Tackling Anxiety One Painting At A Time

by Aug 9, 2020Angsty Tales0 comments


“Welp, here we go” is how I used to start my mornings. I woke up at 5:30 am every morning and drove to my teaching job that was hours away from home.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved teaching science to my middle schoolers. But I realized I gave more of myself to my students than I did to my children. And that reality sucked, causing stress and anxiety. Many nights I would get home just after the kids were off to bed. Then I spent a little time with my husband before crashing on the couch.

smiling through anxiety and angsty

After working an exhausting job for over a year, I was anxious all of the time. I could never relax and always waited for the next shoe to drop. Waiting to put out the next fire at work, or panic when I forgot to submit my attendance on time. I was angsty and it felt like my skin was crawling.

On top of that, I was spending too much time away from my family. I only saw them for a couple of hours a day, if I was lucky. I missed seeing Penny transition into pre-school and seeing Connor Lee achieve milestones along his autism journey. I missed spending time with the person I love the most, my husband.

What Now?

I felt like an empty battery that returned home at 10% every night, which made me even more angsty. And I never allowed myself to recharge before giving more of myself again, which allowed my anxiety to wreak havoc on my life. I realized I needed to do something to prevent the mental downward spiral I was quickly approaching.

So I resigned from my teaching position and got a new job that gave me the freedom to spend more time with my family and focus on my mental health.

One day, I decided to go to a craft store to purchase some acrylic paint, paintbrushes, and a 6-pack of value canvasses. I had no idea what I wanted to draw or paint, as it had been years since I sketched or painted anything. Our family is really into anime, so I decided to search for simple images I could first draw, then eventually paint when I worked up the nerve.

First Project, Let’s Go!

I chose Tobi from Naruto, and this simple project soon turned into a five-month-long project. I was in my head way too much and was second-guessing myself at every turn.

“What if it doesn’t look right? What will other people think when they see it? Is it even good?” I felt so ridiculous for thinking I could do this in the first place, so into the closet the canvas went.

For 5 whole months, I noped out of the entire situation and entered a dark space.

outline sketch of anime character, drawing through anxiety and angsty

Let’s Get Back To Work

Then one day, I snapped out of it. I took the canvas out of the closet (finally!), grabbed my paint toolbox, and just went with it. Once I actually started painting, my mind went quiet for the first time in months and I felt focused and able to breathe.

I’m not sure if that makes sense, but to someone as angsty as myself, it feels like I can’t breathe when I’m anxious. Like everything is closing in on me. These feelings dissipated with each paint stroke, and I instantly knew this would work. This is how I will handle those claustrophobic and overwhelming moments that prevented me from functioning. I was tackling anxiety one painting at a time.

What came next was pretty amazing.

I finished the painting!

paint with angst

And I didn’t stop there!

I kept pushing myself and the boundaries of my creativity. I knew I started identifying aspects of my technique that I wanted to improve, like straight lines, or drawing circles. Or even simple things, like how to hold a paintbrush, especially in a way that accommodates my hand injury (that is a story for another post).

Nonetheless, I saw a picture online that I knew would be very difficult for me, but I went all in. The result was “Planet Bouquet”.

planet bouquet painting

This is when I knew I was ready to embark on a new path in my life. One that my entire family could embrace together.

Angsty By Nature Was Born

Soon, painting became a sort of addiction to me. I struggled with that initially, but I decided that there are worse things to become addicted to, and I kept painting. I tackled project after project, and my confidence grew with every painting.  I knew I wanted to keep painting, especially since it was helping me overcome my anxiety.

My husband Rick is an angsty person too, and I would catch him looking over my shoulder while I painted. He built up the courage to start painting and now produces the most beautiful art that you will so throughout this site. And when we started sharing our art with family and friends, they actually liked it! Many people wanted to purchase paintings for themselves, and we quickly found that recreating art is not only time consuming, but also technically challenging. So we settled on a neutral method to share our art with the world through our Angsty Art Shop.

So Here We Are

And so now we are all caught up! We have so many creative things and angsty moments that we want to share with you, especially when you are having one of those days. We are goofy and experience hilarious situations daily in between our individual moments of angst. We are constantly taking on new projects to relieve anxiety along the way, so check-in for updates!

You can follow us on Instagram for the latest updates on art, and also random hilarity that ensues. If you are angsty too, and you know what I mean if you are, you should consider joining our tribe!


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