“Photo of botanicals by Sutro Baths, in San Francisco.”
Photo Credit: Nicole Wiehe, All Rights Reserved.
I never thought I’d live past 18. I didn’t have a fatal illness, nor was I planning on being a part of some freak accident… I was planning on a full blown act of suicide. I figured life was absolute bullshit and I wasn’t interested in playing the game. At the too-early age of 16, I said fuck it and gave suicide a try. Obviously I failed, which turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me… accidentally.
Whenever I come to that point in the story everyone asks “Well, isn’t that when it got better?” absolutely not. After my attempt at suicide I was more broken than ever, I felt so disconnected from the world and whatever was happening around me that I needed something to escape. In fact, for the longest time this escape for me was a series of hallucinations protecting me from what hurt me on the outside. Voices that confused me, and brought me in different dimensions. Doctors in the ward diagnosed me as schizophrenic, overmedicated me and sent me on my way.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school, where some part of me realized if I didn’t change something I would be like this for the rest of my life. I ended up going to an adolescent rehab where I really learned to love myself and who I am. The people there gave me all the love I ever wanted, so much, that I moved my whole life to California where the rehab was. I found a true interest in art, and applied to art school. I traveled to San Francisco, found an amazing therapist, and changed my life. Which brings me to my blog:
In the span of time where I got out of the psych ward, to where I actually gained recovery and a sense of self I got extremely involved in art because I was going to school. Truthfully though, I was always doing art, since I was a kid, but I was using it to hide from the world, but now I want to share it with the world. It came naturally, and it made me feel something which was a huge contrast from feeling nothing. I ended up spending every second in my sketchbook and exploring large canvases. I went from spending money on drugs to spending money on art supplies, and even in the upside down world around me I had found serenity in something, and suddenly I wasn’t so depressed anymore.
I want to write about this because it changed my life. Of course the countless therapists, in patient and outpatient rehabs all had their share of influence, but the thing that really gave me purpose and stability was my own passion driving me forward and keeping me breathing each day. I want to give everyone I can that same thing to hold on to, because even if the world is falling apart around you, you’ll always have something to keep you down to earth.
But here I am, far past 18…just kidding I’m only 22, but now I don’t see life as the end, I truly see it as the beginning. There is so much good in the world, and if there is anything I’ve learned in these insane 22 years it’s that you have to make your life what it is, and my life is full when I share my love, and knowledge with the world, so here it begins!
Each week I will be uploading and adding new ways to use art and drawing to make your life as fluid and peaceful as possible, just as I’ve made mine. If you’re sick of the reality you live in, just paint your own.
A Guide to Using Art as a Coping Skill, through the lens of a former psychiatric ward patient, and current painter.