How I Journal Through Darkness

As someone who copes with constant anxiety and intermittant bouts of depression (both brought on by chronic physical health issues), I know it is easy to get caught up in darkness until it seems all color drains away from vision.  I combat these feelings two very different ways in my journals:

1) I use a monochromatic color scheme (red, black, white, cream, silver and/or gold) and simple techniques to get my brain moving, sifting through negative emotions until I can cast aside worries in a dance of line and paint.  I allow a lot of white space to dominate, giving me room to breathe, stretch, and regroup.

2) Alternately, I soak my world in color to act as a cheery counterbalance to internal struggles.  I use complex, layered backgrounds as a meditative process; with each layer I add to the page or canvas, I peel away a little bit of what weighs down my heart.  I use a lot of inspiring quotes and affirmational self-talk on my journal pages to help me express myself when I am at a loss for words.

Whether shrouded in black and white or drenched in color, I rarely write directly in my journals about my troubles.  (I used to many years ago but I seemed to have worked that phase out of my system.)  Currently, I either rely on the page-making process itself as a form of healing meditation or create characters that serve as stand-ins for things I am feeling and experiencing. 


Desert Mermaid said…
I also manage depression (15+ years now, since being diagnosed), and journaling has been the reverberating string! I so love seeing that you, too, use a technique I use -- the monochromatic page (with cut out text), followed by the contrasting colorful page. I do them side by side in my visual journal, OR I do the colorful spread right over the monochromatic layout. Either way, I can only say with absolutely certainty that journaling as a practice heals and nourishes through these kinds of mental/physical cycles!
Marrianna said…
I have written in journals for years and years. I have them all stacked on a shelf in my closet. I keep wanting to create a visual journal but haven't taken the time to "just do it" as the Nike commercial used to say. I enjoy all your posts and visuals, thank you so very much. I'm also a photographer and keep wanting to print some of my photos for visual journal spreads. Have I done this? Nope again. However, this is a quiet Friday afternoon in beautiful Flagstaff, AZ, USA, and I think I pull one of my NEW blank journals and get to scribbling, gluing, etc. Thank you. BTW, I also love the color in Teesha Moore's work.
Natasha said…
My art journal has been a lifesaver when I am in the midst of my depression cycle. I really appreciate your sharing.

I used to write a lot, though much if it would end up covered up in the layering. As I read your post I realise it has.been quite a while since I have felt compelled to write a lot. Funny how our styles go through new phases all by themselves without realising until much later.
Anonymous said…
Your pages tell an amazing story of doing something for yourself and how it can help you. I think the act of creating reminds us what amazing beings we are despite all we go through (or maybe because...). Thank you for sharing.
SAMARA said…
Wow I totally love your black and white page! just fantastic...i haven't seen a black and white page i like as much. just gorgeous. and as far as your post, i would invite you to go over to my blog and read yesterday's post (not the fill ins but before that - on depression and anxiety!) syncronicity! sista!!!! hugs and more hugs, happy PPF! xox lovies, samara
Sandra L. said…
Thank you for posting this.
I have never tried the monochromatic approach...actually, when I am depressed I find it hard to journal at all. Maybe I should give this a whirl.