In my last semester of studio at Sheridan College, I began to explore different psychological states and how life events shape our identities. Firstly, I explore the polarities of how mental health is presented within social media versus how it is experienced: the idealised versus the “too emotional” - tropes as exemplified through contemporary visual culture. I argue that something that is beautified sterilises the message of mental health and that something “too emotional” is merely cast aside, hence the red line over the mouth to signify loss of voice in both depictions. Secondly, I explore the impacts that abusive relationships have on identity. I present this concept through a series of images that suggest the experiences become a part of our being like a tattoo on the body - we remain forever changed.
 The goal for my project was to create awareness towards severity of mental health today. Anxiety has significantly increased and so has suicides. The youth of this generation have purpose and power but are being silenced and hindered by their mind. Instead of making a life for themselves they think about taking it. This is heart-breaking to me and it shouldn’t be beautified.
Nor should it be a trend or hashtag.
I feel that the digital age of connectivity and immediacy has shifted society to be disconnected, less authentic and less vulnerable. Living behind screens has desensitised the world to death, sex, love and drugs. It’s like we are a society that craves over-stimulation which undermines real human connection and thus leaves the world suffering in isolation.
My goal with my art, is to unify people through expressing emotions that are isolating – to bring us back together and encourage openness – especially now.
As someone who has experienced physical abuse and emotional traumas, I’ve always asked, “why me?”. I think the most upsetting part is that you can’t choose how traumatic events effect your brain. PTSD is considered a mental injury and it’s hard to overcome chemical wirings of your brain and their triggers that keep returning the traumas to your mind. It can feel dis-empowering, defeating and imprisoning. It can lead to self-hate, feelings of unworthiness, a lack of belonging and purpose, and stimulate anger. Anxiety, stress, PTSD and depression can lead to over-thinking, over-reacting, and living with fear. It can feel crippling and isolating and make you feel like you are losing yourself.
"Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through," R.D. Laing.

What we go through shapes who we are. Instead of looking at the world and blaming others for what they have done to us, its essential to release the anger. By doing so, that means you need to allow yourself time to feel. Through that, you can learn to understand the trauma and love the parts of you that have been damaged. Instead of seeing yourself as injured, you can begin to see yourself as uniquely shaped - something rare. You feel deeper, empathize more, understand different ways of thinking, you're in tune with energies and you learn the importance of boundaries and the preciousness of someone opening up. I'd like to believe, that we live more authentically because of the pain that we have experienced.
Mental Health and abusive relationships:

In a society where many are faced with low self-esteem due to exposure to online media content, it's important to empower and encourage healthy choices and to create awareness towards what an unhealthy relationship looks like. I felt like it was an important and relevant social discussion to be had - specifically within university where many are starting to enter romantic relationships

My project (images below) exposes what abuse feels and sounds like instead of showing the physical repercussions of it. I find that there is more power in exploring the psychological state of abuse because that's where it all starts and how it's able to continue - mental manipulation causing confusion, reliance and dissociation.

I strongly believe that, “in order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that have shaped you” (Dyksara) and I also think that “so much of what we learn about love is taught by people who never really loved us” (r.h. sin). Therefore, by opening up about experiences that have shaped you, it not only frees you, but your words become a helpful companion for another.
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