After I was diagnosed - that is to say, after a year of lying to myself about what had been happening, I vowed to myself that I would be honest with myself and others about myself and my struggle. So even casual conversations like, “Yeah, I’m not feeling too good - I’m still adjusting to my medication” ended up leading to a lot of connections with other people going through the same thing. It battled the sense of isolation that is so prevalent in mental illness, and it gave my own struggles validity to just say them. So I started off my senior year by drawing and painting other friends of mine who were living with mental illness. The goal was to create a safe space for us to connect and have a discussion about things that usually aren’t said aloud, to give them, myself, and my audience the same sense of validity that I felt after opening up about my experiences.
This is my friend who lives with OCD, which causes and is conversely caused by both anxiety and depression. The funny thing about OCD is that it’s all about trying to gain control over your situation - but in the end it starts to control you. This person suffers, but she is such a sun-spot in my life - she’s supportive and kind and fiesty, and I wanted people to see that she suffers too, but that she is not her suffering.
oil on old plywood // critiques appreciated!
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