “Just call Life alert. All because I was sitting there picking up nuggets of shit in a litter box. After laughing at myself, it made it obvious how humiliating this experience was. Luckily my husband Joe was at home and lifted me off the ground.

Afterwards, I felt a heaviness come over me. I tried to cry, but there weren’t many tears since Sjögren decided to suck me off. It was as if there was a void placed inside my – what’s that called again? Oh that’s right – lacrimal gland.

I sighed, then I said, “Can someone please slap a serotonin patch on me?

At this point, I knew I had to do something more than think about my cats, my plants, my porcelain dolls and my cheerful wall, which sometimes pull me out of there. I even have a list of coping skills that come in handy when I’m going down as well, but that was the time for my creative art therapy.

“Art in my stomach.” (Courtesy of Derrian Childress)

I love creative art therapy because I can escape, let go and lose myself in another dimension. This is also the time for me to release and process things. My main forms of creative art are writing, music and drawing. This week I used music. It didn’t change what had happened, but I felt a little better.

Sjögren’s blues can strike anytime, during any season, and without warning or special reason. Creative art therapy is a fabulous way for me to cope. If you’re curious or interested, find out what a study published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed on the impact of therapeutic art forms on mental health and chronic disease.

“Expressive art therapy integrates all of the arts in a safe, non-judgmental setting to facilitate personal growth and healing. Using the arts expressively means going into our inner realms to discover feelings and express them through visual arts, movement, sound, writing, or drama. This process promotes liberation, self-understanding, understanding and awakens creativity and transpersonal states of consciousness. – Natalie Rogers, Doctorate

“Art opens up cupboards, airs cellars and attics. It brings healing. “- Julia Cameron

If you get Sjögren’s blues, have you tried, or are you considering trying, creative art therapy? Please share your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.


To note: News about Sjögren syndrome is strictly a disease news and information website. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of News about Sjögren syndrome or its parent company, BioNews, and aim to spark discussion about issues related to Sjögren syndrome.

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