Creativity and Mental Health - A Story of Hope and Healing
Have you wondered about the connection there sometimes seems to exist between creativity and mental health? While far from all artists are depressed, there’s something almost magical about the way art can help heal an anxious mind. We talked to our artist friend Anna Sohlberg, aka @alukewarmmess, about her experiences fighting depression, and finding peace through art and creativity. As many of us are stuck inside, self-isolating, remember to take care of your mental health as well as your body!
If weve been friends for a while, youve probably seen these gorgeous day journals in our feed from time to time. Not surprising, these pictures always spark a ton of engagement from our followers. With brutal honesty and large doses of humour, Anna Sohlbergs pics and texts seem to strike a chord with most people.
- I started posting my dailies, as I call them, 4 years ago and things just exploded. People left comments saying that theyd started following me because of my pictures, but once they read my captions they felt compelled to stay. They realised I was touching on an important subject, I guess.
At that time, Anna had just lost her dad to cancer, was going through a depression and found herself at rock bottom. But during this dark time she started to draw and doodle. She found that filling a page with doodles, without any pressure, quieted her thoughts.
- My instagram became a diary of sorts, recalls Anna, aka @alukewarmmess. By now I was doing a little better and was able to start putting my feelings into words - and pictures. I remember describing myself as a pressure cooker, and that my account became my vent. I drew and I wrote. That worked well for me, she says.
Anna emphasises that making art might not be enough to get someone out of a depression, but it can be hugely helpful.
- I know you cant really doodle yourself out of a depression but I knew that once I started drawing, all the dark thoughts went quiet.
When Anna started writing about her anxiety, openly and honestly, she immediately noticed how strongly it resonated with people.
- Someone could say to me: This is exactly how I feel. I have to show this to my partner right now! Or: Finally, I understand my partner and that you cant just say cheer up to someone whos going through a depression.
- Its wonderful, but also quite sad really, that this resonates with so many, says Anna.
In Annas experience, talking about mental health issues is becoming easier, but can still be a tough thing to bring up in the workplace or in school.
- I just want to show people that its ok to talk about this stuff, Anna explains. It would be so helpful if we could remove the stigma around mental health. I mean, we dont need to normalise it or trivialise it - just be willing to have an honest conversation about it.
Despite how widely anxiety and depression affect people in general, its easy to feel lonely when youre going through a dark time. But communities like Annas, where her followers support one another just by knowing that they arent alone, can be really empowering.
Today, Anna is in a much better place. She knows herself better, knows her triggers and knows how to handle them.
- Ive been well for a while now, but that isnt great for creativity, Anna laughs. I try to do something creative every day, because I know that makes me feel good. My IG followers drop when I no longer dish up angst-filled dailies all the time, but hey - whats important is that Im well now.
If youre a fan of Annas dailies, dont despair. She still makes the occasional one, for herself and for her followers.
- Writing things down, both the good, the bad and the ugly, helps me get an overview of the day. And thats regardless of how I feel, Anna explains. It helps me sort my feelings, see what I feel happy about and not so happy about. But it also helps me look at my day and myself more matter-of-factly, and try not to judge everything, all the time.
And that, we think, sounds like a wonderfully mindful way of recording ones days.
Drooling over Annas doodles? Try making a daily yourself - its a fun way of journaling, and super easy with Annas Day Journal templates. Click below to get your paws of yours!
Templates without text
Templates with text
Anna uses a customised notebook with a dot grid inlay, which is perfect for doodling and bullet journaling. You'll find the notebook here.
Connect with Anna and her wonderful community on Instagram through her account @alukewarmmess.
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With one in every four adults affected by some kind of mental health condition today, it's about time we dropped the stigma and started talking about it instead! We’ve put together all our available resources into one big article so you can find them easily. Here, you’ll learn how you can boost your wellbeing through simple practices like journaling, mindfulness, gratitude, coloring and more. Read on to get inspired, and make sure you download our fun freebies and practical printables, too!
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