Depression is the opposite of expression.
I heard this concept a few years ago and it was a HUGE light bulb moment for me.
In 2012 whilst studying Law I experienced the onset of depression very quickly. I had no idea what was going on. I couldn't pin point why I was so extremely sad and numb but it happened. My parents booked an appointment with the head of the Psychology Dept at my University.
His treatment plan was simple and brilliant. We chatted about things I enjoyed as a child but had stopped doing. Essentially, we created a list of ways to express. This list included art. Something I had avoided since school because I thought 'if I can't create something completely original, it's not worth it'. He told me to remove the judgement and enjoy the therapeutic process of simply using my hands to create. Even if that meant tracing or copying.
The following photos show some of the art I created in 2012. Funnily enough, I haven't done any paintings since. I guess I express myself in different ways now.
I spent hours tracing and delicately painting world maps in great detail using an old school projector and canvas. Each map would usually take about 8hrs in total. I found maps extremely calming as I didn't have to think of something to paint. That side of things was taken care of which created lots of space in my mind.
A lot of the art I have created can be found in my parent's house. This is my favourite.
Nelson Mandela. A meaningful Mother's Day gift.
And some continuous line drawings...
We are all creative. But we're also very hard on ourselves. Act like a child and lose the judgement. Express yourself daily.
Paint without thinking, sing songs that lift your mood, cook a healthy meal and spend time on the presentation, plant a tree and get your hands dirty, move your body in a way that doesn't necessarily feel like exercise, write down how you feel.
Don't restrict yourself to activities you feel competent with. Mix it up and love the process. If you are frustrated that you don't know how to do it, LEARN. Enjoy exploring the unknown, let loose and laugh at yourself.
Always be a beginner at something. Feel the fear and do it anyway (PS. Great book).
Children are happy because they express their energy rather than depressing it.
So, if you are struggling to express, perhaps the following question may help...
'What would mini me do?'
The child you once were is a part of you. Regain access to that mind and mentality.
Have a squiz at this article too - it's probably my favourite one that explains how depression is the opposite of expression.
- 3 Keys to Holistic Healing from Depression -
Begin noticing ways in which you can express. Notice it for friends and family too.
And remember, with any emotion:
LET IT FLOW, LET IT GO!