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Erika Lehtonen


I am a 33-year-old woman from Finland. I am a mother of a 6-year-old boy. Most of my time I spend with my husband and my son and doing ceramics. I'm in the fourth and last year of my art school. First two years I had a really hard time managing my trauma symptoms. In the third year, I figured out how to navigate my challenges and started to thrive with my capacity to do art. For the past 1,5 years, I've found my passion in ceramics. The school has let me be in the pottery class in the daytime when the school is empty. It has been a game changer for my sensory overload issues. I love it and being in a quiet place by myself I don't get so much overwhelming stress and sensory overload and I can do art at my own pace. I have a lot of inner fire in me, but because of my C-PTSD, I have to navigate how to deal with my challenges and limitations. I am really easily stressed, even from positive things and I have to be really aware of my boundaries. Otherwise, I will start having panic attacks, and nightmares and I will become really sleepy and I can't do anything. Most of the time people can't notice my challenges which is sometimes distressing to have comments like don't stress. They do not know or understand that developmental trauma affects your brain.

The artists' stories

"The Vibrant Mind" is an art contest that celebrates artistic expression from individuals with mental health conditions. By focusing on the artists' work rather than their various diagnoses, it hopes to promote a stigma-free and inclusive environment.


That being said, the participants were given the option to share their background stories if they wished to do so.

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