Depression, Gratitude and Art

I had terrible depression a younger teenager. It’s improved a lot as I’ve gotten older. I did therapy for several years, and just growing up and being able to control my life and who I let close to me has made a huge difference. I still jut have days on occasion where my head just seems to be stuck in a raincloud. Sometimes it happen after a difficult event or a lot of stress. Other time it feels rather random. It never lasts for more than 2 or 3 days anymore, so I know it’s just a matter of pushing through for a few days until I feel like myself again. It’s difficult to just feel trapped in that mindset for a few days though.

I was feeling unusually down for a couple days last week. I had realized in the past few month that something that helps ease the depression is focusing on things I am grateful for. When I get depressed, my mind really focuses on the negative and it can feel almost hopeless if I let my mind stay there. So I made a conscious effort to focus a bit more on what I am thankful for and that helped quite a bit. I have a LOT in my life to be thankful for.

Then I decided to try to be a bit crafty. In the worst of my teenage depression, I looked forward to art class. I took as many art classes as I was able to in high school. I’ve never been very skilled at making much of anything, but I really enjoy the process of trying to make something. In high school I realized that it can be cathartic to try to make something crafty, even if I don’t end up keeping, using or displaying whatever I try to make. If I enjoy the process and it helps lift my mood, that is still worthwhile!

crafting through depression

I spent about four hours on this craft project. I drew two people, cut them into shapes, cut those shapes out of cardboard, painted the cardboard pieces and hot-glued them to the background. I originally tried to make a painted background but I wasn’t happy with the painted background so I opted to use mod podge to use newspaper piece as a background instead. I didn’t have any white paint left, so I couldn’t lighten my colors.

Once it was done, I didn’t like it enough to hang up. I was trying to do cartoonish versions of Ryan and I, so I intentionally made silly shapes for our faces. Though I realized his face shape made his character look much heavier than mine, and it made it awkward to make a beard shape that looked like a beard and not a goatee. I tried making the beard cover the whole bottom of his face, but then he looked extremely fat, like he had a massive neck. So, it didn’t end up being something I liked enough to keep. I’ve since thrown it away. But pouring my energy into painting and crafting kept my mind buy and lifted my spirits. My depression seemed to totally fade away by the next day. I plan to try to remember ot get crafty more often when I’m feeling down.

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