This is the fourth artwork in my SHE Exhibition Series, which is based around mental health themes. As a narrative series of works, each piece tells a part of a whole story.
In the last installment of this story, we left off at the point where she decided that she wanted to be seen. It was a moment that stands out very vividly in my mind. It was the moment I realised that I needed to get some help. I didn’t know where to start or who to trust. I was so mired in the mindset that no-one was going to believe me or that medication would be the only answer that just making the appointment to see my family doctor felt like an insurmountable task.
But I managed it. I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life where I have absolute tunnel vision. I decide to do something and I simply go until I reach that goal. This moment was like that for me. She was determined to be seen and heard no matter what. I have to give kudos to my doctor for the part he has played in looking after my mental health. He listened with compassion and helped me navigate the system to find someone I could talk to. He still is, to this day, one of the few people whose advice I trust when it comes to my mental health struggle.
I was sent to see a clinical psychologist for diagnosis and treatment. I didn’t realise the impact this would have on my life. For a long time, it felt like falling. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, I was falling into the mental struggle and examining it. My psychologist and I picked the thoughts apart on my way down considering the worth and truth of each one. I delved into ideas of truth and reality and came to learn slowly that just because we think something does not make it true and just because we perceive something does not make it reality.
When you look at this artwork, consider that idea of falling down the rabbit hole. It is chaotic and hypnotic and she is reaching for a lifeline while she falls. It is a tense piece as you look down into the mass of hair that swirls and moves around her, pulling her further down to an end which we do not see. The top down perspective adds to this idea of being pulled down as she reaches helplessly up to you and the natural noise from the lino print technique combined with intentional linework adds to the movement and chaos of the piece.
It was quite a time. I wasn’t sure when it was going to end, it certainly didn’t feel like it was ever going to. All I knew at this point in time was that…
Please do know that if you need help, crisis support is available
24 hours, 7 days
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
or check out some of these links…
Beyond Blue https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Black Dog Institute https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
And this is also a really good article by Australia Counselling outlining different mental health resources in Australia and what they do https://www.australiacounselling.com.au/top-mental-health-organisations/