I may never have 10 K followers and this blog may only be read by a few, but the manner in which it has already helped me grow so much in my daily fight with depression, is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I took a chance on being completely open about my struggle with this illness, something I would have never imagined I would do, especially sharing imperfections that could foster judgement from others. But when you get to a mental space where you feel like you have nothing else to give to the world, being vulnerable and freeing your mind from isolation, felt like my public service; a calling I had to be obedient to, to know that my pain is not in vain. This is why I created ‘A Mental Life’. I’m realizing more and more each day, that the way we perceive life is all about our mentality. Having a mental illness can skew that perception, leaving you feeling as though life is worthless and a place of sad existence at times, but the beauty of a mind is that it can change; those same thoughts of sad existence can also be thoughts of pure joy for the possibilities in life.
That is why I truly believe that this life we live is ‘A Mental Life’, and my mentality CAN get better. So there is ALWAYS hope, but sometimes a depressed mentality or an anxious mentality etc., needs constant reminder of that hope, in those extremely low moments where your mentality can’t be reasoned with. Therefore, I wanted this notion of ‘A Mental Life’ to come alive; I wanted to have a reference of hope to look at, when I am blind to everything around me that should give me hope. Thank God for Rose, a local Nashville artist, and thank God for the world of social media connecting us. She took my vision and turned it into a masterpiece that I hope that I, those who are in this mental war with me, and those affected by the mental war (through close family members etc.) will be able to benefit from its meaning as well.
I wanted a symbol that represented not only the suffering, but those that are their supporters as well. The color green is a representation of mental health, and the way Rose creatively incorporated the watercolor to show the inconsistent cycle of lightness and darkness in the journey with a mental illness, speaks so much to me; but overall, it shows that light always peeks through the darkness and there is hope. The way the light and dark is encircled, shows the connection that all of humanity shares with mental health and gives hope to the chance that one day, EVERYONE will come together in support of the suffering and break the stigma, as well as embarrassment, that some may feel as they suffer in silence. The open wreath of leaves that surrounds the circle, is a depiction of growth; a journey with mental illness is all about growth, and you continue to grow as you mature in life with a mental illness.
Life may not be all good or all bad along this journey, but the fact that life is an open canvas of possibilities, there is always an opportunity for growth and change. If this notion or this symbol can help someone fight one more day or seek help without shame, than my pain is more valuable than any diamond in this world.
* I hope to be able to share this image of hope with the world through merchandise, as we stand together in spreading mental health awareness, support each other, and hopefully give back to someone else who may be affected , through volunteer efforts with mental health organizations, or in any way you can. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas of how you would like to see this image used for the greater good of mental health awareness.