We all are coping with our own stress on or own way. We feel small and weak sometimes but by helping each other we can get through anything. That is the goal of illustrator Kate Allan who was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder as an adult.
Even though she is fighting her battle with anxiety, she has been given the opportunity to use her artistic talent to help herself and others in the quest for improved mental health.
Allan has been using her creativity and what she’s learned since entering therapy, to create a mental health comics about mindfulness.
“Mindfulness can be useful for literally everyone, but I found it particularly helpful for anxiety—this exercise got me out of the house and functioning again.”
Each comic has a cute animal to soften the hard topic. Allan's 10-panel comic introduces not only mindfulness but tips on how it can help pinpoint emotions.
By noticing, acknowledging, and thinking through feelings, the practice emphasises that emotions are temporary and not part of our identity for example you are not sad, but you are experiencing the feeling of sadness at this moment which will eventually pass.
Through her charming presentations, Allan is able to treat this serious subject without judgment.
The mental health comic went viral after it was shared online. Through Allan's Redbubble shop, you can purchase it as wall art along with her animal affirmations. The illustrator also has a book titled You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression, now available on Amazon.
Read Allan’s interview with The Modern Met below.
“I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I was 25, which was badly needed—the validation of a condition I'd struggled with my entire life.”
How has making art helped?
“Making art is helpful on multiple fronts—writing affirmations helps counter my negativity, drawing colorful animals is therapeutic, and helping others is the most effective way I've found to break out of fogs of hopelessness.
“What inspired her to create the comics. I know not everyone has the privilege of seeing a good therapist. I also don't like the idea of mental health being behind a paywall. My hope is to make more art and comics detailing exercises that have gotten me through the darkest of times
“The response online It's been quite positive! I figured it would be something my followers would like—I didn't expect it to take off and be seen by millions of people. I hope it helps.
“I've spent a lot of effort and time managing my illnesses, and I want to continue to share what I find works for me. My motto is “the world will never have enough kindness or colorful art.””
This isn't your only work that deals with mental health. When did you start creating illustrations that addressed it?
“I started drawing comics to document my depression in 2014. Over time I came to realize that writing affirmations and pairing them with colorful animals helped me to heal.”
Do you come up with the powerful affirmations you pair with your colorful animals?
“Yes, I write it all myself. The way I come up with affirmations is through debating my negative mind and journaling. I carry paper with me everywhere just in case an argument stands out. The process is sort of like:
“Passing Thought: “You probably look weird right now.”
Me: “It's okay to be weird. No one is paying attention to me anyway.”
“I have a big notepad document with hundreds of these small arguments that I then pair with animals I draw.”
How have the words affected you?
“Learning to argue my thoughts like this and document subsequent affirmations has been one of the most fundamental parts of my mental health recovery.”