March 27th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Human Factor: TBI and the healing power of art

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week, we introduce you to a journalist and artist, who shares her story of how creating art helped  her overcome the trauma following a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

“WHACK’ed … then everything was different” was me - eight years before it became the title of my exhibit. I was whacked while bicycling back from work by a red speeding car. Life has been different ever since and art became an integral part of my recovery and my identity.

I started painting portraits of traumatic brain injury survivors to raise awareness about TBI. I selected people from various walks of life: Trisha Meili, “the Central Park Jogger”; Troy Aikman and Pat Lafontaine; Keith Richards and George Clooney; TV news reporter Bob Woodruff, to illustrate the diversity of people affected by TBI.  More importantly, I wanted to show examples of brain injury survivors who moved on to have full, productive lives. I hope the portraits offer inspiration to those recently injured: kinship and identity with such icons is a powerful emotion, encompassing pride, pleasure and self-compassion, all of which are in short supply during the rehabilitation process. FULL POST

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.