How my art helped me to get out of depression

From the time I was a little girl I always had affection for art. When for most of the little girls of my age, dolls were the favorite presents, for me were sketch blocks and colors. Therefore I decided to study at the art school.

I had a dream back then to become a great and famous artist one day. I even did my practice work at the youth theater as a costume designer assistant after my graduation and it was a really lovely experience. All my professors and mentors were saying that I was a promising talent. I was also hopping that one day I will be able to live from my art and my creative skills. But this dream never came to fruition, mostly because soon after my graduation a civil war started in my country. All my dreams for my bright and artistic future felt down and burned into the ashes of war. The truth is that my love for art and my desire to create art and crafts did save my life somehow after many years. Here in this blog post I will try to explain you how I became suicidal, and how my art helped me to overcome all my negative emotions at those difficult times of my life.

I married a man that I fell in love with at a very young age. But he was not very happy regarding my art affection. He kept saying that I am making a mess in the house, that my colors smells and give him a headache, that making art is just loosing of time, etc. I loved that guy very much at the time and I just wanted to make him happy, and to avoid making him angry, because he did tend to get quite angry from time to time. I believed back then that his unusual shifts in mood were result of his diabetes condition. He had these unpredictable episodes of sudden anger very often, but I loved him, I was there to support him. I was his wife, the woman of his life, I always had the understanding and I supported him regarding his illness. So this is how I stopped my involvement with art in order to make him happy once again. I did draw from time to time when he was away, but I tend to avoid making him angry as I mentioned, so I kept it as a secret.

Sometimes, we tend to hold ourselves back from the things we want to do because we’re afraid of what might happen — or rather, what might not happen. And this is how I started to believe what my ex was constantly telling me. He kept saying that making art is just a waste of time. That I will never be able to make any money of it. That nobody would ever care about my stupid art. So I gave it up. I started to believe myself that I was not good enough to succeed.

My marriage life was really miserable, as I mentioned earlier and in some of my previous blog posts The symbolism of the closed doors and Who  am I.. and How I lost my son. My husband and me were splitting and getting back very often during the last few years of our marriage. I was totally depended on him and under his control, emotionally, psychically, physically, financially and so on. I felt totally trapped.

At the time when we were almost about to finally split, after 18 years in marriage, I decided to discover my old passion for painting again in order to find my old self. It all started when I run onto my best fried from the university in the school yard since I was waiting with my husband for our son to pick him up. He was waiting for his daughter together with his wife. We found out that our kids are very good friends at school, as we were back then when we were students. So we started to socialize with this couple from time to time, since our kids also liked to spend the time together. In general we had a lot in common. My husband liked them, probably because they were famous, my friend was a town library director, he was also the most loved football games radio commentator. His wife was a news reporter at the biggest TV channel in the area. When they visited us for the first time my friend asked me if I am still involved with my art. I showed him some of my ready paintings and some that were in progres. He liked them very much and he proposed me to make an exhibition in the library gallery where he was director. He said these beautiful paintings should be exposed to the public eyes, and it is pity to keep them hidden. He even made a free advertisement for my exhibition. His goal was except to promote my art and help me out, also to bring more people to the library so it was a win-win situation for both of us. This is how I got involved in preparing my first exhibition in my hometown with a lot of passion and love regardless my husband’s and my son’s negativity. My art was somehow the only way to express myself and my emotions at the time, since he managed to isolate me from the community and my family as well all these years. And believe me there were a lot of compressed and hidden emotions ready to be expressed inside of me.

Even though we were still together, and he was not happy at all regarding my actions and my decision, he started to play the role of my supporter and this surprised me a lot. I started to believe that he did somehow changed, that he understood me, that he did care about me after all and that everything is going to get better between us. But it was all fake, he just wanted to break me and to control me once again.

He never believed that I will have success, because he was sure that my art is just a piece of shit. And it probably was in his eyes. But I proved him wrong. My exhibition was extremely successful, thousands of people visited that library gallery where I exhibit. Most of the schools from the area were organizing excursions to visit my exhibition. My face was all over the newspapers front pages. They called me for interviews from all the TV channels in the area and further. People just loved it. It was something different from what they used to see. It was emotional, and touching. Many of the exhibition visitors identify themselves somehow with my paintings. This is when I understood that the beauty of every piece of art is actually in the eyes of the audience and that I really got a gift that should be shared.

My husband’s vicious, businessman mind advised me strongly not to put any prices under my paintings at the exhibition. He said that first goal should be to become famous, and then I would be able to sell my paintings on the price that they deserve to be sold, after so much effort and time I spent to make them. So I followed his advice as a stupid cow. After some time people got interested for certain pieces and they started to ask for the price. At that point my ex was afraid that I will start making my own money and he could not control me anymore. And this is when he had a very serious emotional talk with me accompanied with a lot of crocodile tears.

He asked me to drop all those dreams to become famous artist for the sake of a happy family. He said he doesn’t like to look his wife’s face on the pages of magazines and newspapers. He said that if he ever wanted a famous wife, he would married one. He said something like how much he was missing the old me. He said he does not recognize me anymore. He said that I became someone else. But he knew very well that this person he was talking about was the real me, and that I was slipping out from his desired icon of me, the one he shaped the way he wanted trough all this years, the fake one. He asked me then what is more important to me, my son having a chance to grow up in a happy family or my stupid art. He reminded me of my childhood and how hard was for me to grow up without the presence of my father. So I gave up. I couldn’t imagine back then that my son will grow up without his mom at the end of the story.

As a victim of domestic violence and psychological manipulation for so many years, I decided to drop everything, for the sake of my son’s happiness, after that sincere request not only from my ex but from my son as well. I did my best to save my marriage. I gave up a lot. My dignity, my dreams, my soul and health, but it just couldn’t work.

How could we have a happy family when I constantly felt empty and useless inside. And there he was to remind me how useless I am, almost every day, by telling me that I am nothing without him, that he made me what I am. He was telling me that if he ever left me, the only thing I was able to do is to suck dicks for a box of cigarettes. When someone is brainwashing you like this every day, it is easy to start to believe that this is the fact and your reality.

I actually really believed that I am useless. Sometimes even today when I am disappointed with myself and the difficulties in my everyday life and career, I can still hear somewhere in the back of my head those mean words that he was repeating to me daily. You are nothing! You are useless piece of shit! Ungrateful fat cow! I made a lady of you! Without me you are zero! Nobody will turn to look at you if you wasn’t my wife! You are not a woman I fell in love with and married anymore! You are ugly and fat cow!

He was constantly raping my body and my soul from day to day, until I just lost the will to live. Once I confronted him and I told him that of course I am not young and pretty as I was 18 years ago, but neither are you. His answer was that he maybe not young and pretty, but at least he has a lot of money in his pocket and thanks to his money he is able to have any young and pretty girl he wanted.

I won’t continue this story in this article, because it already started to bother me emotionally and my eyes are full of tears, while I am writing this. So, I think I better stop right here. I might continue in some other blog post in the future and I will try to explain how I got out of all of this.

The point is that I somehow managed to go out of this miserable marriage and to overcome all my fears thanks to my strong will, my art and writing passion.

There are still so many things I am planing to do, because on some level, I’m still fighting the fear that nobody will care about me and my art in the end, and it won’t make any difference.

I know that this is something that most of the artists struggle with. But please believe me, as long it’s matter to you, and as log as creating art or writing makes you happy, you have to continue with it. As long it’s able to brings you joy and challenges you to grow and evolve, you have to continue.

Making art or writing is able to connect you more deeply to who you really are. The most important is to continue, and never break the chain that connects you with the desire to express yourself in any way.

If your story is somehow similar to my please learn from my mistakes. Don’t hope that one day things will get better. By staying in a relationship with this kind of manipulating and violent person things can never get better, it can only get worse, with terrible consequences. You have to stay strong and truthful to who you are and be able to turn the page.

The emotional abuse gradually always became more intense with the time, and then the physical abuse set in most of the times. One of the things abusers tend to do is to isolate us from the community as well, as my ex did it, and I am going to describe it in some of my next posts how he did it. When you are isolated it’s harder for you to seek for help in many ways and over time, you will start to believe in the abuser’s manipulative lies. And it could bring you to your end.

Life can be beautiful for all of us. We just have to believe in ourselves, and never give up. I managed, by starting my life from scratch, with no job, no savings, and no support from anyone but myself.

All the photos in this blog post are photos of my paintings and my exhibitions. Most of them were made during my time of suffering. Even though I did sell some of my paintings I never sold any piece from that first collection yet. Those paintings are still in the attic of the house I live and they are just collecting the dust. Maybe I will get rid of them one day. This part of my life is over anyway. Thank God I managed to move on, but even now while editing those photos and uploading them in this blog post it was kind of hard for me to look at them. They were just bringing the old painful memories back to me. What’s back is back though, let’s look forward…

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