When I say I was born into depression I mean exactly that; both my parents lived a lifetime in depression, and growing up with depressed parents, depression became my norm. Depression shows differently in everyone—my dad’s depression looked very different from my mother’s, and mine was different from them both. I was lucky, however; I had art as a way to express myself and give a voice to the inner feelings I didn’t even understand. At times it gave my depression a physical form and art kept me going when everything around me was unstable. Art, more specifically drawing, was my life. It was with me my since I could remember…until it wasn’t.
Eventually depression caught up with me in a big way and I stopped drawing. I didn’t want to stop, but I was unable to create, which just added to the depression. Art—my life—came to a halt and no matter how hard I tried, I could not visually express myself. Patiently I waited, thinking it was ‘just a slump’ and I’d bounce back when my mind was ready. I waited and waited…and waited. Slowly I started doing creative things, but after enough time passed something happened I never thought possible; I lost my desire to draw.
Passion in my art means everything to me. Without passion, art is stale. There was little point in my drawing without it, my art would just be as hollow as I was.
So I packed up my drawing pencils and art supplies and stored them away. I kept busy attempting to write, doing craft projects and designing—all creative endeavors, but not what I was born to do.
Fast forward to 2016 when a spark ignited. It was small, but I pursued the inspiration and drew for the first time in ten years. My skills were rusty and my hands were clumsy, but it was a start. Sadly, the spark lasted a short while and I put away my supplies again. Then I met an artist friend, who loved to paint. I hadn’t had a friend who practiced traditional art in so long I had forgotten how to even talk about art. The seeds were planted and I started looking on social media to watch people watercolor, the skill I was pursuing before depression disabled me. It was time. I decided to jump in with both feet and joined a watercolor class to nurture the desire, give myself an outside motivator, and to keep me accountable to stick with it.
In my personal projects I work with concepts like numbness, bitterness, and/or depression; all states of being I know well. A goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of living in these places—and hopefully help others make better choices than I did. I always believe in hope, even when it seems there might not be any. If there is hope for me there is hope for others; and there is.
-“Fractured”, a self portrait