During a recent period of heightened anxiety levels I decided to try and express what I was experiencing through my sketching. All sketches were done with acrylic paints.
I have never been formally diagnosed with any particular condition but I have experienced anxiety and panic attacks since my teenage years. Just over three years ago the panic attacks started becoming more frequent. I actually hadn’t realised that I was anxious at all or that what I had been experiencing was a panic attack until I started having them every day and went to the doctor about it, convinced it was a purely physiological problem.
I had learned to manage the anxiety and panic quite well without any chemical assistance for a few years but when it all started up again seven months ago, I decided enough was enough and looked for a prescription from my doc. Once the meds kicked in, I felt totally levelled out, relaxed and what it must feel like to be “normal”. But, about two months ago, this effect started to wear off and feelings of anxiety and hopelessness took over stronger than ever. These months culminated in having panic attacks every single day last week and three on Friday, just to cap off a particularly shitty week. My doc upped my meds which has helped calm me down but I am looking to alternatives to medication to deal with it.
In the past when I experienced these anxious/depressive episodes I’d pour myself into my writing and end up with pages upon pages of blackness that is incredibly hard to read afterwards when the dark feelings have passed. I stopped turning to writing a while ago, I think I got bored of the repetition, so it was new and strange for me to pick up a paintbrush during this time but I did find it therapeutic.
When I started this blog I had wanted it to be a fairly frank depiction of my day to day life and the state of my mental health through sketches. I think I lost that original idea along the way and got caught up with trying to recreate various standard sketching subjects, which I have enjoyed, but I’m glad now to post a blog on something that is very personal to me. I suppose I’ve been trying to keep this side of me hidden so it’s quite liberating to write about it here. Also, it was good to try and sketch from my imagination, conveying my feelings rather than trying to capture images from photos for a change.
I found some of the sketches I ended up with are a bit childish to be honest but I think that by doing these sketches it has helped me loosen up my imagination a bit and the more I sketched the more ideas I got. Although, now that the acute anxiety has passed I don’t want to revisit this theme again, hopefully not for a long, long time.