How Art Helps Me Overcome Anxiety & Depression.

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By: Carolina Mendieta

Many of my rough childhood events left traumas and emotional marks in my life. As a result, I relied heavily on alcohol since the age of 14 and smoked cigarettes to sooth my anxiety and to hide away from the emotions I had suppressed for years. Art was something I learned to do on my own and I started drawing and painting just so I could not think about the problems and the pain I had inside.

After graduating college I knew I had two choices: either keep drinking and eventually end up who knows where, or completely change my lifestyle and search for my truest self. Neither seemed easy. I stopped going out and drinking only sporadically, but instead I relied on food and people (relationships and stuff) to fill the void I felt beneath. For many years I tried to avoid painting or anything related to art. Somehow I didn’t want to face the real me.

My suppressed emotions had to come to the surface eventually and that was when I crashed. I had a major depression for a long time. Years earlier I had tried to seek help with a psychiatrist but the medications I was given only made me feel numb inside, and I knew that was not what I needed. Instead, I went through a whole spiritual journey and went deep inside to search for answers. To be honest, those were the loneliest, toughest 3 years of my life. I felt that my life had no purpose, that there was no point in continuing living. No one knew I felt this way. I was always hiding it and trying to seem like I was happy all the time. This is probably the first time I say this, but it has come to a moment that I have to share it with people because it is no joke. I understand what it feels like to have an emptiness inside that nothing seems to fill that void.

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Carolina and her Art

In order to change the way I felt I seeked help from spiritual teachers and started doing yoga and meditation. Art was still left as a secondary choice. I painted occasionally and when I did, I only did them fast enough so I could not lose my “talent”. The result always seemed to be as a means to an end. Only to have more mediocre paintings so I could feel “valued”, which was the bullshit story I kept telling myself. LOL

Your mind can literally be your worst enemy. I realized this when I started observing my thoughts and how those horrible ones only kept me on an endless loop. If you are going through something similar, you have to put a stop to it. There is always a choice, and I made the choice not to live that way anymore.

It was not long ago that I fell in love with this boy who brought some kind of light to my life. Thinking about him inspired me to start drawing again. As I drew, I noticed how I was actively meditating and the wonderful feeling it gave me while drawing. That relationship didn’t last long and I fell in a slight depression again, but this time it was different. I knew I couldn’t let my emotions drown me so I relied on meditation, yoga and went back to painting again.

I started painting mandalas. Mandalas can have many meanings, and it can represent how you are feeling at the moment. It represents the micro and macro cosmos. It represents unity and harmony or the seeking of the Self. Personally, mandalas symbolize the celebration of uniqueness. Not one mandala will be the same. To me it is a transmutation of energy from something painful to something beautiful. And that is what I’ve been doing for the past couple of months.

I’ve learned about myself and I know that I am highly sensitive and emotional. Being depressed is okay. We are meant to have emotions, otherwise we wouldn’t be humans. I believe being depressed is necessary sometimes because it can help evaluate your life. Ralph Smart says that being depressed is being in “deep-rest”. It is a moment to take a break and to do self-reflection. I completely agree, however, sometimes depression can last for a long time and people don’t know how to get out of that place. That’s where things may end up bad, like suicide attempts.

Our thoughts create our emotions, and our emotions create our thoughts and it goes like that all day every day. Dr. Joe Dispenza explains that we have approximately 60 thousands thoughts per day and 95% of those are the same ones as yesterday. If we are constantly thinking horrible thoughts and recreating stories in our heads, then it is most likely that we’ll end up recreating the same miserable emotions every day, therefore, prolonging our depression.

With meditation and art, we are able to canalize that negative energy and transform it into something positive. Our emotions have to be released from our body so that we can find balance and harmony in our lives. Otherwise, we’ll end up insane or with physical disease. Eckart Tolle brilliantly explains it “There is such a thing as old emotional pain living inside you. It is an accumulation of painful life experience that was not fully faced and accepted in the moment it arose. It leaves behind an energy form of emotional pain.”

My recent project communicates this message; it does not matter what you’ve gone through, there is always a way out, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. The name of my project  is Qanel, my Mayan Nahualt which means seed, life and creation representing harmony and a new beginning.  I want to share this message with people who have gone through similar situations of anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, hopelessness and depression. I am positive that through the active meditation of art (mandalas) we can be able to release those suppressed emotions and let them go once and for all.

If you are going through something similar, do not hesitate and reach for help. I’d be glad to share some positive words of encouragement.

Also, subscribe to my email list so that you can stay posted on my new project to help those with anxiety and depression.

Dear reader, thanks for inspiring me. <3

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