How Art Freed Me From Depression

kate-melendez2
Art by Kate Melendez

by Kate Melendez

About a year ago, I found myself being consumed and destroyed by a disease I did not understand. I felt hollow and dark as my world sank deeper into this void called depression. The doctors tried to listen but they couldn’t get the full picture; see, communication is a difficult thing when you have no idea what to say. And, I honestly did not want to participate in this mess. I did not know what was happening to me and how I felt about it since I was uneducated on my own disease. The doctors can try to label a patient, place them in a category, and prescribe medication after medication; but this will not solve the problem.

I needed help. I did not sleep or eat and began to self-mutilate. I had to leave school, I could not see my friends, and I could not function on my own. I felt like a child stuck in a thick, black cloud with nothing but her thoughts. I could not turn my mind off, they call this ruminating, as I played and re-played the same negative thoughts over again in my head. I mostly came to the conclusion that I did not belong in this world. So, I knew that there were two options: kill myself in order to escape or get better.

kate-book3
Art by Kate Melendez

I come from a high school that was tragically affected by suicide. During my sophomore year, a junior boy who was deeply admired took his own life. I thought maybe this was a copycat from the almost identical suicide that happened six years prior. Then, no more than a week later, a freshman boy also decided to kill himself. Forever engrained in our brains is the images of these boys who we grew up with and thought we knew, but I guess we didn’t. Countless others attempted and failed, but not the father of the freshman boy who succeeded in taking his life too. I was an art major who knew of many kids who were self-mutilating already and I worried that I might lose them. Suicide was becoming contagious and an epidemic of my own reality. Time passed and sure enough, another one bites the dust: a beautiful, blonde haired and creative girl. The community I once knew to be a safe-haven was suddenly losing its Light.

kate-book2
Kate Melendez

Every time I contemplated committing this act, I thought about the living. I thought about the hurt and emptiness on the faces of the parents left on this Earth without their children. What were they to do? Rise above? I could not and would not do that to my Mother and Father. I still had a lot of Love inside me waiting to explode and my Light was dim, but it was not out. I made my decision: I was going to get better.

Kate Melendez

I struggled but I made it out alive. I attended an outpatient program for about a month, found an amazing therapist, and actually returned to school. However, I did not stay long because my life took a turn. See, I wanted to get better and beat my depression but I did not stop there. I began to create and follow a new Life Path towards wellness, love, happiness, and spirituality. As I healed, using the skills I learned through DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and the conversations I had with loved ones, I started to discover who I was.

I began to discover my talents in a new way. I always could draw and paint and I even knew that art should always have a message, but things started to change in me. I had the art, I had the messages, but I was closed off to a whole world that I never knew existed. Trust me, I was always a believer but I was not aware of all that was around me. I began to get more in touch with my spirit side and started to follow signs and symbols, which definitely scared those around me. I went from being a depressed slug to an over energetic, spiritual butterfly. So, I ended up having what I believe to be my Spiritual Awakening, which unfortunately led to my permanent leave from school.

I felt like I was broken again. Still a butterfly, but with broken wings. Is it possible that my metamorphosis was not complete? I’d say so. It is in this time that I came across the film: Time Is Art. I remember watching it for the first time and feeling so much emotion and excitement and joy because FINALLY I had found my people. Finally, I had found a community of individuals who knew exactly what I was experiencing. This film opened my eyes to the information that I had been craving to learn. It opened my mind to endless possibilities and hope. And most importantly, this film was done well! I knew that whoever was behind this film was thinking, was conscious, was aware, and most importantly, they were talented. This film is full of ART! Art in the way that I’ve been waiting to see it and it transformed my whole Being.

jose arguelles, time is art

I created these illustrations for my book inspired by the film, ‘Time is Art’, to show how Time really is Art, which is an idea that stems from author and visionary philosopher, Jose Arguelles. My art represents “My Time” and “My Time” is measured by my experiences and lessons learned. “My Time” is not a compilation of seconds, minutes, hours, classes taken, degrees obtained, money saved… no, “My Time” can only be valued or observed through the art that I make each day. My Art is a direct reflection of my progress and how I have changed and continue to change. As I grow, I will continue to make art each day in order to capture each moment because “My Time” is Right Now.

Epiphany in Outer Space

outerspaceby Chris Mackey

To what extent are we using our full potential? We can consider this question as an individual, as a city, or even at a wider human level. I was intrigued to recently read an obituary for the former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, who pondered this question after an epiphany in space. Apparently whilst looking down at the Earth he saw it as a planet in a critical condition, marked by “deeper and deeper crises”. What was most intriguing is what he attributed this to. He highlighted “the need for a radical change in our culture”. He added, “I knew we were replete with untapped intuitive and psychic forces that Western society had programmed us to disregard”.

I was especially struck by Mitchell’s declaration as I had reached exactly the same conclusion based on my work for 35 years as a psychotherapist. That was my main motivation for writing a book about synchronicity. In Western society we are plagued by an overemphasis on rationality to the exclusion of using our deeper intuition. Academics often seem crippled by this bent. Even the field of positive psychology, in its quest for scientific respectability, has been very slow to explore a spiritual or transpersonal dimension in life despite its obvious importance to many people. Our reticence to explore things that challenge our understanding is extraordinarily self-limiting. We greatly limit our potential when we refuse to explore human capacities that cannot be readily explained by logic and reason.

I was further reminded of this when recently invited to be a guest speaker at the Australian premiere of the film Time is Art: Synchronicity and the Collective Dream. Over 300 people attended, quite a number of whom identified themselves to me as being psychics or spirit mediums. It was refreshing to hear of their ease at relating such abilities. Spirit mediums are often thought to be quacks or charlatans. This following story might challenge such views.

One fellow, whose day job is erecting tennis court fences, described how he further developed his powers as a medium after two near death experiences when he encountered the commonly described bright white light. Some time later, whilst putting in a fence for a customer, he tactfully checked whether the lady might be open to a message from beyond. She was skeptical about an afterlife, but remained a bit curious. He informed her that someone who was deceased wanted to convey a message to her about a white silk scarf. psyhonaut The lady immediately broke down, but wanted to hear more. Apparently a relative had repeatedly asked her for a white silk scarf, but she had refused to part with it – it was the final thing she resolutely held on to following her mother’s death some years earlier. The fellow suggested that her mother was trying to say it was time for her to let go of the scarf. She did so, and it helped her resolve her grief. She subsequently thanked the man for changing her life for the better. This is just one example of how we might underestimate our potential for a deeper intuitive awareness, and what I call “the power of supra-rational thinking”. At least we can remain open to the possibility. To dismiss the possibility of people having genuine psychic abilities, merely because this does not fit our preconceived ideas, is to abandon a scientific attitude.


Chris Mackey is author of the recently released Synchronicity: Empower your life with the gift of coincidence. The book’s website is at Synchronicityunwrapped.com.au