Saanich artist Alyssa Vincent is painting a picture of invisible pain.
What is invisible pain? Chronic pain patients often find it challenging to explain to others what they are being physically challenged with, as with most chronic pain cases the injuries are internal and not visual.
Vincent was in a motor vehicle accident in 2012 that left her with various internal injuries. Since the accident she has been battling to live with and raise awareness of invisible, chronic pain.
Looking at Vincent you would never know that she spends the majority of her time at home lying in bed or stretched out on the floor, as she is young, tall and looks ‘normal’.
“Communication and understanding is so important when your injuries and ailments are not visible,” she said. “People tend to struggle to understand there is no healing timeline for chronic pain. It is not like a broken arm that will heal in eight weeks and be good as new.
“Most people are unaware that if I am out getting my groceries or at the beach my body is allowing me to do so. That means my chronic pain is stable enough that I know my foot and leg won’t go numb and I will not lose my ability to walk. Good pain days are very exciting.”
Vincent has taken to abstract painting to help her keep focused and in good spirits through her rehabilitation. “I remembered how Frida Kahlo took solace in her art while recovering from her motor vehicle accident, so I just started to paint.”
It is important to Vincent that people of all ages in the community reach out and share their story of chronic pain. Daily interactions with the general public can often be frustrating and add to the anxiety and isolation that chronic pain brings to sufferers.
“Knowing people are having a hard time believing you when you explain your situation is incredibly defeating,” she said.
Vincent’s upcoming art show, Painting a Picture of Invisible Pain, is not just to showcase the pieces she has created in her rehabilitation process over the last several years but to bring community awareness and understanding to invisible pain.
“I hope with my art show I am able to meet others with invisible pain and hear their stories. I am very interested in what interests and activities other people with chronic pain do that keep them going.”
Vincent has designed the art show to be a community gathering with her art, music, refreshments, board games, lounge-type seating and information on chronic pain from Pain BC for patients as well as friends and family.
Vincent’s show, Painting a Picture of Invisible Pain, will be on display Dec. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. at 838 Fort St. in Victoria. A donation from the show will be made to the local Royal Jubilee Pain Clinic.