The Battle Of The Blues
Good day, everyone.
Though I have had this image here on my website in the Limited Editions collection for some time now, I always meant to write an accompanying blog post to explain its significance. The trouble is, I could never find the words, or perhaps the bravery, to convey what I meant to say. After recently posting on my Facebook page that I would be taking a break to look after my mental health due to struggles with depression, I was surprised at the response and comments on my post. All of them, and there were many, were supportive and understanding, and many people came forward to say that they have been, or currently are, struggling with depression as well. I am beginning to feel more comfortable sharing that darker side of my life, especially seeing that it may help others to know that they are not alone, even if we do not literally know each other.
This is a fantasy painting, or maybe a self-portrait, that I created using digital tools. I started with "white canvas" with this one; no photography, just my mind. It represents how I perceive the battle with depression, and how it feels to struggle against it. To me, it's much like trying to walk under deep, dark waters, surrounded by monsters and demons both real and imagined. There is a sense of an impending, overwhelming doom looming over you, and so many tiny barbs and haunting images no matter where you turn. And so, I spent hours on this piece creating minute detail in every inch - faces, creatures, sea monsters - so I do hope you can look at it on a big screen, as there is so much hidden throughout the painting.
Overcome, a digital painting by Sarah Chisholm
I am not posting this now with the intention of bringing sadness or sympathy. I simply wanted to share with you something more personal than I am used to sharing, because so many of you reached out to me to share your own stories and struggles and hopes and successes. I look around at many of the people I have come to know online and I see that it is a time of sadness for many folks, especially those with mental illnesses. I think the death of Robin Williams has been hard on our "community", but even before that tragedy, I sensed that there have been struggles for many for some time. One of my favourite sayings is, "This, too, shall pass". And it will. This melancholy time in our corner of the universe will pass, and we will come out the other side stronger. Grow stronger. You are not alone. You can swim this ocean, and you will overcome.
What a beautiful painting. Looking at it resonated with my soul....that faceless depth of darkness, that can draw you in so you wonder if it will ever let you go. You are so strong Sarah, have come through so much more than many folk see in a lifetime, and have accomplished much already in your life.
I have been reading a fair bit of French history this winter, both historical fiction and biographies and have determined that many of the French masters of literature, and art, were afflicted with depression. They say that those intelligent souls often see more than the average and as a result suffer more. I thought about that when looking at this painting. Just always remember that you are much loved by so very many people.
It takes a lot of courage to create out of that place of darkness and feeling smothered by life. And courage to share it here with us. The most diabolical thing about depression is the way it convinces us we are totally, completely, and even deservedly alone. We are not. You are not. May comfort and light find you during those times. Know that the beauty you create and share, so much, blesses and heals.
Powerful work, as usual. Thankfully, I do not suffer from depression, but I have very good friends who do, and one who did, until she recently died. Thank you for illuminating what depression looks like from the inside...and for having the,strength and bravery to share your story. I hope it helps others.
Sarah, such beautiful words of empathy and understanding. I know many who will not or cannot reveal much of themselves online and I also know that your caring and love can reach them. We all need to know that we are not alone and that all we need to do is reach out to find those like-minded folks who can help carry us through. I love this original that you have done, relying only on your inner understanding and your talent. Even without words, it conveys much of love and caring. I'm so glad that I have been privileged to be your online friend and to be able to see your illuminating works of art. Thank you and please know how much your talent is appreciated.
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