Frequently Asked Questions About Treating Depression Through Art And Expression


I had been keeping my depression a secret to my family for years. I became the breadwinner in the family when my father passed away five years ago, you see. As any breadwinner would know, being one meant that you had to be physically and emotionally resilient, especially if you still had siblings to send to school and an ailing mother who depended on you.

On the outside, my loved ones saw me as this bubbly big sister and daughter. Even if I had two full-time jobs, I always came home with a smile on my face. Whenever I could, I would even help out at home and teach my younger siblings their homework. They called me a Supergirl in the house because of that, and I would always laugh it off, insisting that I was merely doing my part.

It was not a lie, of course. It was my duty as the new head of the family to look after everyone. However, what they did not was that I did not feel deserving of such a title because I was crumbling deep inside. Due to my hectic schedule, I hadn’t had a decent meal in months. I would always buy a $1 burger at McDonald’s for lunch or dinner so that I won’t need to spend more of my salary on myself. Sleep had also evaded me for a while; I would not be able to get a shut-eye unless I had been sleep-deprived for two to three days. No one noticed that because they somehow never saw me without my makeup on.

When The Change Happened

When the sixth year rolled in, I pretty much accepted that my life would be like that forever. It must sound crazy for people without depression, but you would not really see a way out when you got this mental condition. But then, one day, my youngest sister asked if I would help her paint.

When Dad was still alive, and my life was breezy, I was an avid painter. Even if I could not play outside or do anything else, I would be happy as long as I had my canvas and watercolors. Since Dad’s passing, that would be the first time that I would paint again. 


At first, I thought I would not know how to do it anymore. Holding the brush felt awkward; letting it glide over the canvas felt wrong. However, the longer I did it, the more old memories of my painting days returned. Little did I know, it was already noon, and I painted my father’s smiling face.

It was perhaps the first time that I cried that hard. My sister was initially confused because my emotions went from zero to 100, but she understood when she saw my canvas. After that day, I picked up my painting hobby, and my depression slowly ebbed away.

Why is art good for mental health? 

 Art is excellent for mental health because it allows people to express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions without words. They can choose a medium and let their hands, hearts, and brains do the work. When the project ends, they get a sense of fulfillment.

Is painting good for depression? 

 Painting is good for depression because this activity can relieve an individual’s stress and increase their confidence level. As you probably know by now, stress is one of the most significant trigger factors of depression. The less stressed you get, the fewer depressive episodes you may have.

Is there a link between creativity and depression? 

 Many people link creativity and depression to each other, given the number of well-known artists with this specific mental disorder. Despite that, the reality is that there is no link between them.

How does art heal trauma? 

  • The therapist may ask the person to draw or paint their experiences. Whatever output they have will then be interpreted and discussed in the end.
  • Clients may also draw or paint what goals they hope to achieve through therapy. This is especially ideal if they cannot talk about it.

Is art therapy good for mental illness? 

 Yes, art therapy is suitable for various mental illnesses. However, it is mostly used as a complementary treatment for other forms of treatment.

How does art affect the mind? 

 Research has shown that seeing or doing art can alter a person’s brain wave pattern and boost serotonin production. In other words, art makes people happier than ever or changes their outlook on life.

Is painting good for anxiety? 

 Yes, painting is good for anxiety, considering it gives an individual a creative outlet for their troubling thoughts.

Does art help anxiety? 

 Yes, art helps anxiety sufferers. According to studies, a simple act of coloring mandala drawings has significantly reduced an individual’s anxiety level. The same results – or more – may be expected when they focus on painting, drawing, and other activities.

How art therapy helps people heal? 

 Art therapy has been introduced to mentally troubled people as a way for them to channel their emotions into creativity. Thus, therapists allow their clients to choose whatever form of art they want to express themselves through it. The more artwork they create, the more healing they may experience.

Does creativity cause mental illness? 

 There is not enough research for us to conclude that creativity causes mental illnesses. 

Why are so many artists mentally ill? 

 There are a few possible reasons why so many artists become mentally ill.

  • Their career may not be improving.
  • Their family is pressuring them financial-wise.
  • They cannot find inspiration to create new art.

How does creativity affect mental health? 

 Creativity allows you to let go of your intrusive thoughts and come out more collected than ever.

How does trauma affect creativity? 

 Considering trauma can make people go into isolation, it somehow helps improve their creativity.

How does art therapy help PTSD? 

 Art therapy is an excellent way for people living with PTSD to draw or paint their nightmares and experiences. Many people benefit from it, especially if words are not enough to express how they feel or think.

How does art help relieve stress?

Art is the perfect distraction for stressed individuals. It can keep your mind off stressful thoughts for hours. In the end, when you see your artwork, you may feel light and forget your worries.

Final Thoughts

A year later, I got the biggest surprise of my life when my sister came home with two strangers. When I asked who they were, my sister said they wanted to see my wild animals’ paintings in person and put them up on display at a modern art gallery. I later found out that my siblings were taking pictures of the 40+ images I created and looked for art galleries that would want to feature me. 

To cut the story short, the exhibit was a success, and I sold all my paintings. More galleries wanted to commission me, so I could finally do what I loved for a living. That completed my healing process.

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