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On Hiatus…

SOS is on hiatus for now… thank you to all those readers who keep checking in and leaving thoughtful comments. I hope that new readers will find strength and inspiration in the posts already on the site.

Be well.

Tree of Hope

 

Tree of Hope is a modified photograph by Ally Preston. By contrasting the lone tree against a dark landscape, Ally wants to show that there is hope for women with mental illness. She finds photography to be therapeutic for her fight against PTSD.

Luscious

 

Tree

 

The Race

 

Tracy is a self-taught artist and began painting around 1999. She is bipolar. She would like to say this doesn’t define her, but it does, the same way as being a mother and a wife and a female also define who she is. Tracy was diagnosed as bipolar in her late 30s but can trace it back to her early childhood. It is her persona, what makes her, well, her. Her art is an outlet for her highs and lows, although some of the paintings during her lows are not for display or sale. Please visit Tracy at: Abstract Art Online, and Ecstasy’s Lament.



I’m Not Living

I’m Not Living

By Shayna Anderson

 

Friendship is fleeting

Love tugs at my clothes -

Will not let me fall,

Will not let me dive.

I’m not living

But they won’t let me die.

 

Shayna Anderson is a writer and artist who lives in the USA. She is at times happy, at times depressed, and at other times, violently suicidal. She cherishes every moment of sanity she has, and hopes never to give in to the darkest recesses of her mind.

 

Quite the delay

For those of you who have continued to faithfully read the content on this site, I thank you sincerely. It has not been an easy time for me; my mental illness was acting up (majorly) and I had to take time off from all of my usually enjoyable activities. Of course, one can never predict when these things happen, but I have been feeling much better due to a change in my medications and daily routine. I hope to continue with SOS as long as I can. Thank you for sticking with me!

Sandhya

I had the privilege of speaking with Michelle Clausius, who works with homeless youth at Covenant House, a non-profit organization that provides security, comfort, and crisis intervention for homeless youth. Covenant House encourages their youth to express themselves through art.

5 Questions for Covenant House

SOS: What is your specific position at Covenant House?

M.C.: Associate Director, Development and Communications

SOS: Do you think homeless youth are more at risk for mental illness that the average young adult? Why or why not?

M.C.: Yes, homeless young people have several factors that increase their risk of mental illness. They are:

- Childhood physical and/or sexual abuse and neglect

- Foster care placement (over half our youth have been in foster care)

- Failure to attach (many of our youth never had meaningful and loving attachments when they were children)

- They are homeless [and thus] more at risk for re-victimization while on the streets

SOS: Do you think that art helps the youth in your program express themselves?

M.C.: Yes, art whether it be photography, illustrations, or writing gives the youth a voice but with the comfort of not always having to express themselves vocally – their art represents them in a way that they may either not be able or want to articulate themselves.

SOS: Without giving away any names or identities, can you think of any specific young adult who found art to be exceptionally therapeutic? What was his/her experience with art?

M.C.: It was therapeutic for the young woman who created the comic that is on our blog.  The therapeutic value works like this:  writing about their mental illness normalizes it in a way, therefore lessening the stigma or shame they may feel about their mental illness.

SOS: And finally, what is the #1 reason that you do what you do?

M.C.: I love telling the stories of our young people – the more people learn about our youth and their struggles, the more likely they are to support our work.

Michelle, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with SOS about the important work that Covenant House does, and the role that art plays in helping homeless youth express themselves!

Edge of Madness

EDGE OF MADNESS

By Catherine Gourd

Although Catherine has been labeled by her diagnoses, and was once ashamed of them, she is not anymore. She has accepted that she suffers from mental illness. She has anxiety, depression, and a mixed personality disorder – a mix of borderline personality disorder and dependent personality disorder. Catherine is now 30 years old, and the one unifying thread in her life, besides mental illness, is hope. In her mind, she is a survivor, she is strong, and she believes that there is always hope.

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