Mental Illness Depicted Through The Visual Arts

 

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Photography by Robbie Cavanaugh posted on The Mighty website article titled, Surreal Photos Show a Side of Depression We Don’t Often Get to See

 

These next several links will take you to articles on The Mighty website (a great website if I might add) that use art to better describe what it’s like to live with mental illness. I think it’s a clever idea that people are using art to better provide understanding to others on what it’s like to live with a mental illness. I think it is a lot better than verbally discribing it which is even much more difficult. Through the medium of the visual arts, mental illness a concrete look, because it has a “figure”. Not to mention art has a way of bringing about aesthetic energy among its viewers no matter what form of art. Thus through art it should bring about a better feel on mental illness by giving it a face and a story (as art typically does). So, check out them out on the links below:

This Comic Shows the Daily Battle of Someone With Anxiety and Depression

This Eerie Photograph Shows Anxiety Like We’ve Never Seen It Before

Powerful Comic Reveals What It Can Feel Like to Live With Anxiety

Artist’s Thoughtful Comic Conveys Her Experience With Anxiety

Photographer Explores Her Depression With Vulnerable Self-Portraits

Man Captures Stages of His Own Self-Acceptance in Surreal Photo Series

These Surreal Images Explore the Inner World of Depression

Show This Video to Anyone Who Doesn’t Believe Depression is A Medical Condition

Surreal Photos Show a Side of Depression We Don’t Often Get to See

Gripping Photo Series Portrays Anxiety With Everyday Objects

Comic Strip Uses Humor to Tackle Everyday Challenges of Anxiety

I Drew How Anxiety Affects Me

What Anxiety Feels Like, as Told by a Comic

When People Say Anxiety Is ‘All in Your Head,’ Show Them This

Recovery Part 3

Ugh….I am so miserable! It seems that even with my meds, depression manages to somehow elude the meds effects. Sneaky bastard! It’s been having a terrible effect on me, especially at work! Sometimes it feels like depression just likes to make itself cozy on my shoulders and put its paws over my eyelids, while I struggle to carryout my given duties at work. I don’t know why this should be even happening! Could it be because I’m not sleeping well? Or I haven’t been consistent with my meds? Or am I still recovering from the ridiculousness that was Fall semester? Whatever it is, I don’t know!

My family thinks I should stop taking meds, because they don’t think my meds are helping. Though let’s face it, without my meds I wouldn’t be able to function nearly as well as I am right now. In the past I was always so hesitant to take part in things or events. And not hesitant in a good way; hesitant like being on the side lines of your life hesitant. Not to mention my family did not like when I was “out of balance” or “immature”, even though I kept telling them the behaviors I was exhibiting was not by choice. So I got help. But now my family thinks meds aren’t helping me, even though I keep telling them the meds help with the chemical imbalance inside my head (and well CBT helps with the cognitive imbalance). Sigh…damned if you, damned if you don’t.

Speaking of damnation, I am always asking myself should I tell my employer about my mental illness. I am terrified for the fear of them using a loophole in the ADA or them blackballing me if I made or have been making mistakes. Then, instead of saying it’s my mental illness, it’s ‘cause I’m not competent to do a job! Now if there’s one thing I know is I am anything, but incompetent. However, living my mental illness trips me up.

Sigh…I feel like nobody in my life how truly understands my daily plight. And if they think they are frustrated…phbt! They have no idea how I feel! It hurts to know deep down in your spirit, you know you are capable of much more, but then for some reason you act in ways that are contradictory to who you really are. It pisses me off that I always have “fight” within myself order to find a “middle” ground with the two illnesses. When I get anxious, I act like a chicken with its head cut off. However when doing so, I eventually get burnt out by my anxiety. Sometimes, I feel it makes it easier for depression to come in to further induce exhaustion and anxiety. While undergoing depression, I end up losing interests I like doing, like blogging and exercising and end up excessive sleeping or sleepy. I’m starting to see it more often especially at work. Man!  I get so tired and sleepy! Got me in trouble today and I couldn’t tell my colleague and my boss the real reason I messed up at work.  I wanna tell my boss, but I am afraid. But I am also afraid of losing my job if I do reveal my illness. I wouldn’t be surprised they knew, but even if they did, I don’t know if they would help me. I’m not asking them give me an easier load, ‘cause I can do my job. I just need their support, whether it’s consistently writing my lunch break, giving me a pep talk like “you can do it” or “I’m here if you need anything.” Especially the latter one…I’m not very good at asking for help. I’m afraid of being misjudged or people turning a whole 360 on me when I do end up asking for help. I’m pretty independent (had to especially since I have been growing up it was hard to find a good support group), smart, capable, strong woman…I just need help…

My clients are so lucky they get that! Although my job is to support my clients, it’s something I really like to do out of my heart. I want to give them the support I wasn’t given as I grew up. And it’s okay…. It’s good to see someone smile and grow right in front of you. As Gandhi said, “You have to be the person, you wish to see in the world.” I don’t want to withhold kindness and support to others, just because it wasn’t given to me. It would not be a good excuse; not to mention it would be selfish to do so.

Sigh…I wish the people in life where as supportive as the people on my WordPress, Tumblr, and Twitter sites. It’s so sad! And very strange! It’s weird having people who see me day in and out not able to understand how hard I’m trying to get better. It breaks my heart, when really I want what everyone else wants from those around them: love, respect, hospitality and empathy.

Then again this is the recovery process—it wasn’t said that this process would be easy. Sometimes the symptoms come and go and sometimes….just sometimes… it likes to stay over and “check” on how I’m doing. I remember my therapist going over with me the process of recovery. He did tell me sometimes it might take days to make a recovery, but that no matter, what to keep remember how far I made to get where I am now. And I guess that’s what I should do…keep staying strong for a brighter and better day.