Hi everyone. I looked around the website to see where this would be most suitable, and I think this sub-forum will work.
Note: this is not a "success story", since my "story" isn't finished being written yet! And I am not going to even attempt to fool myself into believing I'm all better now. Because I'm sure many of you can agree that managing depression and other mood/mental illnesses is an ongoing process.
Yesterday was a valley of darkness for me. I was very, very low. The myalgic encephalomyelitis/fibromyalgia pain was turned up really loud, and I'd been sleep-deprived for weeks. Perfect storm fixings for a dark day.
I pulled out my old art journal that I started when I took an online e-course by Dr. Brene Brown ("the Gifts of Imperfection"). As I looked through the self-care and soul-healing work I did back then, I was inspired to do another art-therapy project.
I first honoured my dark feelings with a drawing of a tiny me enshrouded in jagged black. I typed up the self-hate and depression thoughts, printed them, cut them out and glued them around the image.
Then I did the healing art activity today. I first copied some old photos of me that captured my true spirit, my essence, behind the depression. I pasted them on a page, painted and doodled all around them.
Then I did this: I asked myself four questions (see below) and wrote down my immediate responses I thought when I looked at those photos of the real me.
The four questions are: 1) When I look at this photo, I see ... 2) What I love and appreciate about the person I see ... 3) What makes this person's light shine ... 4) Things I can do to take care of and protect this person...
I used tempura paints, markers, craft stamps, stickers, glitter ... I rooted through my arts and crafts drawer and hauled it all out!
I adhered to the Rules for doing this activity: no negative self-talk, no harsh criticism or judgement about artistic "ability", and I must talk to myself the way I'd talk to a beloved child or best friend.
Now my mood is lighter. The physical pain is still lingering, but I find I have way more resilience to manage it now that my mood has lifted. I am turning my face back to Life - for today - and will take my beloved dog out for a walk in the park after I finish this post.
I don't know how or why, but this activity really helps me. I think I read somewhere that most "artistic" people tend to struggle with depression. It's as if the creative intensity gives us the capacity to not only express amazing creativity but also the capacity to sink to the lowest depths. This is the case for me.
I wish you all a safe day - if you can, please try to do one tiny little thing that will affirm your worth today. Even if you don't believe you have worth, I am believing so enough for the both of us!