Painting Through the Pain: Young Artist Expresses Her Experience with Behcet’s Disease

When Megan Howard looked down at her completed drawing, colorful lines intersecting to form odd shapes, she saw elements of “The Scream.” She thought it a fitting depiction of her experience with Behcet’s disease.

What started as a sketch in a hospital room when Behcet’s waylaid her, would become “Screaming in Pain,” a drawing Megan later submitted to the Rare Artist Contest.

I love Megan’s story. Though, I might be biased, because I am a huge proponent of expression and healing through art.

A little more on Behcet’s disease:

  • Develops in people in their 20s and 30s
  • Is a rare, autoimmune disorder
  • Cause and cure are unknown
  • Symptoms can include ulcers, skin lesions, arthritis and eye inflammation

Megan experienced mouth ulcers, skin lesions, joint paint and headaches among her symptoms. The diagnosis came in her first year at college, and things worsened as she pursued a master’s in art therapy.

The symptoms still affect her pretty significantly, and art is an escape.

According to the Chicago Tribune article, she creates with markers, paint and jewelry.

She told Chicago Tribune:

…Sitting there and drawing and focusing on what my hand is doing on the paper takes my mind away from the pain.

As much as art can distract, though, it’s just as powerful in navigating through feelings and experiences. Like Megan’s “Screaming in Pain” piece.

That’s what the Rare Artist contest is all about. Started by the EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases, the Rare Artist contest and online gallery raise awareness of rare diseases and celebrate the stories and talent of the artists living with them.

The website says it all:

Artists affected by rare disease communicate their pain, frustration, optimism and joy, and through their work we can learn more about ourselves.

You can see some of these pieces of art here.


Follow us