THE ART AND THE DIAGNOSIS
From July 2020
4 years ago, when I was only 18 years old, my life came to a standstill when I was diagnosed with stress. A late afternoon on the way home from drivers ed, my body said no for the first time. It felt like something inside me was short circuited. Shaking, crying, panicking, hyperventilating and fearful, I watched my inner house of cards collapse. From one day to the next, I suddenly couldn't participate in social gatherings. I could no longer hold a continuous conversation or seem engaged in my relationships. I could no longer recognize myself. All the values that I had always stood for fell completely to the ground. To be social, open-minded, welcoming, outgoing, joyful and attentive. To be the good energy in the room. I could no longer adhere to any of my core values. It was a nightmare, but had I known at the time what awaited me, I would have stayed at that stage.
As the months passed (and I struggled to keep up with school and maintain my close relationships, due to a lack of initiative and energy), my diagnosis morphed into depression. I was on sick leave from work and had to give up all my leisure interests. It was hell for me.
My circle of friends quickly sensed that something was wrong, as canceling on them was more the rule than the exception. But did I confirm their theory? Absolutely not. Because if I accepted their degraded view of me, I was forced to accept my own as well - and that was not to be borne.
The fear that someone would discover my deteriorating health and therefore think less of me brought another diagnosis. A diagnosis that I still struggle with today. The anxiety. Panic anxiety and social anxiety were the two branches of the illness that were given me. Several times I had to hide in the empty hallways of my school so that no one would notice my panic attacks. I wouldn't offer them that. It is a terrifying sight, to lose one's logic and reason.
Fast forward: After being medicated, been on long-term sick leave for the 2nd time and appointed as a guinea pig for a therapy project, I still needed to use other means.
In autumn 2019, I took a paint brush in my hand for the first time and felt an all-important relief. A refuge where I didn't have to hide and suppress the simmering anxiety and flow of tears. Here the tears could fall and the feelings could be given access to express themselves when words were superficial. All my paintings are therefore a reflection of my innermost being and thus incredibly personal to me. Today, I resort to the paint brush, regardless of the feelings I'm having. A sunny morning with morning coffee and podcasts is an obvious opportunity for self-immersion in the art world - and not least self-indulgence. The combination of art and therapy has been my way out of the dark.
My journey has taught me so much and I am full of hope for the future. I have found a passion in helping other young people through tough times and showing what art can do for your health.
I believe that creativity is the way to a healthier mind. At least for me.
Thanks for reading.