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.