Charlotte Reed: ‘How I drew my way out of depression’
-Aug 17, Charlotte Reed, Mind -
I thought it’d be nice to talk about some of my drawings that helped me cope when I was going through my depression (see three of them below).
The statistics are that one in four people will experience a mental illness at some stage in their life – that’s a lot of people when you think about it! Mental illness does have a stigma attached to it and I’m hoping that the more people talk about it the more likely we are to banish that stigma.
When I got depressed I chose not to take medication. I’ve nothing against anti-depressants, and they can be life-saving in many cases, I just didn’t feel it was the right route for me, personally, to go down. Instead I opted to see a nutritional therapist who ran tests for all the vitamins and minerals I might be lacking that can lead to depression.
She also helped me radically change my diet from sandwiches and microwave meals to nutritious and wholesome home cooking. I also started power walking for 1.5 hours every day and had a weekly acupuncture session.
The healing path I chose was a long one but I did eventually get better and now I feel much healthier than I did before the depression. What also helped me considerably was to take up a creative pursuit.
This gave my life meaning and focus. I decided to think up a daily positive thought and illustrate it with a little cartoon drawing. When you have depression thinking of anything positive each day is very hard but gradually my brain started to believe what I was writing.
The three drawings I’ve chosen below basically sum up what the depression taught me and what I’ve now adopted as my approach to life (click through the sideshow below to see each drawing full-sized):
The Angel is saying that whatever you’re going through trust it’s all meant to be. When things fall apart it’s just your soul’s way of rebuilding you from a more authentic place so you can grow into the person you’re capable of becoming.
The snail is illustrating that going at a slower pace will actually make up feel happier. When I was depressed I started to notice that the small things in life can actually make you feel a lot better; the smell of flowers, a long hot soak in the bath, a cup of tea, watching a tree blowing gently in the wind, seeing a Robin hop about on your garden. These small things hold the most beauty in life.
The drawing of woman on the couch is actually the old me! I used to be such a panic pants but the depression taught me to live in the moment. When we worry our minds are either in the past or the future, but when we are in the moment we are just fine (unless in grave danger like being chased by a lion which is pretty unlikely in everyday life!).
Anyway I hope my drawings have helped you in some way and if you’re ever passing Portobello market in London be sure to pop by my stall to say hi!
Charlotte Reed’s fantastic book May the Thoughts be with You is available to buy on Amazon here and you can also buy her book, as well as prints and original artwork in her online shop here. If you decide to buy a book you can choose to have it unsigned, signed or even signed to a specific person to make it more special. Also, you can follow her on Instagram here.