This painting is titled “Take Away My Pain”. I had no idea nor any intent when I started painting it that I was going to see it grow into something that made me think of depression. It was supposed to be of a beautiful woman juxtaposed against a beat down, dirty room but the more I painted and spent time with it the more I started to wonder whether this pose was really supposed to resonate beauty against ugly or maybe it was more beauty against despair or even beauty with despair.
Depression is the most common mental illness in the world and yet nobody can really describe it. I know what it does, I’ve had friends and even a girlfriend experience it to the point of deciding against suffering any longer. At times I am very sure that I have experienced some of the various symptoms of depression. Not the heavy, overwhelming feeling of despair and debilitating gloom but this feeling of constant negativity and a greyness that touches everything. I don’t know why but I imagine the heightened stress and anxiety we feel in our day to day life has much to do with it. The hardest part about dealing with it was that nobody seems to notice, not even the people that know you the best.
What do you do if you feel a friend or loved one might be struggling with depression? The best thing you can do is reach out. One of the first lies our brains tell us is that nobody, absolutely no one, cares about us, that we don’t matter. By reaching out and expressing concern you prove to the depressed brain that it is wrong. Once you’ve expressed your concern, don’t offer them simple platitudes – “the sun will come out tomorrow”, don’t try to minimize what they’re going through – “some people have it way worse than you”, just listen! If they express negative self-talk to you – “I’m worthless and no one cares about me” etc., validate that what they are experiencing is real but what they’re telling themselves is not true -“If you were worthless and no one loves you, why would I be here reaching out and worried about you?”. Help them get help from a trained professional. Help them Take Their Pain Away.
I have created a video of my painting this piece. I started by drawing the chair and girl on the canvas and the video picks up from when I start painting.