AMZIE REEVES, MA, ATR-P
Type 1 Diabetic // Artist // Art Therapist
Yep. I have Type 1 Diabetes. And if you're reading this you probably have a diaversary and a story surrounding diagnosis as welI; whether it's when your child was diagnosed, or you, yourself were. The stories surrounding this hell of a disease can play a vital role on our mental health. My T1D origin story... I was diagnosed April Fool's Day 2003, what a %&#@ing joke! My brother already had T1D, so I new I had it before even going to the hospital, I actually put off going to the hospital because I didn't want to face it. Did I mention I was 19 yrs old and on my own? My most vivid memory from my first hospital stay is of everyone watching me give myself my first shot while sitting on that hospital bed and my hand would NOT move. I was just crying. And crying. I don't remember how long it took, but it seemed like forever - turns out the human mind is against stabbing yourself with a needle - it's not a natural motion. And that's all I remember, well, except being sent home to figure out the rest by myself? Now many years later, there are still times when my hand freezes, whether it's putting on a new CGM or a new insertion site. T1D is complex & wild! I've never really felt I can trust my body; and don't know that I ever will. I certainly know my mood is all over when my blood sugar is all over. I'm usually not a joy to be around when I'm over 275, but sometimes my lows come out in hilarious ways, although they can cause an overwhelming hopeless feeling too. Recovery from a low can sometimes cause me to physically feel like I got run over by a dumptruck, and sometimes it doesn't really phase me. I personally use art as my source of strength to continue on this unpredictable never-ending T1D journey!
I am an Artist. And being a practicing Visual Artist is always near the top of the list when describing myself. I graduated from the College of Visual Arts, St. Paul, way back in 2005, I majored in painting but loved printmaking, sculpture, & design. I truly enjoy all mediums and simply love the act of creating. Acrylic painting is my go-to these days and I enjoy showing my work around town. In addition to art making, I love gardening, working on our old house in North Minneapolis and spending time at the lake with my partner and two boys. I hope to get back to practicing yoga very soon and maybe even read a novel!
Having T1D and being an Artist has led me to become an Art Therapist. I describe myself as an empathetic listener who uses art as a tool for self-expression. T1D and everything related to it can be an exhausting rollercoaster that you are forced to ride; fear, anxiety, depression, burnout, guilt, and shame come and go. I want to share the power & benefits Art Therapy has when it comes to dealing with the mental burden of a chronic illness.
*Research is not for everybody, but here is my in-depth, Master's Project (i.e. thesis) about the impact Type 1 diabetes has on a person's mental health. Enjoy! Or don't, it's very wordy ;)
*I am NOT a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). I am simply a person living with Type 1 Diabetes who has Masters Level training in Adlerian Psychology & Counseling - Art Therapy/Marriage and Family Therapy. I am currently pursuing licensure under a board approved supervisor.
"At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can."
Artist as Therapist as Artist