Realizing when an episode is approaching terrifies me because I never know how long it’ll last or the intensity it will be this time around. Mine are anywhere from two weeks to a month long depending on life circumstances. As much as I try to stop one in its tracks, I find that my control is limited.
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My journey with food has been a long and exhausting eight year cycle of self-destruction. In those eight years, a mental and physical war broke out against myself, with myself. As someone who already suffers from mental illness, I have unintentionally used eating as a weapon of self harm. An eating disorder is a private battle; I have learned manipulation tactics in order to hide it but now try to voice some struggles in the hope that eventually I can detach myself from them.
I have always dreamed of traveling across the world, so when I got the opportunity to study and intern in Florence, Italy, for three months I was beside myself. The closer the date crept up, the more my excitement morphed into anxiety. My mind became cluttered with “what ifs” and questions about if I was really ready to live across the world.
I couldn’t keep putting pressure on myself to make every moment of every day as spectacular as possible because that wasn’t realistic for me. I told myself that I would have some bad days because I’m human, and that it was okay.
*The charcoal artwork featured above is titled "Too Much" by Emily McGuigan*
Some days, I feel energetic and like I can accomplish everything I set out to.
Some days, I wake up and feel like I didn’t even get a chance at having a good day. I have no desire to get out of bed or talk to anyone or study or go to the gym or read or think.
Some days, I just need a break.
And that’s okay.
“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” ~ Edward Hopper
As an artist with Generalized Anxiety Disorder(GAD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), I have primarily used drawing and painting to help me cope with and explain traumatic or stressful events in my life, but also to discover who I am as a person. Art allows me to reach within myself to heal myself.
Emily McGuigan resides in the Philadelphia area and currently attends West Chester University as a Junior. She is currently working on her Bachelor of Fine Arts with minors in International Business and Psychology. Emily’s passion for the arts and lifelong struggles with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder have led her to explore art therapy as a potential career path. She aims to help educate others on the benefits of creative expression on mental health recovery as she pursues her studies.