Monday, October 18, 2010

Laura's Story: Discovering and Coping with Depression

Laura Comito is an American artist who I ment on the world wide web. She has openly shared about her struggles with depression in a book entitled "Outside the Lines" by Laura L. Comito. Here is a little bit about her story:
Glass tile mosaic of Laura's hand print.
"The spiral on the palm is my life path and the hand symbolizes my need to work with my hands."

 I am an artist. I collect stuff- a lot of stuff. I am a mixed media collage artist which is a fancy way of saying packrat.

Mental illness runs in my family. Just part of what makes me who I am. My parents were undiagnosed but looking back I am pretty sure my father was bipolar and my mother was depressed. My older brother was severely autistic – at least that is the diagnosis we got- it was the late 50’s and to be honest the Doctors were never really sure.  In my early 20’s I started having trouble concentrating, couldn’t sleep and then when I did sleep wanted to sleep all day. I lost interest in pretty much everything that I enjoyed and isolated myself from family and friends. The worst was when I stopped collecting and creating. Then I knew something was wrong. That was the first time I heard about chemical depression.  It was the early 80’s and the meds for depression were awful. As soon as I started taking them I wanted to stop and I did as soon as possible. I was able to coast for about 15 years with out medication but I was not a fun person to live with and I pretty much operated at bare minimum which was not fair to my family.

"Dance We Must"-acrylic painting
After the birth of my 4th child I knew something had to change. I went back to my Doctor and he told me I was depressed. Surprise huh? Then he looked me right in the eye and said you will need medication for the rest of your life. I got a little hostile with him but then he said if you were diabetic you would take insulin everyday wouldn’t you? This is no different.  (Today’s antidepressants are much better than the old school meds.)

That was the turning point for me. That was when I realized the only way to live with depression was to take ownership of it. I AM DEPRESSED and I am not afraid to talk about it.  I published a book about my depression because I wanted to let people know they are not alone.  One of the ways I cope with depression is to do something creative everyday.  Collage, sew, knit, or write...whatever I am in the mood to do. Art keeps me grounded.  Art keeps that pit far away from me.

Laura and her self portrait. Charcoal on canvass.
completed "a few weeks before I was diagnosed with depression"

           ...where coloring outside the lines is encouraged!

Laura L Comito
507 N Main Street
Carroll, IA 51401


  1. The following comment was made at

    Oh my how insitful. She really hit the nail on the head when she said she had to take ownership of her depression and admit she had it and work with it. Thank you so much for sharing this and my hats off to Laura. I like so many of you suffer from depression and my way out is to use my hands and mind and create something. Sometimes after I have worked my way through one of the spells, and I look back at what I did, they are hilarious, but it doesnt matter if it got me through it. Thank you again for sharing this.
    Penny Sypherd

    Oh my gosh, I just went to check her out and she lives right here in Iowa. I hope to some day make it to the other side of the state and check her out. She sounds like a wonderful inspiring person. Thanks again.
    Penny Sypherd on Oct, 18 at 7:11 AM

  2. I just want to thank you for letting me be a guest blogger. The more we can get mental illness in the mainstream the easier it will be for people to get help. That's my opinion- take away the stigma and it's not so scary. Laura



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