Andie, 23, Toronto, Canada

andie-lollo-headshot.jpg“I was diagnosed with depression when I was 17 and stayed in a youth psychiatric facility for two weeks. I had stopped going to school and my parents feared I wouldn’t graduate.

I’m a very sensitive person but was riddled so much teen angst that the only emotion I could express was anger, and so it took me hitting rock bottom to let my sadness show and seek help. After 6 years, I’m still struggling with the illness.

On top of that, I’ve developed social anxiety and have had Eating Disorder for as long as I can remember. Recently, I started therapy again (online) and it has made a world of difference. Medication may not be for me, I’ve discovered, but counselling is.

Cartoons and animation, in general, have been a big help in dealing with my depression. Even when they bring up serious topics or negative feelings, everything takes place within a colourful and usually fictional world.

I run a blog about animation and often use it to inspire my own and others mental health.Recently I started a series called Spongebob & Happiness. I watch an episode of Spongebob, then dissect the lessons it provides on positivity, happiness, and any allusions to mental illness.

This has created a great cross-section between my own journey and my hobbies, as well as a community where others can study the benefits of animation on depression too. In one of the episodes, Sandy is homesick, and it reminded me a lot of the way I perceive depression. I once heard a quote by comedian Sarah Silverman about her depression and she said, “It feels like I’m desperately homesick, but I’m home.” That’s exactly how it feels to me. Oftentimes, when I’m at my worst, I’ll say aloud “I want to go home.” From my own bed. At home. That’s just how it is.

On top of therapy and my creative outlets, I go for long walks in nature. It sounds so cliche but it not only helps my social anxiety and agoraphobia (by going farther and farther from home each time) but the fresh air and exercise alleviates my frustration.

I find that all my mental health issues and their symptoms kind of tangle together throughout the day, so it’s good to try and separate them now and then by focusing on one and doing something positive to combat it.

I hope that I can help others, or at least stand by each other as a community and as friends – whether that be in our journey towards mental health or our love of colourful cartoons.”
Blog: www.andielollo.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/freeandie

 

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