Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Photo courtesy of Paramount
Despite the painful events that lead up to my breakdown, or what I prefer to call my breakthrough, being hospitalized was perhaps the best thing to ever happen to me. It was in the hospital where I was reintroduced to art in the form of art therapy. If it weren’t for art therapy, I wouldn’t have celebrated my first solo art show last November where I sold five paintings opening night. I wouldn’t currently have a 4 x 3 foot painting hanging in the middle of Strings, a five star restaurant in downtown Denver. And I wouldn’t be adding published author to my list of accomplishments because of the essay I wrote about art therapy that is being published later this year.
Through my struggles with depression, and my second chance at life, I have learned that it is the difficult challenges we overcome that have the potential to propel us into our greatness. I only wish I had been more forthcoming with this wisdom before my friend Karen decided to make her transition last month. Transition. That’s a gentle way of saying she took her own life. She committed suicide.
As I finished reading Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and posted my last blog entry four weeks ago I wasn’t entirely sure what the next chapter in my life had in store for me. But when I learned of Karen’s passing two days later it became clear that it is my responsibility to tell my story. If my experience as a suicide survivor can inspire just one person to make a different choice, to choose life, then everything I’ve been through will have meaning.
I will continue to paint and blog about my journey navigating the Denver art scene. But the memoir/self-help book I am writing about my struggles with depression and the steps I take to live joyfully has taken precedence. What once was a blog about an emerging artist is now also a blog about an aspiring author.
If you are feeling helpless, hopeless, or having thoughts of suicide PLEASE call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You can begin again. I’m living proof.