About creativity and mental health
The series “Hospital Drawings” consists of 24 graphite drawings made during my stay for depression at the Psychiatric Center in Halle Neustadt from January to March 2022. Like a diary, they report on my everyday life, in the form of objects, scenes and therapy exercises, in a way that does not require words. Back then, drawing provided me with a powerful means to process the hospitalization and sickeness. It helped me manage my depressive symptoms: through drawing I reduced my anxiety, alleviated boredom, and exercised my concentration. It gave me a meaningful sense of purpose and accomplishment, and by that, directly participated in my recovery. I believe these works translate an immense fragility, they also convey resourcefulness and resilience.
“The opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression” says Dr Stuart Brown. I believe depression occurs when one loses the ability to navigate through life’s events with a sense of control, agency and pleasure. In an open understanding, this is what playfulness is. At the hospital, I was struck how often play and games were used in individual and group therapy. Playing helped us as patients to have social contacts, ease pain and experience pleasure, even if only minimally and for a short period of time. Also very sick patients, who were unable to do the simplest things like talk, shower or walk, did play, and on their own, outside of therapy hours. And so did I, in the form of drawing… To me this shows how essential play is to mental balance, and more generally human life.