Art plays a special role at Venice Family Clinic. Not only does it inspire us and strengthen our ties to the local artists’ community though Venice Family Clinic’s Art Walk & Auctions, we also use it to heal those who have been through trauma and cannot articulate themselves. Our art therapy program combines traditional counseling with creative arts like painting, drawing, sculpture, and collage to create a therapeutic means of expression, one that can help patients find ways to cope and deal with life’s challenges.
This is one such story. This is Richard’s story.
Life is unpredictable. For me, knowing that Venice Family Clinic is always going to be here for me is the only constant I have.
I moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago with my partner. I left behind a great life and job in New York, but I was in love and ready for a new adventure.
I loved LA when I first arrived – the sun, the beach, the whole vibe. I stumbled into a freelance job doing set design and things were going great.
After a few years, my partner and I broke up and I lost my place to live and many of our joint friends. I bounced around sleeping on friends’ couches for a while before I had exhausted my options. Sleeping in my car was all I could do. Not having a proper place to sleep and shower, and a place store my stuff made everything harder. With all the chaos in my life, I was tired and impatient, often late to work, and missed many important work deadlines. As time went on, my employer would not hear my excuses and, just like that, I was homeless and unemployed.
I have never felt so down, so alone, and so sad.
I’ve struggled with depression throughout my life and given my circumstances, I seriously considered suicide. Back in those days, you didn’t have health insurance if you didn’t have a job, so when I needed help, I had nowhere to turn. I felt like I might never get my life together again.
Then I found Venice Family Clinic.
I started going to therapy at the Clinic and seeing Eileen, an art therapist. I’ve been in therapy for 10 years now and I’ve finally started to regain control over my life.
Eileen uses art to help me learn tools to cope with stress and deal with anxiety. We always talk about “Progress, Not Perfection” – something I am learning to apply to my life as well as my art.
I started going to the therapy groups at the Clinic too, sharing my story with others who like me have been through hard times. No matter what you’re going through, it’s always nice to know that you aren’t alone.
The Clinic isn’t just my support system, they are my family. This is where I learn and grow.
Once I started to understand the tools to help my anxiety and depression, I wanted to make some serious life changes. The folks at the Clinic helped me find a place to live and navigate the crazy bureaucracy. They arranged for transportation to appointments and helped me fill out tons of paperwork. And now, I have a home! Venice Family Clinic is not just a “family” clinic. When you’re a patient here, they truly become your family.