Art To Spread Light
Artwork and Blog Post By: Sow
Hi, I’m Sow, a creator addicted to music and visual artwork. I work as a freelance graphic designer, play drums with my friends in my free time, and draw a lot on the internet. I’m writing this at 4 am, during my usual nighttime insomnia.
I'm living with social and generalized anxiety disorder and depression. I've been told that I have anxiety for years, but I only discovered in 2016 what anxiety is. I learned that the weird awful physical symptoms I sometimes felt were panic attacks, among other things.
I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. I'm still learning more and more every day about my condition. Maybe the way I talk about my anxiety will totally change in a month after I’ve learned more about it.
I live in the beautiful center of France. It feels like mental illness is still a huge taboo. According to some friends, this is common in Europe and many other parts of the world. That's why I love seeing organizations and people who want to fight against stigma, and who share their stories in order to do this. I met Hope For The Day at the Never Say Die Tour a year ago, and that helped me a lot. I learned that it was okay to talk about what is going on in my head.
Then, I discovered that the Internet was an amazing support system by connecting people globally. So I'm also taking a part in this support by sharing my drawings and comics. I also plan to make exhibitions featuring my artwork. I'll start at home, in my city. Then wherever my artwork takes me.
It took me years to dare talking about my mental health to a doctor, and took even more courage to dare talking about it to my friends. After my closest friends knew about my mental health, I felt more comfortable with my comics about mental health on the internet. I think my friends knew something was wrong before I told them. I often canceled meetings and always felt tired. I never knew if it would be harder to hang out with my friends feeling like a “zombie” from being tired and drained, or if it would be harder to cancel our plans in the first place. It became really hard to hide it.
I started these drawings because I'm really bad at explaining what's inside my head, and explaining by drawing has always been a lot easier for me. I can hide myself behind my characters. When I had to take a sick leave, I had a bit more time for drawing.
I remember a sketch I made about a panic attack. I could never explain the feeling with words, so I was so glad to find a way to represent it visually. Even if it is just a quick sketch.
Thanks to my artwork, I have met people who could relate to my creations and who have thanked me for helping them to feel less alone. I have found a new creative purpose. By letting me know that they can relate to my creations, the people also make my day and make me feel less alone.
Woah, I said it all! It’s not easy to write about it. It’s so scary to imagine my family or coworkers reading this...
Anyway, thank you for giving me a little space on the DA blog. I hope my artworks will help some people in this wonderful community.