“I’m Melissa, 28 and living in Lincolnshire in the UK. I have been through depression, with a side order of crippling anxiety and dermatillomania (skin picking disorder triggered by anxiety). At my lowest point, I had to leave my job and was barely able to function. I had always been a confident person, but I became frightened to leave the house and each day was like attempting to climb a huge mountain. For a long time, I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. I was frightened, felt hopeless and in a lot of internal pain (which often manifested physically too).
At some point over the last few months, the fog has finally lifted. It feels like a miracle to be able to say that most of the time I am happy now and able to enjoy life. Although it feels miraculous, I know there are a few things that have helped immensely. The first is therapy. Seeing a counsellor changed my life. For years I wasn’t able to access one, but now that I am able to, I feel incredibly lucky. Having the support of a professional has taught me so much. I really, really hope that one day therapists are accessible for everyone – it would change our societies and our lives for the better.
In the early days, medication helped and although I have lowered my dose, I still take anti-depressants. I really don’t think there should be any shame around this. You would not question taking medication for any other illness! Consciously practising self kindness, as well as learning about reparenting and inner child work has also had such a positive impact on my life.
Creating illustrations around mental health has also been a huge turning point for me. For me, it symbolises the point in my life where I started following what I wanted to do and say rather than what I felt I “should” be doing. It’s also been so heartwarming to be able to write about feelings and experiences that so many people can connect with. The less we feel alone in our experiences, the better. It’s also so freeing to talk about mental health openly. It takes the power away from the shame that still exists with mental health and replaces it with connection instead.”
We are so excited for our segment called Meet the Mental Health Artist where we will share a story from a Mental Health Artist, where you’ll hear about their journey, how they got to where they are now and how creating (whether through music, graphic design, writing, painting etc) has helped/helps them through different mental health issues.
As well as this, we will have IG Stories Takeover in the week of when their story goes up with each artist, where you will be able to see more of what they get up to/behind the scenes, ASK any questions you may have about their creative media/work/inspirations/healing etc & get answers from them and generally, find out more about them, what they do and tips they have for maintaining their mental health.
Melissa will be doing an Instagram Story Takeover on the 20th of November on our Instagram account, so make sure to tune into our stories that day – and if you miss it, you will be able to catch up with it in our Highlights on Instagram.