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 a piece of an old friend who lives with PTSD, anxiety, and depression, among other things. Although we no longer speak, they were one of the best friends I ever had. It kills me that they suffered so much, that they were so haunted by bits of their past. I really wanted to convey a feeling of being trapped, of being pushed down but also trying to push back.
oil and string on cardboard // critiques appreciated!
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