Drawing a Better Mindset: How Art Helps Through Life Struggles

It’s a personal belief that art is one of the most essential tools mankind has. Through different types of art, we can study ancient civilizations. By studying past art styles, we gain a better understanding of how past cultures were created. We can start drawing a better mindset of how these cultures lived and managed their own lives.

Additionally, we’re able to learn how to communicate. If you think about it, writing is just one squiggly line after another to create structured sentences for people to understand. I believe art is one of the biggest influences in all cultures, if not the biggest.

Furthermore, art can also help you through some of the hardest times of your life. Art is known for reducing stress, anger, and depression.  When using art to express how you feel you can create beautiful heartfelt masterpieces that can capture the attention of people around the world.

Did you know some of the most influential pieces of art were done by artists with mental illnesses? Even if you don’t know the names of the artists I will be reviewing, I’m positive you’ve seen some of their masterpieces through social media, in school textbooks, or maybe graffitied on a wall. Sometimes a spark of madness can create inspiration for millions of people for many years.

Everyone Has an Artistic Side

It’s true, everyone has an artistic side even if some people believe they do not. The truth is, anyone can pick up anything that can make a mark and create something. Remember the saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Well, that goes for art as well.

You might think your art is ugly or unworthy to be shared with the people around you. However, someone might see your artwork and think it’s beautiful and inspiring. Granted, there are people born with a natural talent for art, but they too must practice mastering their skills.

Don’t be intimidated by the art you believe to be better than your own. Self-doubt often leads to not trying or giving up. Try to catch your thoughts and redirect them by thinking positive thoughts like “through practice, I will become better” or “I have my own unique style, which is beautiful to me.” Catching negative thoughts as they come is a great habit to get into.

However, even though everyone has a creative side, it can still be challenging to find the motivation or desire to create something. The good news is, that there are ways to overcome these challenges. The bad news is, that you’re going to have to muster up the effort if you truly want to gain the inspiration to create your own masterpiece.

Gaining Motivation

For example, going to a museum or art fair could spark your interest and give you the motivation you may have needed to start on your journey to find your own art style. Going to places like these allows you to connect to like-minded people who can provide you with advice. It’s a great way to meet new friends who share the same interest and to really take in the beauty of the pieces on display.

Another way you can gain inspiration is by getting connected on social media and following artists you enjoy, you can even send them messages asking them about art. Many individuals enjoy giving feedback to those who enjoy their art style.

Lastly, sometimes, all you need to spark the motivation is to just start drawing, and the motivation will come on its own. I’ve learned through trial and error that putting things off only prolongs the desire to do something and sometimes can burn the desire entirely out. Stop putting your interests on hold, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish if you just go ahead and start.

Famous Artists Who Also Suffered from Mental Illnesses

There have been many artists throughout the years who have created beautiful masterpieces that have captivated the world with the stroke of a brush, quill, pencil, etc.

Some of the most well-known pieces of art have been created by artists who also struggled with mental illnesses.

According to brains.org, Michelangelo, the famous painter who is well-known for his painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, was believed to have depression and bipolar disorder.

Another well-known artist, who many people know for his famous painting, The Scream, Edvard Munch, suffered from hallucinations, anxiety, and nervous breakdowns. Munch sought therapeutic help to help him through his darkest times.

Lastly, Vincent Van Gogh, the famous artist who cut off a part of his ear, suffered from epileptic seizures, depression, and manic bursts. Sadly, he took his own life at the age of 37. The complete list of 10 famous painters is on Brains.org if you would like to check the rest of them out.

These artists changed the world with their art while battling their own minds. They inspired the world for many generations and will continue to inspire the generations to come. Don’t let depression, anxiety, bipolar, psychosis, etc…. control you. Use it to your advantage to create beautiful works of art that could possibly one day become a legend. Living with a mental illness is ugly, but using it as fuel for creativity could create a beautiful masterpiece.

My Personal Journey with Using Art to Help with My Own Mental Struggles

From a very young age, I’ve known the darker side of life, due to going through various abusive situations, that no child should ever have to endure. I didn’t know how to handle the pain on the inside, so I turned to self-harm in my teenage years to numb the pain inside.

Unfortunately, I used to cut myself to escape the mental torment I was going through. I rather physically hurt than hurt mentally. However, my grandmother found out I was cutting my wrist when my brother and I were sent to live with her after being taken away from our mother.

Shortly after my grandmother found out my secret, I was sent to live in facilities for a total of 5 years. Though I will admit, it was my fault I wasn’t released from the hospital sooner. I acted out and lashed at everyone that tried to help me. By acting out, I caused my stay in the facilities to be longer than the first 3 months.

I felt alone, hurt, and betrayed. Most of all, I didn’t understand why life kept putting me through hell. I was angry at the world. Though, now, I look back and realize my grandmother was doing what she felt was best for me at that time. I couldn’t imagine where I would be if she didn’t send me away to get help. Honestly, I would probably be dead. I’m thankful she did what she did, even though it wasn’t easy for anyone involved.

While living in and out of different behavioral hospitals, I learned how to manage my emotions through various coping tools like reading, writing poetry, playing the guitar (kind of ha-ha), and drawing.

Drawing has always been one of my favorite ways to stop thinking about things beyond my control and focus on something productive. I honestly thought my drawings were awful, but I enjoyed drawing, so I kept practicing.

Eventually, my art style became more detailed and defined. I learned different techniques and methods through trial and error. Most of all, I didn’t give up or let negative thinking stop me from something I enjoyed.

In 2014, I was sent to one of the facilities I had spent my teenage years in. I was not admitted due to self-harm this time, but from my mind snapping from all the things I had been through in life.

I was 22 when I went back, though I couldn’t remember any of the doctors, nurses, or staff members that knew me. I couldn’t even recognize my own mother, brother, or roommates at the time. I was hospitalized for three months, while the adult unit ran tests on me and used therapy to regain my mental state of mind.

Keep in mind, that I was not on any type of drug when my mind snapped. I was terrified of drugs, due to my brothers and I being taken away from our mother. I simply overstressed and went into a deep psychosis. If you get the chance, I wrote an article on the dangers of stress and how to reduce stress in your life, if you would like to read more on that topic.

Luckily, I was able to pull myself out of whatever trance I was in. The best way to describe it is; that you’re sitting back in your mind watching yourself do these crazy things, and you’re trying to tell yourself this isn’t right, but your mind and body keep reacting in absurd ways. Like you’re not in control of your own body. It was the scariest thing I had ever experienced in my life.

I remember drawing in the dayroom a lot. It kept my anxiety and depression down, from being back in a place I thought I would never return to.

As you can see, art has helped me in the toughest times in my life. I’m not saying it will cure your depression or fix your anxiety. However, if you let it, it can be an excellent outlet for when life becomes overbearing.

Keep Practicing

Down below are four pictures I drew, two are from 2013, and the other two are from 2019. As you can tell, with patience and practice, the art continues to grow and change. I’m still learning new skills and developing my own art style, I’m glad I didn’t throw my hands up and stop trying. If I had done that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now with my sketches.

If you love drawing and feel as if you can’t draw or are not very artistic just keep practicing. You and your art will continue to grow.


As you can see, art can help with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and many other mental illnesses. Furthermore, many well-known artists were able to use their own mental struggles to create captivating masterpieces that changed the world. You can overcome any battle with the determination and desire to do so. Art and creativity can help you on your journey to self-healing. Even if you don’t become a famous artist, art has many beneficial factors.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this post.



Website TitleBrainz

Article Title10 Great Painters Who Were Mentally Disturbed

Date Accessed March 14, 2019

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