Blog entry

Creativity 103: Digital Detox & Overcoming Depression and Anxiety

Kennedy Art Gallery

Just saying … a dream has come true for me, but I needed courage related to my own recovery and wellness to make it happen! I woke up September 8, 2018, knowing it was a birthday, but also knowing that the Sacramento community was going to start visiting art galleries later in the day as it was Second Saturday. Unbeknownst to them, they were part of my birthday!

The owner and founder of the Kennedy Art Gallery had accepted two of my photographs into one of his monthly exhibits, “Feathers and Tails-Artfully Celebrating the Whimsy of Our Animal Friends”. He explained the purpose of his gallery – founded to assist people of color, women and others who would not otherwise be accepted into other area galleries. This mission was based on his experience of being part of a gallery that was not so accepting of difference!

My mission was to experience less depression and anxiety as I was using digital devices for socializing and “likes” of my photographs and art. I wanted to leave the device screens, and meet and talk with people and other artists face-to-face because in Orianna Fielding’s book, The Essential Digital Detox Plan: How to achieve balance in a digital world, she states

“Studies have shown that digital overconnectivity can also be responsible for causing symptoms of depression and social anxiety, thanks to the lack of real human communication” (Fielding, p. 6, 2017).

My birthday goal was to talk with the face-to-face community and other gallery artists. I was looking to take back my creative identity! I wanted to be a part of their community as an artist and/or creative. Fielding continues with a digital detox plan,

“Changing to a “to be” list: 7 FaceTime: the analogue version.
As human beings, we have a primal need to touch and feel and connect in a real way. We must remember that within us is a fundamental human desire to feel emotion face-to-face and not just through a digital filter. It is important to engage our five sense again and start to touch things other than a digital device. We thrive on facial feedback, as emotionally this gives us a sense of wellbeing through oxytocin being released by the brain. We need to stop finding ways, through digital distraction, to avoid physical contact” (Fielding, p. 91, 2017).

Overcoming depression and anxiety was easy, as the owner welcomed me, not knowing I had walked around the block several times before arriving at the gallery event. I went in, knowing from my earlier visit, that he had posted my photographs in a prominent position – in the lobby for those to see just as you walked into the gallery. I found and spoke with most of the artists who were exhibiting and then I bailed to the outside and found a husband of one of the resident artist. He was encouraging and helpful. I went to his wife who read my tarot card – ‘enough’ was the card which she said meant, “You have what it took to be where you are … You could do this as you are enough!”

Her husband taught me how to greet people and get them to enter the gallery! One community member stopped, and then I started to talk to her. She was learning to be an art teacher of students with disabilities. She went in! I followed shortly and sat by photographs. The future teacher saw my photographs, and said, “Beautiful! You will have no problem being liked and accepted“. One artist sat with me, and told me she was stressing over no one viewing her cat painting! The owner sat with me and told me that people were looking and often came back later in the weeks to purchase. Finally, a plein air artist sat and talked as she noticed I had begun describing my photographs to patrons who stopped and looked at my photographs. The artists kept saying, “You are one of us, now.”

Overall, the day and night were full of encouragement and acceptance. They started teaching me the ins and outs of gallery life …. I was told to not give up and keep trying, practicing, and coming back. I felt good about my courage and wellness goal. I was glad I had followed my own recovery mantra because … it’s all about that hope!

Reference

Banks, O. F., & Banks, O. F. (2017). The essential digital detox plan: How to achieve balance in a digital world. London: Carlton Books.

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