Art therapy is something I have recently found a love for and I encourage others to give it a go. I couldn’t paint for sh*t haha and I call my current level of painting “abstract”. You don’t need to know how to paint, it’s just a great way (I’ve found) to express myself or ground myself (for those that don’t know this term, it means to pull yourself into the present moment, practice mindfulness. For example if somethings triggered an anxiety attack or a meltdown, it’s a method used to calm yourself.
Often I am being lectured about how dark alot of my paintings are. I do paint “positive bright colours” sometimes and incorporate the things or people I am grateful for, positive uplifting quotes or sometimes dreams and aspirations. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. Sometimes I need to express the dark thoughts before they eat away at me and I explode. Same with my need to listen to “depressing music” as it puts things I cant express into lyrics and I feel less alone.
I want the share my latest series that I have called my “Alienation Series”. I have painted these to show how much of an outcast I have become because of my mental health issues, how much I have lost and how lonely I feel. Each piece expressing something different.
#1 This first piece in my series I wanted to express how my misunderstood, misdirected, whirlwind of intense emotions have ripped me away from my entire existence and outcast me into an isolated place. Alienated, like I am a destructive and abnormal creature. Caused people I love to walk away from me, to give up, to ignore me or to become irritated, offended or to develop feelings of bitterness towards me. What they could/would not understand is… I’m bloody scared! I’m unable to express the things I need to; for people to understand me and I find they become dismissive of my feelings, just because I have an illness. I feel like I am being put in a cage so occasionally I lash out like an injured animal, hostile and afraid but with no intention to halm anyone but myself. It’s like an instinctive thing that my mind does, kind of like a defense mechanism.
#2 Represents the ‘lows’ (depression) and ‘highs’ (hypomania/mania). I struggle with suicidal idealization and thoughts of self halm or mutilation quite regularly. My brave front is well practiced let’s just say, so this shows some of the pain bleeding beneath the surface. You’ll notice that both of the alien heads, even the sunflower faced one on a ‘high’; are both bleeding. I have done this to represent a couple of aspects of 1) That mania/hypomania can also lead you down destructive pathdue of the carefree, impulsive, erratic, hyperactivity, over the top enthusiasm, the fast talking and an energy that can keep you awake or running on very sleep for days. The high sounds somewhat fun and it can be, but it does not necessarily mean you are happy so 2) It also a representation of something called a “mixed episode”, “mixed mood state” OR when I am “rapid cycling”. Often in my mixed episodes I move at a really fast pace, am erratic but with a determination to cause damage to myself as I am extremely angry or depressed, experiencing intense levels of self loathing. Or I go into a semi dissociative state where I become consumed by tasks and just end up chasing my tail essentially, as I try hard to fight off the screaming self hate by keeping my hands busy.
#3 And last in the series is me being burnt at the stake like a witch was back in the days. In the wood at the bottom are a number of things that I am/have been called. It expresses being burnt, discarded of, bullied, left for dead; for all the things I am or people THINK that I am due to their lack of understanding as to why I respond the way I do or due to assumptions. An example of this is – if you have Borderline Personality Disorder the you’re definitely promiscuous, your an addict or you’re a thief. NEWS FLASH SOCIETY!!!!! I’m different, yeah. Everyone is! And not everyone who has a mental illness experiences all or the same symptoms that are listed. Just because I lash out, I do not hate you, mean the things I have said or that I don’t respect you. Sometimes I am just overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings that, well, I essentially explode with emotion. In regards to me being called things like “interesting”, “unique”, “different”, “quirky”, “alternative”; often they are sugarcoated versions that people think I’m an odd ball. I own that! But don’t burn, bully or put me in a box for these things…