This post is really just an excuse to put up few photos of some paintings. I make no claim about their quality, relevance or artistry. They are here because they represent one part of my recovery from depression. After the initial shock, exhaustion, relief mixed with guilt, and numbness there was then a period of coming to terms with my situation. It was not the point where I started to get better; it was the point when the depth and extent of my depression and anxiety became clearer to me. If you like, it was then I began to understand how ill I had become.

Then came a stage (and I use the term “stage” only in a vague sense of ‘some period of time that followed’) when I felt that I was no longer falling down, so to speak, no longer at the bottom but beginning to ‘fall upwards’. This was not recovery or cure; my problems had not been solved – at best I had got many (but not all) of them described. This was not “the beginning of the end” but, as Sir Winston Churchill once said, it might have been the end of the beginning.

So, as Autumn came to an end I started painting. The idea was to indicate leaves falling upwards. No, contrary to a suggestion made by one member of my family, I did not do the picture and then simply turn it upside down! There are four pictures: the first with an approximate resemblance to leaves ‘falling’ off a tree; the second uses Autumn-leaf colours; the third takes one of the Autumn leaves (yellow) and puts it on a dark background; and the last reverses the colours. All are done with acrylic paints of varying quality and thickness on heavy-duty watercolour paper.

The point of the exercise for me was not to achieve great art. It was to attempt something creative. It was not so important that it was done well than that I should make the attempt. And that is the point. One of the tools/strategies for dealing with depression is to give ourselves permission to do things that we like. “Am I allowed to enjoy myself?” might seem like a strange question but for me it was one, along with “Am I allowed to be happy?”, that has hovered just beneath conscious thought for years; and the default answer seemed to be “No”. Not always ‘no’ but usually ‘no’. For me, these paintings represent my challenge to that unhelpful assumption. I did something that I enjoyed without having to ask permission. One step towards recovery.

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