Vanessa zita: A story of accidental artist
On June 7th, 2006 I sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a freak accident when I was on my lunch break from work. An overloaded dump truck from a construction site sped by my car. Boulders were falling and breaking apart when they hit the ground. A 20 pound rock fragment bounced off the pavement, flew in my open car window and struck my head. My skull was shattered leaving my frontal temporal lobe exposed - I was pronounced dead at the scene. I underwent several surgeries, required years of therapy and rehabilitation to re-learn how to walk and talk again. My right side had a mild paralysis that particularly impaired my right hand. Ironically, prior to my injury, I worked as a special needs teacher, assisting individuals with physical and cognitive injuries including those with a Traumatic Brain Injury. I decided to employ a strategy on myself that she used with clients: finger painting as a therapeutic means to strengthen fine motor skills to help increase movement in my right hand. Despite the great accomplishments made in therapy, I was unable to return to my career. I continued painting because the texture of the paint between my fingers was soothing and I would get lost in the colours. Rathering than focusing on chronic pain, I could redirect my thoughts to artful expression.