by Maxanne McCormick
(Aurora, CO, USA)
This was the first time that I painted what I was feeling. It was amazingly cathartic and the beginning of discovering how art could help me express the things that I couldn't describe verbally. Putting my brush to paper helped to release my pain. I was surprised how many times I found in my paintings things that I didn't even know were inside me. I am an amateur painter, but to me it wasn't the quality of the painting that mattered as much as the emotional experience of painting it.
In this painting, I was trying to show that what I looked like to the world was not the reality that I felt inside. People often say when someone commits suicide that they never suspected that their loved one was so despondent. What we feel isn't always reflected by what we show to others. Most people who knew me would never guess how tortured I felt. Even if they knew that I had struggled with circumstances in my life, what I showed on the outside was strength and resilience in spite of my past. Like the crocus pushing through the snow, I looked like I had overcome the tough times and emerged triumphant.
Thankfully, the dark depression and pain lifted. Now those times are a distant memory. I wanted to share this though, because when I have showed it to friends struggling with depression it has helped them. They don't feel so alone, knowing that I too have been in that dark place yet have found peace and happiness again.
Thanks Maxanne. It's so true that many people hide their pain from everyone, and nobody knows how deep it really is. Art is a wonderful way to express what is inside us - and that is so vital to our peace of mind. It takes courage and vulnerability to share our personal art work. Thank you for inspiring others in their healing.