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The Healing Power of Art

After experiencing a traumatic brain injury, Rakan Isbury finds healing in creativity and art.

By Rakan Isbury

Former Shepherd Center Patient

My name is Rakan Isbury. I’m originally from Saudi Arabia and came to the United States in 2015 to attend college. I studied art at SCAD in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved the arts and found great joy in my own creative process. In both painting and drawing, the arts have been an escape for me, a way to express what’s in my heart, and to understand and reflect on the world around me.

In 2017, I experienced a near-death accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), changing the course of the rest of my life. I spent two months at the hospital in critical care, then moved to Shepherd Center, then to Restore Neurobehavioral Center and finally, as my brain and my body healed, I was able to return home. My rehabilitation became my full-time job.

After my injury, my mom brought paint and canvases to the hospital, hoping we would paint together. Due to my injury, I wasn’t able to paint at first, but I took classes to help me regain my hobby. As my brain and body healed, I became more and more confident in my innate abilities as an artist. It’s funny how you can forget almost everything about yourself and your own life, but the instinctual, innate ability to be creative persisted.

Even though I still struggle with my memory, art is – and will always be – my passion. Not only has it been an outlet to express my feelings and thoughts, but it’s also become an important part of my healing process.

In the future, as my brain and body continue to heal, I hope to return to school and finish my education. I am so grateful to art for its power to transform, transcend and heal, and I know that the creative process will continue to inspire and enrich my life.

You can view more of Rakan's art here.

Follow Rakan’s story on his mother’s Instagram: @majdamajoda

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.