Staff Sergeant at Dyess Paints Her Way Through PTSD

Natalie Lopez Copes with PTSD by Painting

ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)- A paint brush, a blank canvas and a vision is what Natalie Lopez, a Staff Sergeant of the Air Force at Dyess, needs to help her cope with PTSD.

Each one of her paintings symbolize a certain memory or vision that she recalls from serving and when she comes across a negative thought, she takes her mind off of it by painting.

"This is what makes me escape from my own reality, my own traumas, painting is my way to cope", said Lopez.

All of her paintings are different yet similar in the fact that they are more than just drawings, they are truly real.

"Either I see it in my hear or a vision or someone tells me what they saw and I say, I have to paint this", explained Lopez.

Lopez told KRBC that there are other ways people deal with the anxiety and depression and the bad thoughts, but she wants her art to inspire veterans and those who do suffer from mental illnesses.

Glen McGraw of the Military Veteran Peer Network here in Abilene said, "For some people yoga is calming or playing an instrument, or to sit there and do that puzzle, instead of working on the puzzle that's in their head".

The Military Veteran Peer Network helps guide those who suffer from PTSD and teach them ways to deal with their anxiety and live a normal life.

"With this kind of mental health stuff, you just don't go okay it's there, it's gone, you learn tools and processes that help you manage and help you live a whole, healthy life!" Explained McGraw.

McGraw actually met Lopez when she first joined the Air Force, and after McGraw, who was also in the Air Force, suffered from a traumatic brain injury, he finally asked for help.

He now has his black lab by his side incase any triggers ignite.

"I can't play the guitar, I'm not good, but it is soothing for me to sit and strum my guitar and listen to the ocean in Galveston when we visit". Said McGraw.

Lopez said that she will continue to paint and hopes to help others find a healthy and positive way to cope with their daily struggles.

with this kind of mental health stuff you just don't just go okay it's there it's gone, you learntools and processes that help you manage and help you live a whole healthy life

"or some people that is so calming to them to sit there and do that puzzle istead of working on the puzzle that's up here



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