A never ending question, “Why?” And often a hard question to answer.
When I knew I wanted to start working more diligently on my blog and get back to my passion for art making I had to ask myself, “Why?” I could tell that I had all of the pieces that I needed… the idea, the talent, the organization, the drive… but, there it was again, “Why?” And it had to be. I recently learned that in order to work smarter, and live your own happiness (as it is, in fact, your journey), you have to lead your life and your work with your purpose, your reason, your “Why?”
So I did some soul searching.
Now I’m not going to lie, I’ve been soul searching since I was about 15, and because of this, I’ve developed a solid sense of self-awareness. Digging into why I wanted to get a side hustle going took being honest with myself in a silent situation, left only with my thoughts, and feelings. And I found my story; the story that led to my why.
So I’m sharing. This is why I’m doing this blog post. This is why I’m painting again. This is why I’m obsessed with quotes and life and communication and chocolate. Here me out, friend, we’re likely more similar than you think.
. . .
I cannot pin point when my depression started. It might have been around the time that I started high school and wasn’t making any friends. It might have been when my parents got divorced. Maybe it was inevitable because both of my biological parents have struggled with mental health issues. But it doesn’t matter when it started because I will never forget the first time that I woke up on the floor of my closet to find myself curled up next to dirty laundry, with a pair of “safety” scissors still clutched in my hand and the first of what would be many cuts laid plain across the underside of my left arm. I was 14.
For years, I found myself drowning my ever haunting sadness with cutting. I didn’t know why I was sad or anxious all of the time. I didn’t know why everything my mother did or said made me scream and hate her and push her away. I didn’t even know why I always felt sick to my stomach for no obvious reason. But I knew it was happening.
Throughout high school I struggled daily with my self-esteem, and my identity. I felt as though I could turn to no one, including the few friends I did end up making. It wasn’t until my junior year that I began speaking with the school therapist, Kim. For the rest of my high school career I spoke with her once a week, always willing to lay my heart on the table for any advice that would help me. I didn’t know why I was depressed but I knew that I didn’t want to be.
Upon graduation I was left without Kim, without friends, and without any prospects for college. Had I really slacked that hard? It seemed so. I took a year off after high school to gain some work experience and make more art before carting myself off to the Columbus College of Art and Design. During this time I met my boyfriend Greg. Looking back now I can tell you that I wasn’t emotionally prepared for what a relationship had to bring. I transferred my issues to this man and subconsciously looked to him as my healer. Despite those odds, and the fact that our relationship went from constant contact to long distance, we’ve actually managed to stay strong, hold it together, and we’re still together today. He has been patient. He has been my rock.
Going off to college in a new place was significantly more than I was prepared to handle, and it wasn’t long before I found myself sitting in the dark again with insomnia and a few razors. Luckily, CCAD had campus therapists as well. That’s where I met Amy.
I saw Amy once a week, sometimes twice a week, in order to cope with depression and my new friend, anxiety. She helped me to ignite a fire in myself that I never even knew I possessed. She sat with me while I cried, and talked me through getting to the root of my problems. Ultimately, Amy helped me to develop a sense self-awareness I never thought possible. Eventually I stopped cutting to drown the pain, and after a time I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I stopped feeling guilty for being sad, and let my emotions tell me something instead of trying to hide them away. I finally felt empowered, even just a little, to take my life and my happiness into my own hands and stop being a victim of the ill things life had to throw my way.
When I left CCAD to transfer to the Art Academy of Cincinnati I lost Amy’s services, as I was no longer a student, but her words and our talks still resonate with me today.
I spent so much time being sucked down by a darkness that I couldn’t explain, and it took just as long to pull myself up and find the light. If there is one thing I learned from overcoming depression it is that we all need a little help getting somewhere sometimes, and that happiness is something one can only achieve internally, on their own, because happiness comes from self-love.
Self love is the source of all our other loves. -Pierre Corneille
This is my personal philosophy, my mission, my why. I live and work to lend myself to helping others find their light and shine it, find their Truth and speak it, and ultimately, cultivate their own happiness. I only hope to motivate and inspire others who have lived through, or are currently living through, depression. I stand to remind people that their story is their own, and that we must all own and share our stories.