In the Ocean

I drew this picture in mid June. 
I drew it, because at the time I wasn’t feeling great. I’ve had anxiety for a really long time, to the point now where I don’t really remember what it’s like to not feel it at all. It comes in waves, of feeling better or worse. The last time I’d felt it badly was during my mid twenties. This particular period had been building since November, and was mostly centred around my insecurities about my art and career. 
I drew this picture because I wanted to express how I was feeling. When I’m very anxious, it feels like a crushing weight. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep ocean, isolated in darkness. The water is crushing me, and I can’t move or breathe. I feel paralysed by my own thoughts. During these times I feel so afraid of doing the wrong thing, or messing up, that I find it hard to make decisions. I find it hard to stay motivated to try. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep ocean, and I’m all alone.

I drew this picture at the end of October. 
Melbourne’s second lockdown has eased, and the weather’s been getting warmer. I’m feeling a bit better. Still anxious, but it’s less overwhelming. During lockdown I’ve been working more on developing my art style. I’ve spent more time figuring out what things inspire me, and improving my technical skills. I’ve also made more of a conscious effort to improve my exercise, diet and self-care routines. 
I’ve been feeling a bit better, and I wanted to draw the picture again, and reframe those feelings of isolation and weight pressing on me. I wanted to show that sometimes it feels more like I’m being held in it. That I can exist in those hard feelings, while holding on to the knowledge and hope that things will improve.

Hope you’re all doing ok in your own battles. We’re all in it together, even in the times we feel alone. If you’re struggling, please reach out for support. Here are a couple of helplines, and you can also get in touch with your local GP to get a referral to mental health services.

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