I write this letter in the early hours of the morning thinking if my words help one person then that is something.
Often I wish I could exchange my mind for another one, a spotless one that is seeped in eternal sunshine, instead of the dented one that feels chronically polluted. But this is the mind that I have and I know that there is good within it, in the paintings that I create, the poems that bubble and grow out of the debris.
To dispel the blocks of mental rubbish that clog up my brain I have started a happy book, which is small and easy to carry. It contains drawings and paintings and upon each new page I date it and write my achievements of the day, such as ‘read book to my child’, ‘watered the plants’, ‘worked on painting’, ‘went to the post office’, and these little moments build up to create a picture of my day that is contrary to the one in my head. These small moments help to remind me of who I am and where I am going and what I hope to achieve and do, they keep me anchored to the present.
The mind can become a suffocating prison without a ‘tent of blue’ to peer out of, I choose to unlock the door and walk out of that prison towards the meadows, towards the light and lie down in the grass, look up at the sky, see the shapes in the clouds or the patterns in the stars and dream that life can get better, if I let it. Indeed, it can, if only a tiny bit – a tiny bit is something to cherish.
Please don’t feel stuck in the darkness, I know what it’s like; you are not alone. May your life get that little bit brighter, I believe that it can and it will.
You have to look at each day like a new canvas and decide the painting you want your day to be rather than paint the same old dark picture that just compounds that sense of doom, gloom and hopelessness. You have to choose the colours you want your painting to be even if your default stance is to go for morose shades of grey and black. There are flecks of light and colour in each day, tiny ones like a bright ochre, or a crimson scarlet. These iridescent colours shine and smile out at us all. They are friendly and warm. These colours can guide you towards a brighter place and help you paint a different sort of painting. A painting that when you look at it speaks to you like an old friend, inspires, comforts and stirs something deep inside, you just have to open your eyes a little wider and let those colours in.
Take good care of yourself, be kind to yourself, be your number one ally, and keep searching for that fleck of light sleeping in the shadows. It is there, I can see that tiny fleck right now – put it in your pocket and cherish it.
From Q.S.Lam (Author of ’Schizophrenics Can Be Good Mothers Too’)