Art As A Depression Missile

I was desperate to make my free-time count. Investing in myself seemed selfish until I remembered that by doing this I would be giving my daughter the ultimate gift- an example.


Sarah Heidinger Photography
My biggest shock about becoming a mother was the (temporary) loss of identity. I’ve written plenty of posts about it (most of them don’t quite articulate my experiences as well as I would like).
My life had been interesting but I felt like a drifter...I had a Masters degree and a 'useful' thesis on how the cult of celebrity influences trends. I had a passport proudly filled with stamps, a catalogue of interesting job titles and I moved my entire life to Australia for love. Sounds pretty cool right? Well, when I became a Mother the little patchwork of a life got obliterated.

I no longer had the time and freedom I once took for granted. How could I be a Mom and still be me?
Combine an identity crisis with lack of sleep, unstable hormones, loss of confidence and you have the perfect recipe for depression. Yup. And to make matters worse (or better, depending on how you look at it) I decided to publicly journal my feelings in a blog. Hello I’m a vulnerable little flower *cower*
Luckily I received the opposite of boot-prints and rather instant support in the form of messages, calls, emails lots of people saying 'me too!' Even my husband received messages from his friends to see if we were okay. This was humbling and motivating. 
Writing was one of my neglected loves and resurrecting it proved to be more than a useful outlet. As soon as I was able to write honestly and let go of my crippling perfectionism I could process how I felt and let the healing process begin.
I continued down the dusty path of my dormant hobbies nurturing them them one by one. Once my love for art bloomed so did my interest in design, photography and crafting. I started taking a few online classes, reading books, watching tutorials (you can learn so much for free!)

I was desperate to make my free-time count. Investing in myself seemed selfish until I remembered that by doing this I would be giving my daughter the ultimate gift- an example. Following my interests and rediscovering my passion turned into a business, a mission, something that makes me feel happy and fulfilled.

Art in all it’s forms is an expression of our identity and personality. It does not matter if we make it, hang it, or view it——> this is fuel for growth. I want to help others (re)discover their identity through art and creativity.

I'm working on a few projects that will help show others how I went from a confused, depressed, new mother to a person both my daughter and I can be proud of.

I don't intend to write a self-help book or a how-to manual. My hope is that by sharing my story and some of the tools I've used may spark some inspiration or show you the first signpost for your own authentic quest.

Help me help you- what would you like to hear about most?

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2 comments on “Art As A Depression Missile”

  1. Hi Dawn, as a mother of three (youngest turns three next week! - last frontier - no more nappies!!!) I struggle with time. My two older ones are at school and my youngest goes to day care for two days a week. But they are my work days (I am a freelance writer). Part of my freelance work feeds in to what you speak of in this post - feeding your passion and creativity, but often I have to do the work that just pays the bills (rather than feeds the passion). So I'd love to hear how you find the time to feed your other passions. I want to learn to sew as I have my Mum's sewing machine just sitting in a box in the cupboard (she was going to show me how to use it, but then she got sick and passed away), I have a beautiful DSLR which I don't really know how to use, and beautiful art supplies (from my past life) that barely see the light of day. If you could share some tips on how you find the time/space to feed these passions I'd love to hear about that. : )

  2. Collette- Congrats on the elimination of nappies!!! (No pun intended) You bring up a fantastic point and it’s definitely one I struggle with a lot. Over the last few months while I was working on business stuff; my online store, blog admin ect., I kind of forgot to carve out some time to myself. I think it’s because my work is creative and fulfilling (like you with your freelance writing). The real challenge is taking the time necessary to ‘refuel the tank’ every once in a while. We need to experience the things in life that make us want to create in the first place- whether that’s cloud-gazing, a yoga class, an art exhibition or scheduling an hour to dust off that sewing machine (I have the same issue! My Mother-in-law lent me her old one two years ago and it’s still in it’s box.) I need to revamp some of my time management strategies in 2016 and I will definitely keep you posted (I should probably do that sooner rather than later). One little thing my husband and I do is take turns with our daughter on weekends. We each get to do one thing for ourselves even if it’s a gym session for him and an afternoon of painting for me (granted it may be more of a challenge with 3 kiddos, we only have one at the moment). The trade-off is that he and I have less time together but I feel it’s worth it. And if all else fails at least you have Kinder to look forward to. Haha! xoxo

let's hang on the 'gram
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Dawn Rieniets is both a visual artist and brand copywriter. She uses her MA in English, journalism and sales background to craft engaging brand identity copy for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) globally.

Dawn exhibits artwork independently and with groups; Thou Art Mum and Melbourne and Victorian Artists (MAVA). In her online store, you can find original pieces, wall art prints, and other home decor. A few times per year she accepted personalised and sentimental art commissions for clients.

Dawn creates out of her home studio in Wurundjeri country, the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne.
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