Warning: this blog post talks about depression, including suicide. I am not a mental health professional, experiences described in this blog are my own.
I have depression. I can’t tell you when it started, though honestly I think it has been with me my entire life. It first became problematic when I was around 14 years old and has reared its ugly head every few years since. . It has led me to numerous suicide attempts. It has cost me friendships, relationships and jobs. It has robbed me of whole periods of time.
It’s a cliché, but honestly depression really is like a big dark cloud smothering me. It removes all joy and all hope. At its worst it removes all emotion full stop – I feel nothing, not even sadness.
Five years ago I entered my lowest period and had a complete breakdown. I was working as a secretary, and one day I just walked out of the office in the middle of the day. I have very scant memories of the year that followed. I understand that I called my boss and told them I couldn’t cope, that I called my husband who came and found me in a café and brought me home, and that I then spent a whole summer in bed, barely speaking. I was put on medication and on a waiting list for therapy. I again attempted suicide at least twice. Gradually I improved, I took voluntary redundancy at my job and started House Of Bats. Aside from the occasional blip I have been much healthier these past few years, with better coping mechanisms and ways of recognising when that cloud is gathering above me.
But no matter how much better I am now, depression is always there lurking. It’s something I rarely talk about, struggling to express how I feel about it. A few years ago I attended a photography exhibit on the theme or abandoned buildings and inspiration grabbed me as it so often does. These buildings were beautiful in their decay, empty shells which had so much potential but lay desolate. They reminded me of my mind in the throes of depression. I knew then that from the shapes and shadows of these abandoned buildings I could express my depression and start to make sense of it.
I did some sketches, and then let my anxieties keep me hostage for 2 years. The designs sat in the sketchbook, hidden. Until now.
So here it is: the Abandoned Spaces Collection. A series of 4 talismans, each representing a different aspect of depression: fear, despair, solitude and sorrow.
These talismans are not here to celebrate these feelings, but more to accept them, own them and let them guide you. Or, just as pieces of jewellery that fit your aesthetic. It’s up to you. For me, they have a cathartic effect – helping to release me from that which holds me back and reminding me of how far I have come.
If you are struggling with mental health please seek help. Some resources are listed below.
Love and peace,
Anna Bat x