This blog title sounds like an exaggeration, but it is 100% true. Discovering my inner creative and learning graphic design was a lifeline in a time of darkness.
I am a recovering alcoholic. I have battled eating disorders, self-harm and depression. In the midst of my recovery, when all I could see was pain and struggle, finding creativity was a lifeline.
I had no previous design training. I had studied French, Spanish, psychology and maths for my A-levels and went to university to study languages. Creative studies were the last thing on my mind; I was focused on academia.
While pushing myself to achieve and learn and be successful, I didn’t realise that inside I was a fragile shell. With a little push would shatter into a million pieces. And I did.
It seemed to happen so fast. I went from straight A student who had a bright future, to a university drop-out spending her days holed up in her room, drinking and self-harming. I had ignored my pain ... until I couldn’t.
At 20 years old I was in rehab, and my journey into recovery began.
With my life in pieces, my confidence and self-esteem below the floor and I could see no end to the hurt, I found a ray of light.
I found a focus. I found a creative outlet in graphic design.
I would play around with free design software, and it was fun. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had fun.
I began challenging myself. With such low confidence in myself, every day I would think I had reached the limit of my skills. My immediate thought was, ‘Oh, I’ll never be able to do that’. But each time I smashed that belief.
And so I began to do the same in my daily life.
I filled empty days with learning, practising and honing my skills. Every achievement added a little bit of self-esteem.
I’m not saying it was a completely smooth ride. Putting down my initial crutches of alcohol and self-harm led to eating problems as I tried to stay afloat. But when I would struggle, I could get lost in my creativity. When I was hospitalised with anorexia, I had to turn to creative writing instead. This is why encouraging creativity is so close to my heart.
We are all creative in different ways, even if we don’t believe we are.
We turn houses into homes, ingredients into meals, dreams into reality. We create life, love and happiness.
I have trained myself over years in many areas of graphic design; photo manipulation, illustration and logo and brand design.
I have written little stories, poems and started drafts of novels. I discovered passion. I learnt to pour my emotions into creative expression. I have built confidence, self-esteem and now a business.