Thursday, 19 March 2020

Art helps, it really does

In 2014 I had a breakdown. I reached the point where I thought my life wasn’t worth living. I was in total despair and came very close, a few hours away from taking my life. It’s still not easy to acknowledge that. That whole period felt like I was on a never ending roller coaster. It was hell!

All my life I’ve been creative. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing, painting or expressing myself in a creative way. I’ve always considered myself to be an artist, even in the lean times when I was either not creating visual art or when I was creating stuff and then destroying it. This of course adds to one’s anxiety. It also doesn’t help that I’ve always been my own worst critic. But in later years I had started to come to terms with my own creative abilities.

A year or so prior to my breakdown I had started to dabble with digital art. Once I got the hang of the software and had developed the mindset you need to be able to create in a moveable layered format I could really see its potential. I began to realise that this was where I wanted to be and had wanted to be all my adult life.

My depressions had always influenced and inspired my art, and although I didn’t always realise it, had afforded me a reasonable amount of contentment when I was in the creating zone. Little did I realise that it was about to play such a pivotal role in my life. I am so grateful for NHS Wellbeing and the charity Mind for the help they gave me in helping with my recovery, along with people close to me and a couple of very nice, caring people on social media. Without them I wouldn’t be here today. But one of the things that I could not have done without, and the one thing that really helped me to make sense of it all, was my art. My art was my life jacket. Through my art I was able to portray my feelings in a visual way, when words often failed me. My art soothed me. My art didn’t judge me. My art helped me come to terms with what had happened. Art is good medicine.

Black II
(my art making sense of my breakdown)

In these strange days of the Covid-19 crisis with its anxiety, self-isolation and lay-offs our mental health is as important an issue as our physical health. Our world has been turned upside down. Cultural activities are normally some of the ways we relax. The way we help to fill our leisure time. But with galleries, theatres, exhibitions, concerts and craft fairs etc now closed we have been denied much of the therapy that is art. So when Dr Janina Ramirez and others started suggesting that we share art on social media under the hashtag #ArtHelps I vowed I would start sharing art (my own but more importantly art by others) as often as I could. I urge you to do the same.

Art helps!

A Positive Direction

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