Doodles Vs. Depression

Composed by Guest Artist: Jen Henderson


My mental health story is probably very familiar to a lot of readers.

I really struggled with my mental health as a teenager/young adult. But then, I got a lucky break in that I got a reprieve from depression for a few years in my early to mid- twenties. 

Unfortunately, when I was 26, it came back with a vengeance. After a lot of nastiness, I lost my job. I tried a whole host of medications, but I seem to be very sensitive to side effects, so many just didn't 'fit'. And things just got worse. I was increasingly suicidal, and ended up being taken into hospital a few times to keep me safe.

Now, I've been out of hospital for three months. After four years, we've found some medication that at least doesn't give me horrible side effects, and I see a psychologist and a psychiatric nurse alternate weeks. But I still struggle every day.

I started drawing a couple of years ago, as a way of expressing my feelings, and sometimes frustration, about all things 'mental health’. Since then, I have drawn quite a few doodles which people seem to find resonate with them.

The first picture I drew was this one:

This was drawn after a particularly bad day. I felt as if an elephant was standing on my chest, preventing me from moving, so I drew it.

After the first one, the rest just seemed to come.

Sometimes I draw about anxiety:

Sometimes I draw about depression:

And sometimes I draw about mental illness in general:

My doodles have been shared on Twitter a couple of hundred times. I love the ‘me too’ reaction I get from so many people, from varied backgrounds. I can definitely recommend drawing as a way of expressing your feelings, and of connecting with people.