Anxiety, art, mental health, parenting, slow living, women's health

Art and Mental Health

But I spend as much time as I can being creative, because it’s healing.

Dear Stranger, my name’s Caitlin and I have a mood disorder.

First things first…

I didn’t always have anxiety and depression. In fact, I used to be considered a class clown in my younger days. I remember being shy sometimes, but I was a pretty confident kid. As a girl I would love to make my friends laugh. I would draw funny pictures for them too, and make up characters. I’ve always been told I was creative.

greenery and a notebook laying on a white surface.

But things changed once I got a little older. I was sitting in a classroom in 8th grade, and suddenly I felt a fear I had never felt before. I felt trapped. I couldn’t breathe. I needed to get out of there. I didn’t know it then, but I had experienced my first panic attack. They say something traumatic must happen to a person for them to have an anxiety disorder, but that’s not always true.

Dear Depression,

As a teenager, I started getting depressed and anxious. I was too afraid to take pills or seek therapy at the time. But when I was feeling low, I always had my sketchbook. I drew fairies and elves and hobbits, mainly. And when I wasn’t drawing, my friends and I filmed brilliant (to us) videos. If Youtube existed back then, let me tell you we would’ve had our own channel. Just like in my younger years, I would play countless characters for the video camera, trying to make people laugh. When I did that, I forgot about my anxiety and depression. I felt like myself again.

Postpartum Depression

Fast forward to my years as a young mother. I had postpartum depression every time I had a new baby (and I had three kids in 5 years). I went through a period where I forgot how to be creative. I wasn’t drawing or writing anymore. But as the kids grew, I found that we could do crafts together. Making beeswax candles, making salt dough hand prints, …it was very fun creating things again, this time with my little ones.

The Spark of Creativity

I was still a lonely mom, but one day I had an idea. I decided to start hosting an annual tea party for my friends. It was called a Cupid’s Tea. We would craft Valentine’s together. Sitting there at my first of many tea parties, simply using a glue stick….it sparked something in me. From then on I never stopped trying to be creative.

Antique spoons on a white surface.

I started being more crafty. My kids and I made fairy gardens outside, and painted birdhouses. I started scrap booking. I even got more creative with my hair. I may have had depression, but dying my hair pink, purple, blue and teal cheered me up. I may have had anxiety, but I could rock a mohawk!

Healing Projects

When we moved from Virginia to Alabama, it wasn’t easy.

It was at this time I got really into painting wooden signs and making dream catchers. I made so many crafts that I was encouraged to start an Etsy shop, so I did. Knowing that people will pay money for the things I make is really encouraging. It helps me with my loneliness and my mood disorder.

Keep in mind, I still have a mood disorder. I have bad days. I manage it with medication and seeing a psychiatrist. But I spend as much time as I can being creative, because it’s healing.

Be Encouraged

I just want to encourage you, stranger, to try something just for you. Sketch, paint, blog, scrapbook, write, craft, or dye your hair red. There is something about creativity that has always helped me, and no matter what you’re going through, I believe it will help you too.

I will leave you with this quote by one of my heroes, which I love.

“You’re only given a little spark of madness; You mustn’t lose it” – Robin Williams

Pastel paint swatches, pencils, and botanical pieces on a white surface.

As David Horsey of the LA Times said: ” I very much doubt the “madness” of which he spoke had anything to do with mental illness. Rather, it is the spark of impulse, insight, enthusiasm and inspiration that is essential to creativity.”

Don’t lose that spark.

Caitlin xx

BIO:
Caitlin Moore is a wife and a stay at home mother to three boys. She’s a Virginia native living in Alabama. She also has two cats, Wendy and Tiger Lily. She spends her days cooking,cleaning and care taking, but she always fits in time for herself. (This is easier now that all three boys are in school).
Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/DixiePixieShop
Tzargazing blog https://tzargazing.wordpress.com/
15 moments blog https://15moments.home.blog/

***All of the beautiful photos in this post are compliments of  Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “Art and Mental Health”

  1. Oh my gosh this is wonderful! I’m so happy I have so many of your creations in every room in my home, where I can “rest my eyes upon them” and feel a surge of joy. They make me happy! YOU are one of the reasons my own clinical depression is manageable, and I have a joyful life! Better yet is when we are in each other’s company and your wit has me laughing till my sides hurt, or during non comedic discussions I learn something new every time I see you. Thank you for being unique you!

    Like

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