How I Use Art to Cope with Depression & Anxiety

Written by Dominique Bancey– Dominique Bancey is the writer of our new column The Thought Banc, where she writes on all things mental health and black culture.

Many persons I know who deal with depression, anxiety, or both, often say that they’re not sure what their coping mechanisms should be. Often times they can only think of bad coping mechanisms such as, drinking, smoking, or causing self harm to themselves. However, there are better things you can do to cope. Mine, happens to be writing.

Art overall is a huge thing for me. Though writing is my go to artform, sometimes I draw abstract pieces as well. Doing these tend to get my mind off of my own thoughts. I’m forced to simply focus on how I went this poem or drawing to go, so I have no time or space in my mind to be consumed by the negative thoughts that linger.

Many times it’s difficult to stay motivated to actually produce a piece of art. This is something I notice a lot of creators have issues with as well. For me, poetry is a routine, it comes natural. Whenever I feel down, I immediately grab my laptop, phone, or pen and paper. It took time, lots of it, and lots of practice as well. When I just began writing as a coping mechanism, I found it hard to completely focus on just that. But now, I don’t even have to think about it.

Let me tell you, all you have to do, is train yourself. But how should you do that?

It’s more simple than it may seem honestly. When you’re not even dealing with negative thoughts, you should write. Sometimes there is a lack of inspiration, but what I do is this – always keep a list of topics/potential titles to write about. That way, when you’re lacking inspiration, you can look at your list and you may have an idea to actually write on something you once saw.

When you train yourself to constantly write, it will come to you as a natural thing to do regularly, whether you’re feeling down or not.

Your coping mechanism may not be the same as mine, but the thought process behind it is the same. Hopefully what works for me, could possibly work for you. If you wish to discuss it, you can send me a dm on Instagram (@dom.thepoet).

Until next time.

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