…how paint repeatedly saves me

As you know, I struggle with depression and anxiety and like the ocean some days it has a calm cadence and other days it roars with powerful waves. I have learned different techniques to deal with what comes up. Writing. Close friends. Cats. Kids. (sometimes in that order) Books. Nature. Tea. Paint.


I love paint. I love the quiet. I love the change that happens right before my eyes. I love the brown just disappearing under a cool sheen of color. It is magical.


Feeling depressed or stuck yourself? My answer to this: do something with your hands. It could be painting. It could be cooking. It could be gardening. It could be writing. But, doing something with your hands when in this state can be transformative. You are taking negative energy and applying it to something product. You may not understand consciously what you are doing, but before you mind catching up, your hands have already produced something beautiful. Something whole. It takes you from the place you were to a place of newness and hope just through the process. You can look at the result and say, “Wow. I just did that. Doesn’t it look beautiful?”


When in an anxious state we are hyjacked mentally. Our brains are on fire automatically and in order to break free you need to try to get yourself out of that trance. Does that make sense? If you have these moments it should. Working with your hands will help you move from an over-active lymbic brain moment into a calmer state. You will then be able to think a little more clearly and know that it is going to be okay.

It is definitely a practice and one that I have been praciting since I was too little to understand what I was doing. When I felt anxious as a little girl I would sit down to the piano and just play and play. It took me away from letting the feelings take over. This works for me. If I am in a place where I feel disappointed by a friend or overwelmed, I go out into the cool belly of my garage, dip a brush into a pool of paint and keep my hands moving. By the time I come back into my warm kitchen I have settled down.


Can you relate?

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