APN News

  • Wednesday, November, 2019| Today's Market | Current Time: 07:09:03
  • By Akshita Gandhi, Artist/Entrepreneur & Philanthropist

    July 2016 was a dark time in Akshita’s life and most of it was a blur. She had moved back with her parents and was drowning in a dark abyss. After conducting several tests, she was detected with clinical depression and an anxiety disorder. The months that followed were some of the most painful and cumbersome months. She had sleepless nights, numerous breakdowns in a day, she lost her confidence and loathed herself, shrugged off her purpose, and lost interest in activities that once fuelled her. Akshita’s head became a whirlwind of despondency and constantly played the events that left her scarred.

    No solace-laced words were of any help and resultantly she isolated herself from friends and family. Dinner was the only time she left her bedroom only to go back to her melancholy state and continue sinking. She had always been an over achiever therefore this condition came as a big blow to her. Of course, Akshita philandered with the idea of ending her life several times; hoping she did get a fresh start and this sting would end. Mental illness in India amongst the youth is growing exponentially yet there is an unfortunate taboo around the notion of it. May is mental health awareness month and for the first time, Akshita is sharing her personal experience in anticipation that it will encourage more people who have battled mental illnesses to come forth and speak up in order to break the stigma and send a message to those suffering that they are not alone and give them optimism that they can start fresh.

     

    One afternoon, Akshita snuck into her living room, snuggled on the swing and stared aimlessly at the artwork hung on the wall diagonally opposite. It was a five feet tall black and white ‘Om,’ she painted a decade ago. For the first time in weeks, her mind started to reminisce. She thought of the time she had spent working on this piece, the joy she’d experience while creating art, the style and technique that were unique to her work, the hours spent trying to invent those techniques. All this reflection got her curious about whether or not she still had it in me to make art again. It was the one thing that gave her delight like nothing else. Over a piece of paper, she started to sketch but her hand was shaking and her mind was not sturdy. Thwarted with her condition, she broke out into a fit of rage and picked up an old canvas, played Linkin’ Park on loop, opened a bottle of black paint, found an old paintbrush. With a jerk, I splashed paint all over the canvas. Wrathful, not knowing who to blame and feeling defeated she kept screaming and crying, facing my pain for the first time finally allowing it to surface. Ever since she moved back home, she wanted to remain numb, believing there wasn’t a silver lining because it felt like the end. But the trick with art is that it connects with your soul and forces you into oneness with yourself, bringing out every sentiment you feel onto the canvas, however jovial or dire it might be. After a few hours, she stopped crying and stared back at the canvas, it reminded her of Pollock’s artwork. He created his first masterpiece when he was intoxicated and miserable. He felt intoxicated too except she was intoxicated with gloom. But at least it was a start! By facing her agony, she did what she feared doing the most. That day she felt lighter and for the first time in months managed to sleep through the night. For the next few months, she made this her afternoon ritual. Her art became her crutch and a way of expressing herself irrespective of how dark, hurt and angry she did feel. Within a few short weeks, she began to realize her painting was taking an abstract form and the energy within her had started to shift because through her art she was finally letting go. She began finding peace as she continued splashing paint and threw out all her negativity. There were unanswered questions, unexplainable situations and a condition she ‘deserved’ only because she chose to try. Art painted a new life for Akshita. The splash of colors on my canvas, the metamorphosis of creating it, from a blank canvas to abstract forms was extremely therapeutic. Akshita battled depression with art therapy and it healed her like a miracle. Akshita got my new beginning and a second chance at life, to live it in colour again!

     

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