I recently tried watercolor painting as a new avenue of self-care. Normally, I am not a big painter. Or drawer. Or artist of any kind. Writing has always been my creative outlet. Yet I have to admit that painting with the watercolors was surprisingly therapeutic. And as I watched the colors start to bleed together on the page, I started to think more and more about what the colors of depression are.
The obvious answer is blackness. After all, I so often refer to depressive episodes as being in the ‘darkness.’ Yet I found myself identifying more with the nuanced darkness. The dark blues, purples, fading subtly into greens and sometimes even reds that spoke to my depression too. Each one seemed to speak to a different aspect of my depression. The black and blue speaking to the pain, sadness, isolation. The red speaking to anger. The green speaking to hope, renewal and recovery.
The colors of depression are so varied because depression is such a dangerously nuanced disorder. There are so many different quarks, so many different triggers and emotions. Yet for me, the pain, lack of energy, and disconnection all combine into a suffocating darkness that tends to mask those nuanced emotions, emotions that I might not otherwise be able to access, understand, or process. It highlights why it is important to occasionally seek out new self-care routines, because even if you think you know your demons, you might find their (and your) artistic side can surprise you. It certainly did for me.
So if you are looking for a new way to look at your depression, or even if you just want to add some color to your life, I would recommend trying a little painting. You might be surprised what comes out.
P.S. I probably wouldn’t have even tried this if it weren’t from some pretty awesome people that I work with, so always keep an open mind when talking to others about their self-care routines.