Back in 2017, I began struggling with my mental health. A lot of things happened in my personal and professional life in the years before but I chose to push through instead of reach out for help.
Consequently, one day I broke.
The Albatross project came out of my counselling sessions. My counsellor was amazing and counselling was pivotal for me. The images started as responses to visualisation exercises during these sessions. Once counselling had finished, The Albatross Project became a cathartic process. It journeyed through destruction, rebuilding and rebirth. Until one day, I didn’t feel the need to create those images anymore. I had the desire to create different art, for the first time in almost two years.
There are unfinished images for this series and concepts that never got started. I had so many ideas for the brokenness, each idea being the visualisation of emotion, often pain. I’m interested in how they would turn out being in a different place mentally.
However you choose to express what’s going on with you, the important thing is to express it. Get it out. Keeping everything in puts tremendous strain in your mind and your body. Eczema, IBS, allergies can be some of the symptoms your mental health is under stress. As well as panic attacks, trouble sleeping, self – medication with substances such as alcohol, trembling, forgetfulness.
The list is long and varied, which is why it can be difficult to realise that your mental health is not in good shape. Withdrawal from friends and family can be a sign. Often when you really don’t want to talk to or see people, it is the very time that you need to be taking to them. Make it either a professional counsellor or those in your very inner circle. Nobody else has earned access to the inner parts of you. I am so lucky to have an amazing immediate family. I’ve shed a lot of unnecessary and toxic people. My inner circle is small, but mighty :).
I have shared my own personal experiences and learnings. I didn’t realise I had so much to say! Everybody’s experiences are different, yet equally challenging. What is important is that we share them, in order to dissolve the taboo.
What I’ve learned: You’re not crazy. You’re working through some tough shit. You’ll get through it. You’ll be stronger. You’ll be wiser.
Check out the rest of the series in Collections