Mental Health and Art

Since it is Mental Health Awareness month, I wanted to share my views on mental health and the importance of self care.

I am currently working pieces for the Emoji Art show at the Defoor Centre in Atlanta, which will be May 25th, 2018 from 8PM-Midnight. (You should totally come to the show if you are in town!) You can buy tickets here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-emoji-art-show-atlanta-tickets-44867677431

The show is a multi-sensory experience that amplifies emotional and mental health awareness through emojis, art and music.

While doing these pieces, it made me reflect on myself, my issues with depression. I wouldn't say that I am clinically depressed, but lately, I have been feeling more down than usual. I have months when I feel like this, but I tend to hide it from everyone. Its been getting harder and harder to hide it though. The constant fatigue, loss of motivation, and feeling like a failure in everything I do.

Mental Health is a topic that isn't discussed enough. With all the things available today, there is still not enough emphasis on mental health. Here are some facts about mental health in America:

1 in 5 Adults have a mental health condition.

Youth mental health is worsening.

More Americans have access to services...But most Americans still lack access to care.

There is a serious mental health workforce shortage.

Reference: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/state-mental-health-america

We need to talk about this epidemic.

I will NOT let this feeling win. I am fighting this feeling daily, with self care. Now self care is different for everyone, but I will be explaining what self care is for me.

1) Art

With art, I find peace of mind. Freedom from reality, and express my feelings without talking about it. There are so many studies that have shown art to be a great therapeutic tool. I can attest to that, it has helped me release my emotions so well. Printmaking on days that I am stressed, fluid painting when I'm overwhelmed, and drawing when my mind is racing. Art is what keeps me from going down the rabbit hole of depression. It is my front line of attack, my crutch for when things are just not going the way I want it to.

2) Being Girly

People constantly tell me I'm wasting my money getting my nails done, hair done, and buying makeup. Little do they realize that I do it for my mental health. Getting my nails gives me time to relax, feel beautiful, and just feel better. When I feel down, my hair is always in a bun, and my scalp is so itchy. But whenever I go to get my hair done, I feel great, beautiful and back to "normal", I get this same feeling when I get my makeup, just feeling beautiful and great. I know that these are materialistic things, and they don't last forever, but hey, it helps me for that moment, let me enjoy it.

3) Exercise and Meditation

When I'm depressed, stressed or anxious, I tend to eat my feeling. Chocolate, chips, all the delicious food. I eat all the food, and feel like crap afterwards. I have gained so much weight that it has made me feel worse about myself. Last year, I made the decision to hire a trainer, workout, and lose the weight. It was honestly the best decision I have ever made. I haven't lost weight, by the number, but I have seen the difference. I want to wake up in the morning, do my makeup, have a positive attitude for work and for the rest of the day. Meditation I do in multiple different ways, prayer, reflection, and breathing exercises. All of these has helped in someway or another.

4)Family Support

Something that is so important to have. I am so grateful for my husband, his patience and understanding is what has saved me from myself so many times. Being able to talk to someone about has helped me. Having my family support me and my passions have given me the strength to identify and accept my weaknesses, as well as help me work through my problems.

My goal is to start a conversation about mental health, be it in writing or through art. I hate that it's still stigmatized. So let's talk. Having someone to talk to is so helpful. Find a person, start a blog, do art. Express your feelings in some way, don't bottle it up. If you ever feel hopeless or suicidal please, please, please call 1-800-273-8255. There is someone always there to listen to you, please don't feel like you are alone.

Do you guys relate? What do you think? What do you do to fight depression?