To my fellow Artists …

GravatarLately I have been feeling the weight of not contributing to Canvas as much as I had originally planned. Even on my own blog I have barely had the time or energy to sketch, post and read updates from others. But not posting on my own blog burdens me less for some reason.

I keep quiet mostly about my illness, a stupid male pride thing. But on Canvas I found a means to express and share – partly to help myself process some thoughts and feelings and also in the hope I may be able to help others in some small way by sharing.

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” ~Aristotle

Recently something happened to me that lifted that burden almost immediately.Something happened which made me realize posts on Canvas and other mental health blogs are like pieces of art, hung in the “Cyber Gallery of Mental Health” for all with interest to see.

Not all pieces of art displayed in the gallery of Mental Health are pleasing to the eye. Some just seem like incomprehensible scratchings, others are works of beauty, some cry out in pain, other express strength or victory, many offer guidance and encouragement if we look closely enough.

“Art is the triumph over chaos.” ~John Cheever

Canvas is such a good term to use for the platform provided here for so many Authors Artists. It is also a good term to use for anyone posting about mental health on their blogs. You all begin with a blank post and then cover it with honest and deliberate splashes and strokes of you.

Okay … getting to my point!

My point is this: It doesn’t matter whether we post once, twice, or 1000 times about Mental Health. What matters is that we DID post … we DID share … we DID reach out … and we DID give a face and voice to mental health issues.

Like paintings and works of art, as long as these posts remain hung on the wall of the Internet, others will see them. Whether we paint once, regularly or frequently … our words exist and remain there to be seen and shared.

A week ago I received an email out of the blue. The person who emailed me began with these words (I hope they don’t mind me sharing):

“I wanted to tell you that I stumbled across some of your blogs in “A Canvas of the Minds”. How did I do this? You wouldn’t believe it, (or maybe you would).  In my absolute desperation to find someone else in this world who feels the same way I do about health anxieties, and how they are coping with it, I was googling various phrases and words related to this….and in the list of google results, up came a blog entry that you had written:  Dead Man Walking – Health Anxiety Strikes Again!”

We talked more and over a few days exchanged emails and information about our health related anxieties, fears and strategies. Ironically, by the end I believe they may have helped me more than I helped them.

I share this not to boast, but to encourage those of you who do blog more than me about Mental Health, either here or on your own space. To encourage those of you who feel some guilt or pressure when you have periods with nothing to say or post. To encourage those of you who may have only ever written and shared once.

Your words remain. Spoken every day to anyone who cares (or needs) to Google.

“An artist never really finishes his work; he merely abandons it.”  ~Paul Valér

———–

Okay. One more story!

Whilst catching up on my Reader, one particular post really caught my eye. See the link here:

The Face of Mental Illness (The Bipolar Place)

Graham is one of the few brave men I have found who share so openly on their blogs. In this particular post he includes a very brief video of himself.

You will notice in the comments that a few people refer affectionately to the way he lifts his eyebrow towards the end.

Graham would have no way of knowing this … but half of my face is paralyzed by an illness that struck me over 10 years ago. It was also the starting point for my journey and battle with mental health. So whilst I have one eyebrow that behaves quite normally when I laugh, smile, talk or make any kind of facial expression – the other one stays still, making the normal one seem a little out of control.

Our struggles are different. He has a courage greater than me when speaking out about his mental illness. But in that post I saw a guy (like me), with mental illness (like me), and even a wayward eyebrow (like me). A simple post, that connected with me in more ways than I am sure he intended, but it made me feel not so alone.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~Mother Teresa

© Lunch Sketch and A Canvas Of The Minds 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lunch Sketch and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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30 thoughts on “To my fellow Artists …

  1. Lovely reflections – I’m in a similar boat with respect to posting for Canvas (and my own blog) and though I have a piece in the works, it takes time and energy, and both seem to be in short supply at the moment.

    It’s important to try – that alone is worth keeping in mind.

  2. Beautiful post! BTW Graham’s video is the very first, the bellwether shall we say, of a project that he.
    and I and Mrs. Bipolarity are working on called Faces of Mental Illness. It is in reaction to stupid statements by TV “personalities” about the mentally ill. We will be soliciting all of you to make a short video of yourselves for a montage we are doing on YouTube, FB, Twitter, and everywhere else we can think of. If you don’t want to use your own face, you can use a drawing or picture or whatever, but say the words, This is the face of mental illness. Then send us the vid and we’ll put it up on our video channel and whoever wants to can share, share, share. More on this later.

      • Fantastic! I’m hoping this will be the start of a grass roots movement to raise consciousness that we are people like any other people ( except that we’re more creative, intelligent, interesting, etc etc LOL) like anyone else. Like others who suffer from chronic illness, some of us function better than others, and we all have ups and downs.

  3. One of the main benefits of blogging to all of us is that we don’t feel alone…….great post(s)…….you’ve certainly done your part in letting others know they are not alone.

  4. Thanks for the kind words. It was really nice knowing I’d reached out to someone in a special way. And like you say, in a way I didn’t realise I had 🙂

    Take care

    • No problem mate. You’re awesome.
      I will get a video together this weekend and email it through to yourself and Laura.

      All the best with the project!

  5. When I started my blog it was to connect with the mental health blogging community. In the end, though, I found I was having more of an impact on family members with a loved one with bipolar. I found that the most satisfying. Hopefully I’ll get my “this is the face…” done and can then send it off.

    • Cheers Bradley 🙂
      What a small world we live in today. Our voices can be just as easily heard on the other side of the world by strangers as they can by our families and loved ones. And it can sure surprise us where they are heard the loudest.
      Let’s get those videos sent. I plan on doing mine this weekend.

  6. What an amazing post. It brought tears to my eyes.

    You are a wonderful person, Jared. And while it is never the same as the people in your real world, you know that you have quite a few friends always rooting for you here in the virtual one. Big hug to you!

  7. Jared, what a beautiful post. I wonder, do you feel any different now that you have gifted the world with your wonderful video? (I apologize for not including the link here. I’m on my mobile. But maybe you could put the link here?). I think it was a tremendously courageous thing to do, because I know how self-conscious you are, and yet you overcame that in order to come out and help us fight stigma! Love and peace to you, Jared!

  8. At risk of sounding like I’m guilting you into writing more, I’ll just say how much I appreciate your posts when I do see them. I learn something every time – perhaps about you and your story, or about coping with mental health issues in general. Good to know the blog world brought inspiration to you. I’ve found inspiration here on a fairly life-changing scale, and I know what it can mean.

    Keep writing! When you have the time/inspiration, of course. 🙂

  9. Mr. Sketch I haven’t written another post since my first one! I FELT the SAME way, emphasis on felt. I don’t even remember when that post was written, but it was so long ago that I don’t remember lol. You got the idea.

    What I’m trying to say is, don’t worry, you’re still part of team canvas. You still contribute even when you don’t write, when you hide out for a while, when your posts become next to none. It’s cool, you’ll come back into writing 😉

    Miss ya though. (and psst, check out my other art blog… shameless self-promotion here heheh. I’ll send you the link personally, not here)

    • Hey! I was stalking your blog recently to see what you have been up to. So nice to hear from you.
      Definitely do let me know about your new blog and count me in as a future Follower 🙂

        • No way! WordPress is enough for me and I can’t even keep up with that. I don’t even do Facebook or Twitter. A cyber hermit.
          It’s not just a time thing … I know I would also get addicted if I got too many social feeds! 🙂

  10. It must be something going around – I’m barely getting to my blog either and hardly getting the chance to read the posts of others. However, I go on this one and I’m glad I did. Good to hear from you again – I also learned more about you too, which is always good!

    • Thank you Ken. I often learn more about me as I write too 😉
      … which is why I am glad Ruby has leased me some space here.

      Take Care!

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