In the warm summer of 2009 a young artist began to create a darkened children’s book. This book started to take shape and in time began to develop darker undertones. Ideas began pouring out onto sheet after sheet of paper. It started to develop a life of its own. This book developed into a story about a unique individual who was made fun of for being eccentric. The moral of this story would end with them becoming enraged over these negative traumas, and devouring the world with their silent demons.
The moral of this book was simple:
“We cannot have peace until humans accept each others differences”.
This book was mine, but as with many things I started when I was younger, it was never finished.
I always knew I was ‘strange’ but never truly knew how. I felt this way until I finally received my true diagnosis, only having been misdiagnosed prior simply with ‘generalized anxiety disorder‘. I am very open and comfortable with myself, my diagnosis and the journey it took to get to where I am today; it made me who I am and gave me a clear picture of who I want to be. I do not feel shame because has taught me deeply about empathy, and lead me to knowing who I want to be and what I want out of life. Having these struggles helped me want to provide caring mental health services to others who perhaps find themselves struggling to navigate a system of oppression and a medical model of care that lacks a trauma informed and human centered approach. It was easy to see the gap between providers and their clients. How, many providers would talk to people like numbers or as part of a system rather than human beings. I found, and still find, this very troubling. It is important to remember where we come from and where our struggles lie, because only then can we truly understand where those we serve come from. We can connect as humans, as people, and travel the journey of recovery together.
The artwork on this page tells a story of a time when I was struggling to know who I was and when I was needing to understand myself in a way I could not. I found myself needing guidance and asking questions, but would only find more questions at the end of each road. This was so difficult and I found it devoured me for much of my young adult life, causing de-motivation, depression, anxiety and irritability. I felt lost.
It lead me to finally persue my degree in psychology, at first, in order to understand who I am as a person, but then to connect with others on a deeper level. Eventually, I learned that the human mind is a beautiful puzzle. We are all so variant, and yet all share such fascinating similarities. Even with our fellow creatures whom we share this planet with. One small thing we have in common with other mammals is that we all experience emotion to some degree. However, what sets us apart? Humans are the most extreme. We are like no other. We have the opportunity to be the most helpful and healing creature, or the most destructive. I find this concept both fascinating and beautiful.
It has been years since I was in such a dark place. I was able to climb out of the ditch I was buried in, and toward the sunlight once again, feeling the warmth of happiness wash over me. There is hope, even in unexpected places. Sometimes it is a change of perspective. Sometimes it is medication. Sometimes it lies in natural medicine or dietary changes or various types of therapy. Whatever the need and cause there is always some light at the end of the tunnel.
I want anyone reading this to know, I hear you, your feelings are valid and you deserve love, even on those dreary dark days when you can’t give it to yourself. Nobody deserves abuse, sometimes it is time to leave that abusive relationship, even when the abuser is yourself.
– Epic Thundercat
Media: Ink, Marker, Water color
*Contrary to this image I did not actually do drugs. This image was a response to pharmaceutical medications and their side effects.