Using Art as an Outlet

Cystic fibrosis has brought countless treatments, hospitalizations, and hardships, leaving me with an overwhelming amount of emotions. When I found painting, not only did I find a new hobby, but I learned a way to escape by turning my emotions into artwork.

| 3 min read
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Jessi Mollman
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I never thought that Pinterest could change my life, but after trying out a couple of art projects, I learned painting was a ton of fun and a great release especially when I was going through hard times with CF. After a project caught my eye, I picked up some acrylic paint and a cheap set of brushes and decided to give painting a try. I couldn't tell you what that project was now, but what I do remember is falling in love with the relaxing feeling that painting gave me.

After my very first venture into artwork, I started exploring other projects from painting rocks for my flower bed to painting a portrait of my best friend's dog for his birthday. Although I wasn't sure if I could pull the portrait off, I was surprised at how easy it was for me!

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Soon friends and family began requesting paintings, and I started donating pieces to charity. It lifts my spirits knowing that something I created can bring happiness to others and help them through difficult times. Because of CF, I am unable to work, so I've also found that being able to create artwork gives me a sense of purpose and structure that I realized was a piece that I was missing dearly from my life.

Although painting started out as a hobby, it has also become my escape. When I'm sitting at my easel, paintbrush in hand with music blasting, I don't think about PFTs and treatments or wonder when I could be hospitalized again. Art is my therapy. I've painted through bouts of depression, severe pain, and the loss of my brother to CF. When I need to get the darkness out of my mind and heart, I turn to painting and put all my emotions on the canvas. My favorite part about painting is being able to look back on those dark pieces and remind myself that things are better now or realize that I can get through whatever difficulty is happening.

I encourage anyone with a creative itch to give some form of artwork a try. Whether it's painting, writing, or cooking -- it doesn't matter. Any activity that calms you and allows you to escape reality for a while is worth exploring.

Because I found so much joy through painting, I love to help other people find their creativity in painting as well. I'm excited that this year I'll be teaching painting during BreatheCon. If you're an adult with CF and interested in exploring painting, whether you're a beginner or experienced, I hope to see you there!

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Just like me, you'll never know what your new favorite hobby could be until you give it a go.

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This site contains general information about cystic fibrosis, as well as personal insight from the CF community. Opinions and experiences shared by members of our community, including but not limited to people with CF and their families, belong solely to the blog post author and do not represent those of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, unless explicitly stated. In addition, the site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.

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Emotional Wellness
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Jessi is 37 years old with CF. She works with Khloe's Hope, a foundation dedicated to bringing art supplies to children at Seattle Children's Hospital and Marry Bridge Children's Hospital as well as helping CF families with expenses not covered by insurance. Jessi lives in Lake Stevens, Wash. with her two best friends and her wonderful dog, Cosmo. Visit her Facebook page to see her artwork. 

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