The answer to the question that we left off with in Part 2 is both simple and complex.
Pretty much everything that I have talked about in the first two parts of this blog post has nothing to do with my career or previous lack of direction in that area. I had to figure out what was holding me back this entire time before I had any chance of really moving forward and finding something I loved doing. My problem went a lot deeper than growing up sheltered and just developing insecurities in college. I had a real problem that needed to be addressed.
For most of my life I have felt like there was a huge weight on my shoulders. For some of that time, I had no idea what it was. Then, for several years I had a theory, but was too scared to address it. Now, I have not only addressed it, but feel very strongly in talking about it with the hopes that this might reach someone and they might not wait as long as I did to take care of it.
I was recently diagnosed with depression and an obsessive disorder for which I was prescribed Prozac a few months ago. Only more time will truly tell if my diagnosis is accurate and my prescription is appropriate, but I can say with certainty that I feel like a different person. Lamont has even referred to needing to get used to this new version of me. I am level-headed, happy and far less emotional than I was before.
The reason I am opening about this personal issue is this…. Around the time I was diagnosed I discovered The Pastry Box where different people share a thought for the day. It’s “sugar for the mind”. It just so happened that the day I discovered it, Cole Henley wrote about depression. It was a beautiful post where he wondered why, when 25% of people suffer from a mental health problem, is it so taboo to talk about. The reasoning he gave is because frailty is regarded as weakness. As he pointed out, this is not true and people need to know! I can attest to this. I feel stronger now than ever before. Ironically, I was weak not to address this problem sooner.
The way this relates to my career journey is that before this diagnosis, I was constantly getting in my own way. Now, I’ve stepped aside and honestly feel like the sky is the limit. It is really an amazing feeling. I can’t help but kick myself for not addressing this mental health problem sooner. However, wondering what could have been different is a waste of time and I’ve already done enough of that.
This is my third personal project on Illustrator. I’m trying very hard with all of my projects to create something personal, funny and hopefully smart. I could simply copy other designer’s work for the sake of gaining practice with the pen tool, but after everything I have learned about Graphic Design and what I love MOST about it, is that computer skills are the least important thing of all. The design, the concept and the context are by far more important. So, while I build on my computer skills, I’m trying to develop my design skills as well.
Since starting my medication, I have allowed myself to discover Graphic Design, begin creating and I have even lost 25 pounds. I’m running every morning and reading every night.
The elephant that was both in the room AND on top of my shoulders has been deflated.
UPDATE: As of this week, I have sent off an official contract for my first illustration job. It is a small diagram for an Oxford Press publication about the history of music. That’s not all, as I was writing this post I received an email from a friend sending me a potential client for a business card design.
I can’t wait to see what happens next! (i.e. packing up a bag + a husband and spending some time gaining experience in NYC maybe……???)
**If you read one or all three parts of this post, you are awesome! If you want to talk to me further about anything please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top image via Hunger TV