Ups and Downs and In-Betweens

New musings and new work!

Check this new work out, as always, in my Etsy shop.

I was overwhelmed by the response to my last blog post in which I talked about my lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety. I received so many comments expressing support and even some private admissions by friends who had struggled with similar problems. I was so encouraged by the response that I submitted a more polished piece to the Huffington Post and guess what? They published it! You can read it here.

My own mental health challenges were very much on my mind this week as I mulled over asking for a medication adjustment at my next doctor’s appointment. Earlier this year, when I sought treatment for anxiety, my insomnia was out of control. I was constantly keyed up and had difficulty focusing on anything.  After several months of treatment, and lots of yoga and meditation, I discovered that I had “flatlined.” In other words,  wasn’t feeling much of anything. No ups, no downs.

It was strange. But perhaps a very positive sign, as my anxiety has all but disappeared. My doctor suggested I reduce my medication. I’d like to get off of it altogether.

At any rate, this was a strange experience for me and it made me think about the nature of ups and downs and mental and mood disorders. I think I suffer from a little bit of cyclothymia, which is a very mild version of bi-polar. I’m used to swinging up and down, but completely disconcerted by this unfamiliar feeling of bland evenness.

In the world of psychiatry, every tendency, disorder, and mood is collected, rated, charted, and categorized. This is what I was thinking about when I started this new series which I think I’m going to call – aptly – “Flatlining.”

Flatlining, Study Number 4, Watercolor pencil and ink on paper, 6 x 9 inches
Flatlining, Study Number 4, Watercolor pencil and ink on paper, 6 x 9 inches
Flatlining, Study No 3, Watercolor, Gouache and Watercolor Pencil on paper
Flatlining, Study No 3, Watercolor, Gouache and Watercolor Pencil on paper
Flatlining, Study no. 2, Watercolor, Watercolor Pencil, and Ink on Paper
Flatlining, Study no. 2, Watercolor, Watercolor Pencil, and Ink on Paper
Flatlining, Study No. 1, Watercolor, Gouache, and Ink on Paper
Flatlining, Study No. 1, Watercolor, Gouache, and Ink on Paper

This series has grown right out of my “Illumination series” which document my first serious foray into abstraction. I think I am beginning to develop a more unique language with these new pieces. Here is one of my most recent “illumination” pieces. You can see my jumping off point!

Heather Kerley
Illuminations series, Study No. 49, Watercolor, Gouache, Watercolor Pencil and Ink on paper.

I am also working on some more figurative drawings and prints which I will update you on in my next post.

xx

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2 thoughts on “Ups and Downs and In-Betweens

  1. Heather, your study nr. 2 with all those triangular shapes and lines reminds me of a photo I took recently! I read your article on Huffpost. I admire your courage for speaking/writing so openly. It’s true though, depression does run in the family – I can attest to that.

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