If you’ve been following this blog for a while you probably didn’t know a month ago that I have a history of mental health problems. It’s not that I hide it, I don’t. I may we’ll have mentioned here before, I’m not sure. It’s just that it’s generally not that relevant to my drawing. But that all changed with the C-19 lockdown.
Drawing, painting, any kind of art, has been an essential therapeutic activity for me since I started to draw 5 or 6 years ago. But it’s only in the last week or so that I’ve actually used my choice of portrait to process my emotions. I tried to write about how I was feeling last week but it was too difficult.
I think many people don’t understand how triggering this situation is for people with a history of mental health problems. I had severe depression and anxiety which left me agoraphobic for a long time. Learning to leave the house again regularly and relatively easily was a long slow difficult process. Not being able to triggers very difficult memories and the fear of a relapse. It’s hard to write about all the feelings I have without provoking intense anxiety, it’s much easier to draw a portrait that reflects my feelings, and doing that reduces my anxiety.
Today this is the image that best fits my mood because I want to roar. Not in anger, this is more of a shout-out, a roar-out, for all those amazing people in my online mental health community who are managing those difficulties in this lockdown with minimal help, if any, from mental health services AND supporting each other. Yes, healthcare workers and delivery drivers are amazing but so is someone who has ever had OCD who is coping with all the public health messages about a virus and handwashing. I’m so grateful to my mental health community both on and offline for being there for me and for everyone else who needs them right now.
Thanks to Sktchy muse Adamo for being inspiration for today’s portrait, which I painted with watercolours in a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.