Friday, March 1, 2013

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. 

6 comments:

  1. 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!

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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

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  6. 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.

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