Being creative

Creative activities bring joy to a lot of us hippies. As we've had to adapt our hobbies, many of us have returned to old creative hobbies or embraced new ones.

As part of the Get CreActive project we created digital stories, which involved some creative writing and digital creativity. We also took part in a visual art workshop.

The creative arts can also help to create a mindful space. And as with enjoying physical activities, some of us have found that being open minded, adaptable and embracing learning really helpful. That is, adopting a 'growth mindset'.

Creative paper

Sharing our stories

Throughout our website you’ll see all of our digital stories. We worked with digital story teller Lisa Heledd-Jones in story telling workshops before sketching out and each creating our own digital story.

Lots of us were a bit nervous and unsure how to tell our story and to choose what to focus on, but Lisa taught us how to draw a story together.  Collectively our stories depict many aspects of our hip dysplasia journeys. Each story focuses on a particular aspect of living with hip dysplasia or something that has been particularly important to us. You may be able to relate to some of what we share.

For us, there has been real value in ‘telling our story’ – and we’d encourage you to engage in creative writing or digitising your own story in some way.

“I’ve found listening to others’ stories most interesting and being able to compare and contrast. To my surprise, I’ve enjoyed the various creative sessions that draw more obliquely and subtly on experiences, emotions and themes. It's fascinating.”
“Finding a group of people who although have not got the exact same story as me, they understand how it feels and how it can make you feel very lonely. I have also really enjoyed being a bit selfish and spending time thinking about my own hip journey and how it has affected me.” -

How to get started with creative writing

Creative writing can be a really useful way to release pent up feelings, pain, and frustration. It can be particularly useful when you are unable to exercise, or are feeling restricted pre or post op. It’s good for letting things out when you don’t feel like anyone is listening or understands.

‘I’ve not got a creative bone in my body!’ I hear you shout, or ‘I don’t think this page is for me, I’m not like that’. But before you scroll on - know that you are. We are all creative and creative writing needn’t be scary.

1. Journaling/Freewriting

This is a good starter. You buy a notebook, and you write. Anything. You don’t stop. Not even to read it back to see if it makes sense, or to correct spellings. Let it pour out.

It could be about an up-and-coming operation or that man that huffed behind you in the supermarket. What will come out will be surprising. It will reach in and pull out the deep stuff you had hidden in there and give it a good airing. No one else needs to see it and you can tear it up afterwards. It doesn’t have to sound pretty. It’s a safe space to vent about the small or the big stuff.

(By the way, the small stuff is always the big stuff!)

2. Poetry

Okay, this sounds scary- but it needn’t be. All of that freewriting you have tried, have you noticed any repeated words or themes, any patterns forming? You could transfer them over into a poem. It doesn’t have to rhyme unless you want it to.

Look at every word. Does it work hard to be there? Revising your work will help you to process the feelings that prompted you to write it in the first place. And even better, now you have complete control over it.

3. Prose

Choose something, anything you like - using your crutches for example, or that particularly long wait you had at the hospital - and use it as a launch. What did you hear, see, smell, touch? Live inside that moment. Put yourself back there and write about it.

If you are fed up with living inside that moment, you could write about what it would feel like to be doing all the things you can’t at the moment and want to.

Be specific and your writing will be richer for it. If you're snacking on a packet of Beef Monster Munch in the car before an appointment, then say that. Can you see how that evokes far more than just saying you were eating?

4. Gratitude List

When everything is on top of you it can be difficult to shift your focus and appreciate the good stuff. Write a list of everything you are grateful for.

It could be gratitude for your children, your dog, that it looks likely to be sunny today, you had your hair done, someone complimented you, you found a parking space, that you can see hear and taste, even that big fat chocolate bar you demolished. Anything.

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Top tip

Download a notes app onto your phone. Then you can write whenever / wherever you are.

Music, photography & visual art

As a group, we selected music that was special to us to share with one another. Many choices, in some way represented something about our hip dysplasia journey.

Check out our Get CreActive soundtrack.

Tips for starting or returning to playing music

You might have had to stop doing some physical activity you enjoy or have a lot of time during recovery from surgery. If you used to learn an instrument or have always wanted to learn one, you might find it a good time to pick it up again.

Playing piano
  • Most teachers now offer online lessons so it’s really easy to find someone to teach whatever instrument you want to learn/return to.
  • Second hand instruments are often as good as new ones if you are thinking of starting something new.
  • You don’t even have to have lessons, just playing for a short time each day using of books you might have played before can be very relaxing and absorbing.
  • You can find lots of people playing and giving tips and advice or actual lessons on YouTube which can be helpful and inspiring!
  • Don’t put yourself under pressure, playing music is for fun!
  • Maybe you have a friend, family member or children who play an instrument or are learning and you can play duets together because making music with other people is the best thing!

Read Kate's blog to discover how she rediscovered the piano after surgery.

Our visual art

As a group we took part in a visual art workshop run by artist Seth Oliver. Aimed at free, representative expression, we worked on pieces which spoke to the past, present and future.

You can read about this in Julie’s blog.

By Sally Trueman
"I've loved doing creative and positive things relating to my hips instead of negative/horrible/boring hip things."

The power of a positive attitude

Recognising and addressing your feelings is a healthy practice – and giving yourself the time and space to pause and reflect is really important.

However, it can be easy to reflect a bit too much on what you can’t do, rather than what you can or could do.

You’ll have noticed in lots of our stories that our mindset has been key to us overcoming lots of the challenges we have faced.

Resilience, a positive attitude and asking "what can I do?" is the key theme in Alison’s story.


Adopting a growth mindset

One way you can support yourself with hip dysplasia is by adopting a 'growth mindset'.

Having a growth mindset means being open to the idea of learning a new skill and then practicing to become more proficient and experienced at it.

This may even mean finding a different or alternative approach to something if you are struggling or have been previously unsuccessful.

Example skills might a new sport, instrument or foreign language.

“We need to learn to walk before we can run but a marathon can still be possible in the future.”

To embrace a 'growth' rather than a 'fixed' mindset: 

  • Seek out rather than avoid challenges
  • Don't only do things you are good at
  • Try doing things in a new way
  • Rather than sticking with what you already know and not doing any research, try new approaches and experiences; meet new people
  • Embrace feedback and see it as an opportunity to reflect and improve for the future
  • Feel happy rather than threatened by the success of others
  • Recognise that things may be able to improve in future if changes are made

Adopting a growth mindset can be useful in general, but particularly after surgery for hip dysplasia to help with both physical and emotional recovery.

Connect with other 'hippies'

Staying positive is not always easy – and we often can’t do it alone. You’ll see in our ‘resources’ section how much our families and friends help us (and also how sometimes the people we need don’t understand what we are going through). One group of people who will definitely understand what you are going through is other people with hip dysplasia.

The Get CreActive project has allowed us to meet with other people with hip dysplasia. For some of us, we’d never knowingly met anyone else w

There are many groups for people and families affected by hip dysplasia on the web and on social media platforms, particularly Facebook.

Hippies in a circle
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Top tip

Hippy Alison has some top tips and things to bear in mind when looking to connect with other hippies:

  • Each person will have different experiences with hip dysplasia, treatments and surgery. Just because something happened for one person doesn't mean it will or won't be the same for someone else.
  • Don't believe everything you see or read on social media because it doesn't always reflect reality.
  • Although group members may be from all over the world, many groups are based in the United States. Bear in mind that questions and discussions relating health services and what support is available may not be relevant, depending on where you are based.
  • The terminology used may vary between health care professionals and medical specialisms.
  • There are support groups for dogs with hip dysplasia so be careful you don't join the wrong ones!

Peri-Acetabular Osteotomy UK based group and DDHUK are two Facebook groups we recommend for UK-based hippies.