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  • Writer's picturePascal Lagesse

Painting and depression

What I find difficult with my recurring depression is the effort I have to make to carry out tasks that, at first glance, seem simple to other people. Starting a painting is difficult for me. There is a little voice whispering to me that I will feel so much better in my bed and that it would be better to wait another day to start it. With depression, everything is a struggle. From getting up to going to bed, you have to constantly fight with yourself to avoid falling into immobility. Over time, the fight becomes more and more difficult. Maybe aging doesn't help? For many people I meet, depression is not an illness, it is not real. I often receive advice to “take charge” or “not let myself go.” But that's all I ask! We are not depressed by choice or to give ourselves a style. It is an illness that slowly eats away at the individual and gradually takes away the hope of respite.

Depression is a vice that constantly crushes your stomach, a hole that constantly sucks you in and an inner voice that tries to persuade you that nothing is worth it. Fortunately there are medications that help in the fight, but these medications come with side effects. Nothing is given for free in this world. There is always a price to pay. One of the painful side effects for me is the tremors. These are difficult to manage when you are a painter and need precision. There are days when I have to paint with both hands to be able to do the details in my Zafers paintings. The left elbow must be placed on the arm of my chair and with the left hand, I grab my right hand at the wrist to stabilise it. This is why I can no longer paint standing up like I did twenty years ago. The armchair is a necessity today. On days when the shaking is unmanageable, I simply cannot paint. Another difficulty I face is the difficulty in facing the public. For example, the opening of a painting exhibition is extremely difficult for me and a public activity is a big ordeal that drains my energy for several days. Painting is therefore for me a solitary activity more by necessity than by choice.

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1 Comment

Mary-Grace Sinclair
Sep 11, 2023

What a beautiful blog post. Thanks for sharing this vulnerable part of you. I think it’s much needed to share about depression. Mental health is usually swept under the rug when it should be addressed :) Thanks. It’s great to witness your art and your thoughts via your blog.

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