Anxiety is something that I carry with me wherever I go, every day of my life. Focusing on my anxiety, I want to explore the different ways that I cope with it. I want to show that not all coping methods are destructive and that good can come from mental illness.
We all have to face disruptions in our lives; whether it be something that only affects one day or something that affects many. My mental illness is something that disrupts my life on a daily basis. Whether it be having zero motivation to do anything because of my depression, or the way I shut myself away from human interaction because of my anxiety. My mental illness is still something that I’m learning to live with. Everyone has a different way of coping with mental illness or events that happen in their lives. I want to focus on me, and how I cope when my anxiety becomes way too much to bear.
I would like to research about coping mechanisms and what some of the most common ones are. I also want to research more about mental illness, mainly anxiety, their causes, their symptoms, and how this can lead to different coping methods. Because I want to focus on myself and how I cope, I also want to play around with creating with different materials like origami, mixed media, and beadwork.
I have talked to classmates as well as people outside of the class and the major about this project. While talking to classmates there was a lot of concern about whether I was trying to express my anxiety through art or if I was more focused on my coping methods. I got me thinking about if I should combine both of these things or just choose one to focus on.
While talking to my friend outside of the major I explained the general theme of the project and then some of my original plans and thoughts. I also tried to describe the different plans that were floating around in my head. She had given me some feedback to consider regarding how I could combine how I feel when I’m anxious and my coping method.
I did some more journaling where I just kept writing whatever came to mind about how I wanted to go about tackling this project. Besides sketching plans for different ways I could combine paper shapes and different origami figures that I could create, I also thought about the stigma of mental illness. Mental illness is often seen as a “bad” thing, something that is dark and not talked about. For me, my coping methods lead to something more constructive than destructive. This is something that I could try to focus on and steer my project towards.
I also played around with some different materials for origami, trying to figure out what would work best. I used regular origami paper (smaller crane) as well as scrapbooking paper (larger crane). I love the idea of having whatever objects I create be different in size, but I have to find something other than scrapbooking paper to construct the objects. The scrapbooking paper is just a little too thick for this, it becomes hard to crease and fold.
These two books are sources of inspiration for me. Both of the main characters both encounter something in their lives that cause them to develop coping mechanisms.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr is a book that I read back in middle school and it’s kind of how I developed this habit of creating origami when I’m stressed or anxious. The main character, Sadako, ends up in the hospital with leukemia after the bombing of Hiroshima. While in the hospital she sets a goal for herself to fold 1,000 paper cranes. This is a distraction/coping method for her while she’s in the hospital. After we finished reading this book in school we were taught how to fold a paper crane and ever since then I have tended to fold paper cranes whenever I’m anxious.
Another book that I feel is relevant to my project is It’s Kindof a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. It’s a story about 15-year-old Craig who ends up admitted to a psychiatric hospital when his depression get worse and he starts to have suicidal thoughts. At first, he hates the idea of the hospital, but he ends up accepting the help offered to him. While he is in the hospital he turns to art, specifically map making, to help him cope with and express everything he is feeling. Drawing maps was something he did as a child that he found comfort in.
I think that both of these books relate back to what I want to explore in my project. This idea of creation being how some people cope with the issues they face in their lives.