An Artist Shares Mind and Art

An Artist Shares Mind and Art

Andrea’s Narrative

I am Andrea. I would like to share the story of my life with you, and perhaps even view it from a different perspective myself.

I have experienced many ups and downs, tough and overwhelming moments, but Something in my mind and my heart accompanied and saved me. It helped me overcome all these issues and ultimately led to stability and relief in the end. It was the only thing — my love, painting — that survived alongside me.

I was a happy and sociable 11-year-old kid. I loved drawing and often used tracing paper to copy cartoons. My art was admired both at home and at school. My parents encouraged me, and my teacher was proud of my talent. Everything seemed good. However, one day, I woke up with a heavy heart and a sense of melancholy. Suddenly, everything turned dark in my life, and I felt overwhelmed with sadness and helplessness. At that time, nothing could bring me happiness. I withdrew and wouldn’t speak. I wouldn’t even eat, just lying on my bed for long periods. I had no energy to even begin my day. It felt like there was no hope in my life. I dropped out of school. My parents were worried, but I couldn’t bring myself to open up to them. My parents took me to see a doctor. The doctor recommended starting medication, but my mom refused, so I began psychotherapy sessions twice a week with a youth psychologist instead. Drawing and painting became my solace, my refuge from the storm raging inside me. Through art, I found a way to express my emotions when words failed me. 

 After regaining my energy and finding myself in a better mood, I made the decision to return to school. At that time, I met Jeff, I made the choice to leave home at 18 and move in with his family. Soon after, I became pregnant with our first child. My strict parents pressured me into marrying Jeff, despite his lack of responsibility and the verbal and physical abuse I endured from him. After just a year, our marriage ended in divorce when I was pregnant with my second child.  As a single mother of two children, I felt like I was back at square one, facing the challenges of life once more. I spent my days in my apartment, immersed in painting and scrapbooking, feeling hopeless and devoid of dreams or goals. Thankfully, my parents provided financial support during this difficult time.

Days passed by, and I ventured out of my apartment. I ran into Tom, a friend from high school, another misstep in my relationships and choice of partner. He was a drunk abuser, and he became the father of my third child. It felt like I was on a roller coaster. With lots of ups and downs, the roller coaster of my life continued its chaotic ride.

The last downturn lasted three years, and it was the worst because I felt something different. It resulted in a different experience of hallucination. Everything seemed to be shaking, and I found myself sleeping excessively with no energy. I went for weeks without eating. Every day, I grappled with feelings of shame and self-blame for repeatedly falling in love with the wrong person. I had a patchy memory of that time. I wandered the streets, unpurposefully strolling for hours, and my mood was anything but stable. It is all a blur, but I do recall being kept in a psychiatric hospital for 72 hours, and I was discharged without any medication or a plan for continued treatment.

 This cycle repeated four times until I found the right place in my life that could make me a strong, confident, and stable person. This place is Dixon Hall Respite. It is my second home. They arranged for me to visit my doctor every month and receive long-acting psychoactive medication. I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Dixon Hall also provided me with a space to work, along with painting and drawing equipment, allowing me to continue my artistic endeavors without any pressure. Each stroke of the brush became a release, a cathartic journey towards healing.

 All these helps me regain confidence and stability, allowing me to continue pursuing my passion for drawing. I discovered that I am a creative person who can navigate through ups and downs with resilience and gain valuable insights along the way. Every day feels like a camping trip to me. I am filled with joy, life, and laughter.

Art therapy has played a crucial role in Andrea’s journey, providing her with a therapeutic outlet to express her emotions and find stability amidst the challenges of schizoaffective disorder. Through painting and drawing, Andrea discovered a means to navigate her mood swings and channel her feelings in a constructive manner. Her artwork reflects the fluctuations in her mood, from somber and muted tones to vibrant and lively colors, showcasing the transformative power of artistic expression in managing mental health.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *