The Fall

New drawing! This has been inspired from the story of Adam & Eve (well, actually just Eve) and Japanese shunga. I wanted to bring both of these together in a more modern setting.

Remember to follow me on Instagram: @emilyjaneillustrates

 

Depression and Medication

I starting taking antidepressants in the summer of 2016. This was a really big decision for me and something that I had put off for a really long time. It took me ages to make this decision because before this I didn’t like the thought of putting strong medication into my body with the possibility of getting adverse side effects. I was also adamant that I would be able to overcome depression with wellness activities like yoga and exercise.

It never occurred to me that I would get such severe depression (that’s what I was diagnosed with from my doctor) that I literally would not be able to do any of these activities that are supposed to help with depression. I was going through a serious eating disorder at the time as well, so didn’t have the mental or physical energy to do anything. I felt so helpless, trying to muster whatever energy I did have to be able to get on with my dissertation. I was in such a bad way that I eventually decided I was going to go to the doctors and get antidepressants. Like I said, this really wasn’t an easy decision but I felt like I didn’t have another way. I wanted to share my experience with taking medication for depression to help anyone else that is going through a similar experience.

CITALOPRAM

At my first appointment with the doctor, I was prescribed Citalopram (I think this is the most common medication to prescribe). The first couple of days I didn’t feel much of a difference, in fact I felt even worse on a few occasions, however this had subsided by the end of the first week. This was when I started to get peaks of happiness and I noticed that my mood began to change. I was becoming happier and more interested in each day. I started to find things funny – I don’t remember genuinely laughing for months and months before this. It was really weird to me because although I was aware of how sad I had been, I didn’t realise that I hadn’t laughed in such a long time until I laughed again.

Although I started to feel the benefits of Citalopram, I realised that I was exhausted in the day. It wasn’t the same exhaustion I had felt from not eating, but more a mental exhaustion. It was like I was a zombie walking around in a dream or in my own bubble. I felt happy but because of the bubble effect I never felt like I was 100% myself. I never felt as happy as I did when I was completely me (if that makes any sense at all). On top of this, I started to get mild insomnia – I either couldn’t get to sleep for ages as my mind was racing, or I would drift in and out of sleep for the whole night. From reading about other people’s experiences with antidepressants, I came to learn that these are quite common side effects. These side effects are more certainly something to think hard about before taking any antidepressant, because in my case and I’m sure many others, the side effects were pretty intense and took over my life for the time I was taking them. After being on Citalopram for about a month I went back to the doctors.

SECOND APPOINTMENT

I saw a different doctor on my second appointment and my experience with him was pretty poor. When I first walked in he said absolutely nothing to me, just started at me as I sat myself down. I smiled and waited for him to say the typical ‘so what can I do for you today’, but this never came. After an uncomfortable few moments I said (really awkwardly) ‘hello’ and then began to explain why I had come. The only response I got back was ‘well, what did you want from this appointment then?’ Super blunt. Very unhelpful. I almost felt embarrassed for being there in the first place. I really wanted to mention this because it gets guts to go to a doctors and explain how you’re feeling.

ANYWAY. After my second appointment, the doctor prescribed me with an alternative antidepressant, Fluoxetine. He did say that generally if someone doesn’t get on with Citalopram they get on with Fluoxetine. On the whole I would have to agree. I have been taking Fluoxetine for around 9 months now and I don’t get the same symptoms as Citalopram but, I still do get some – thankfully they’re not as intense as before. I don’t feel like a zombie when I take them, however the feeling of being in a bubble or a dream can sometimes creep in. I get mild memory loss – I feel like I forget things easier and I have to make more of an effort to get things ‘right’. As well as this, my attention span has decreased quite a lot, and my brain can ‘jump’ from one thing to another in an instance. I still experience tiredness, it’s not as extreme as it was with Citalopram, but by 9pm most evenings I could easily feel like all my energy has gone. I also feel like my personality isn’t quite myself, more of a subdued version.

The way I have managed these symptoms is simply by not taking the medication everyday. I’m lucky because I am able to go a few days now in between taking Fluoxetine without feeling depressed and without having to get the side effects as much.

 

OVERALL EXPERIENCE

For me, antidepressants have helped to be able to smile again and forget a lot of the pain that I had previously been feeling. I was able to get out of bed, to not cry all day long and to finally finish my dissertation. Since then I have been able to find a new job (and actually be pretty good at it). I have been able to laugh with my boyfriend and sing in the shower. Taking medication has also helped me massively with the eating disorder. I’m finally at a stage now where I feel strong, where I’m able to look at my body and think how amazing it really is. So, for me, this positive experience outweighs the negative side effects that I have dealt with since taking the medication. If you are thinking about taking antidepressants, I would definitelyfptpg consider the implications and make sure your decision is going to be right for you.

I hope this helps anyone that is struggling. I promise it gets better x

 

Illustration of the Day

You can probably see that there’s a theme to my recent illustrations as I want to start making small projects and try to inject some consistency into my work. Hopefully, this will allow me to be able to develop my skills and challenge myself into representing a theme in different ways.

 

As always, these illustrations hope to empower women and all that jazz! I’m super exhausted today as I started a new job and couldn’t sleep due to nerves. I hope you like the drawing :).

Emily Jane x

If you like what you see please come and find me on my other platforms! 

Instagram: @emilyjaneillustrates

Twitter: @emilyjanedraws

Illustration of the Day

This is the second in the series I’m doing on the ownership of the female body and consent. I won’t say too much about this one as it’s pretty much following on from my previous illustration :). I’m trying to inspire women to take back control over their body. No man has a right to a female body, no matter what she is wearing or no matter how much skin she is showing.

I hope you like it!

Emily Jane x

If you like what you see please come and find me on my other platforms! 

Instagram: @emilyjaneillustrates

Twitter: @emilyjanedraws

Illustration of the Day: ‘Don’t Touch Us’

cactus-01

This illustration has been created in response to the notion of the male gaze and the belief that, within society, men can take ownership of a woman’s body in society. Woman are continually portrayed in the media through the eyes of the man – in a way in which they are shown as most attractive to men. In turn, this promotes the idea that men have a type of intangible ownership of the female body. This illustration hopes to deconstruct this concept and help women to take ownership & control of their own bodies!

Thanks for reading!

Emily Jane x

Illustration of the Day: Menstruation Dance

Menstruation has been on my mind recently, more than the usual five-of-the-month fiasco. I’ve been thinking about how ashamed women tend to be when they are on their period. Hiding tampons up their sleeves as they make their way from their desk to the toilet, from a seat in a restaurant to the toilet, from making their way from a lecture theatre to the toilet.

One of my most embarrassing memories to date was when I bumped into two of my bosses (male, of course). After saying hello I reached into my bag to hand to get my work keys and as I did a whole box of tampons fell out onto the street and spread around our feet. I tried to laugh it off, but I felt my cheeks starting to burn so I bolted to the ground and began to gather up the troops. At that point in time I was deeply embarrassed by this experience, especially since I barely spoke about periods unless it was with my close friends and mother. The fact that this happened in front of two men felt like I had committed some sort of crime. I will just say – that my two bosses laughed if off with me and didn’t care at all, but it was humiliating all the same.

Thinking back on this memory now I have a totally different perspective. Why on earth should any woman be ashamed of their period? From now on, I hope to try and represent menstruation throughout my illustrations in a small attempt to try and normalise the topic!

Thanks for reading!

 

Emily Jane x

Intersectional Feminism

I’ve been having many conversations recently about intersectional feminism and how important it is to acknowledge the hierarchies within feminism.

“I don’t see race/colour” is a phrase used by some white feminists. It shows how such women use their place or privilege to refute and deny the sufferings of women of colour & erasing their personal/cultural history.

There is no ‘one feminism fits all’.

Derp & Me

It’s a hard life. Especially when a little friend I like to call Derp (I’m not too sure why either) is there by your side, trying to guide you back into the darkness.

I don’t want to dwell too much into ‘my story’ and how Derp has affected me as I want this to focus more on the positives of overcoming Derp. How to kick it’s butt. But, before that I am going to dwell just a little bit. I hope that’s OK.

My story…

Here it is. The great story of Derp and I. If you hadn’t already guessed, Derp is what I call depression. It’s not a proper abbreviation, however I think it suits it pretty well. I’m too not too sure when I started to feel ‘down’ exactly, because before I realised I had a low mood I generally felt quite numb. Going through puberty and throughout my time at secondary school all I can remember is feeling a lot of nothingness. I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but I didn’t hate it either. It was a wishy-washy time for me. I was quite quiet, pretty unsure of myself, fairly anxious and lacked confidence. It was around this age that I started to develop disordered eating – not an eating disorder. Well, not quite yet. When I was 14 I started to count calories and restrict what I was eating. When I was 16(ish) my disordered eating started to turn into an eating disorder, as I used eating to try and help me cope with other things that were going on in my life. My eating disorder and Derp developed hand-in-hand together. They pushed me further and further along the path into darkness.

My parent’s relationship had been fairly rocky throughout my childhood. It worsened dramatically when myself and one of my younger sisters reached our teenage years. My parents eventually started the process of getting a divorce when I was 16. The years leading up to this, and the years after, were absolute hell. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now. It’s still very, very painful. As well as the divorce, when I was 14/15 years old I witnessed a man committing suicide. It happened right in front of me. I believe that these events, along with having low self-esteem and low self-confidence led me on a path of self-destruction and depression. It has been an on and off love/hate affair with Derp, and only recently have I managed to dig myself out of the darkest hole.

What I have learnt…

The first thing I have learnt about depression and how to tackle it is that you have to be proactive. Trust me when I say I know how hard this is. It is SO hard. The temptation to stay inside all day, to be by yourself, to sleep the day away is intense. I know. However, it is so important that you are active – for me I force myself to go on a walk, to go running, to do yoga, to see a friend, to go buy milk, to read a book, to write a list of chores to do and to complete it. It was small little movement that were accomplishments to me and keep me in touch with reality.

Next, it’s always a good idea to seek help. I have previously had counselling, spoken to a doctor and have sought after help from my local hospital for my eating disorder. Without seeing any of these people I probably wouldn’t be at the stage of clarity that I am at now. I put off seeing a doctor and getting antidepressants for a while, years in fact. But, I definitely recommend that you do research into the medication first as antidepressants can have a lot of side effects.

If you have someone that you feel comfortable talking to then confide in them. I am lucky enough to have a supportive family, a lovely best friend and an amazing boyfriend that I talk to whenever I feel down. However, it took me ages to admit to any of them about how low I was feeling. I believe the less you suppress your negative emotions, the better you become. Talking to people I loved has helped me tremendously. Allowing myself to be myself around these people has also helped a lot. Me and my boyfriend are always acting silly together and constantly making each other laugh.

I have learnt that doing positive actions helps to lift my mood. It’s very easy for me to cut myself off from my friends and family at times, but I find that giving a close friend or family a call helps to lift my spirits. Speaking to a homeless man, smiling at a stranger, paying someone a compliment, or sending a friend a card not only may put a smile on their face but has an overall positive affect on yourself. Trying to find small, kind things helps to push away the darker, negative thoughts/actions.

The Benefits of Being happy…

The benefits of being happy are pretty obvious, but I wanted to say a little more about what being happy can do for you. Being happy is worth it. It’s worth being able to smile and it’s worth being able to laugh, I mean REALLY laugh at jokes. Hell, it’s brilliant being about to make jokes. I love to sing (albeit not very good), to be silly and to connect with people. I found that the world is a more beautiful place and that I had things to be excited about. One huge difference about being happy is being able to think more clearly, having more creative ideas and having more motivation to get sh*t done!

It’s extremely tough and scary at times. I definitely still have down days but I feel that I have learnt techniques that allow me to fight back. I feel that Derp is always around, but I know that it’s temporary and if I’m proactive I can keep it locked away. If you are suffering with depression the number for the Samaritans is 116 123. Remember that you’re never alone & it really does get better. Be kind to yourself, you’re amazing and worth it.

Emily x

Plant Lady

This illustration: Plant Lady is a representation of a part of my personality. The part which associates with both feminism and nature. I do also have a lot of plants in my apartment. They add some colour.

I love to draw and represent women (mainly millennials as I am one so I can identify with them) in a way that demonstrates strength and tries to display the naked body in a non-sexualised way. I want to show women who stand proud and are comfortable with themselves even though they may defy strict beauty standards that are imposed on us.

The plants don’t make much sense – they’re not really supposed to. I just like plants. I guess it’s just trying to show that body hair is okay on any place on the body. Pubic hair is awesome. Nothing to be ashamed of.

‘Nuff said.

This is one of the first illustrations I have done digitally that I have been happy with – in terms of the face, composition and colours. I’m trying to do at least 3 illustrations a week (hopefully more) and I want to develop more of my own uniqueness to my drawings!

Emily x

 

 

Ambivalently Yours

The bold illustrator who goes by the name of, ‘Ambivalently Yours’ has become my latest obsession that falls under mental health, feminism and restoring confidence in those that have fallen into society’s trap of lacking self-worth. Seeing as such a lack of self-value is what helps to sell, right? Ambivalently Yours aims to change this through the use of uneven, something drawings that are organically use for activism against issues prevalent within society.

Ambivalently Yours embodies the emotions of many individuals and captivates them within the characters that are the stars of the art. A personal favourite is one named Anxiety Girl. The incohesiveness of the drawing resists the need for perfection within a drawing and this translates to the resistance of the perfectionism person.

Anxiety Girl

The transformation of what may be seen as a negative emotion has been captivated and transformed into one that can be used to empower women. Anxiety sucks, that’s for certain, but Ambivalently Yours shows the world that it doesn’t have to be something that we fight against. Anxiety doesn’t have to hold us back, we can still demolish the hierarchies that have been positioned to see ourselves as weak.

Using illustration as a creative outlet that fights against prejudice against mental illnesses, as well as the stigma that surrounds depression, self-harm, eating disorders etc. Ambivalently Yours helps to spread awareness and allows us to see those who suffer through a positive lens.

Another piece aims to reduce concern about body image that spreads amongst women, that may lead to disappointment, self-hatred and even disordered eating patterns. Ambivalently Yours dishes out sound advice: ‘less starving, more strutting’. Less worrying about what food you’re eating, or not eating, and more confidence in yourself.

Less

Ambivalently Yours has inspired me to want to make my own creations that aim to help other people, or anyone in general, who suffer with mental illnesses, confidence issues or topics that can be benefited by feminism.

Hopefully, these pretty pink drawings can help you on in your life, or at the least add some colour into your day. Make sure to check out Ambivalently Yours work:

Ambivalently Yours
http://ambivalentlyyours.tumblr.com/
IG: @ambivalentlyyours

Emily x