It's All In Your Head
I sold this piece last December and it's been on my mind quite a bit in recent weeks. The first reason is that I sold it to a healer who identified with it and second, one of my dearest friends came forward to tell me they were seeking therapy. This is one my friend's favorite pieces of mine, they had helped me print the final versions way back in 2013, and I made it at a time when they were also one of the people on the front lines helping me through depression.
At the time, the sounds of crows around my home were as constant to me as the repetitive, frustrating thoughts and feelings I had been repeating in my mind. Some phrases were self generated, but mostly they composed of the things I internalized from others. I didn't believe animals carried messages quite yet. The crows certainly got me curious due to the fact animals featured in my artwork heavily at the time. Artists don't have the luxury of including animals just because they like them. You have to justify every decision in a piece of art.
I love crows but they still make me profoundly tense whenever I hear them or see them. They remind me of a terrible time in my life. It's the same creepy feeling I got when my Reiki I teacher told me once you start down the path of being a healer you cannot quit. I still haven't decided what they mean to me, but at the time they came to represent depression's annoyances and strengths.
After I was released from therapy, I tried wearing depression like a crown and chose not to be afraid and not to hide it. I focused on my hope to heal. Some people get healed from depression, many don't. I didn't. I just had to learn to live with it. Everyday is different, some good, some bad. I still have crazy anxiety and it often halts my life in really unproductive ways.
But it also helps me understand people's pain, it gives me a point of empathy. I try to talk about it candidly and sometimes others have used it a point to learn from. People don't talk enough about the struggle of mental illness. There is no place for it in a patriarchal, capitalistic society where emotions aren't handled well and people who are sensitive to them need more help.
Even I chose to blog about it rather than Facebook posting it because I feel safe here to do so.
I tried a lot of different things to get better. It took 2.5 years before I found a councilor that worked well for me, it took 3 afterwards to get a handle on life on my own. It's only in the last couple of years or so I've been having more good days than bad. My journey to really heal started in 2010 (although I had been struggling since 2005), that's 7 years. I build a day at at a time because it doesn't matter how fast you go, it just matters that you keep going. It helps that my art has found it's voice.
I had amazing support from my friend and my husband. I had inspiration from others I met, a counselor I loved, and two professors who cared. Not everyone has that support network. I hope that any struggles my readers go through become a source of strength and understanding for yourself and those around you.
These two resources were so helpful to me getting better. I hope they are never need, but if they are do I hope you have the support to seek treatment or help someone else.
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