Art helps me manage the intense emotions brought on by Cushing’s
A columnist shares the outlets that help them navigate emotional highs and lows
I’ve spent many recent days wrapped up in blankets and trying to get out of my head. Cushing’s disease affects my cortisol, its levels fluctuating due to a teeny-tiny tumor. While my medication, for the most part, helps stabilize my cortisol, sometimes this disease grabs ahold of me and won’t let go. Because of that, I have a history of depression (caused by lows) and anxiety (caused by highs).
I’ve found art to be an incredible medium for pouring out my emotions. I don’t know if the same things that help me will benefit you, but hopefully you can use this column as a springboard to find your own coping mechanisms.
When I’m struggling with depression, I need nostalgia. It’s the only thing that picks me back up and distracts me long enough to center myself.
Therefore, when I’m depressed, I watch the “Twilight” movies. I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but they provide hours of distraction and ridiculous dialogue. Plus, they bring me back to when I was 13 and would curl up to read the “Twilight” books every chance I got.
When I can’t sit down for hours to watch movies, I listen to punk bands from the 1990s, such as Sum 41 and Blink-182. It feels angsty, and sometimes silly, but it gives me an avenue to feed into the sadness. Sometimes you just have to embrace your feelings and let yourself cry or scream. Punk bands do that for me.
When I’m feeling anxious, I need something different from when I’m depressed. I need books. Fantasy-romance is my genre of choice. Being surrounded by screens only adds to my anxiety during these times. Turning off my phone, sitting in bed, and reading beautiful love stories truly calms me down. Plus, when I’m anxious, I have trouble sleeping, and reading really helps with that.
Occasionally, the emotions will all get to be too much, and I’ll start to feel hopeless. That’s when I look for in-person art. I’ll go to a museum, usually the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the American Museum of Natural History, both in New York City, and go through it slowly, just letting myself be immersed in everything. Part of the beauty is the art itself, and part of it’s forcing myself to leave the comfort of my apartment. I’ll put in my headphones, listen to some soft indie rock, and allow myself to simply breathe and enjoy.
Having a chronic illness can be so frustrating, and sometimes the anger is overwhelming. When I feel angry, I watch B-horror movies, which are a great outlet. I also dive into serious emo music, such as My Chemical Romance.
Living with Cushing’s disease can be exhausting and emotional. When I try to ignore these intense emotions, they just get worse. Art has been an amazing coping mechanism, and I’m so grateful for it.
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. 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 physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.