February 10, 2012

Fearless Friends in Art Guest Blogger Series- JJ SOBEY!!!

Hello everyone and welcome to my first post for the Fearless Friends in Art Guest Blogger Series. After going to CHA this past month, I came home with a renewed sense of self. A sense of knowing that there are so many artists out there that are good, real people. The type of people that you WANT to know, WANT to help and WANT in your life.

I couldn't ask for a sweeter, more genuine artist than JJ Sobey for this first post and considering what my guest post on Dawn's blog was about yesterday, I know this post is meant to be.JJ and I (we both believe) were separated at birth lol. Please take a moment and add this amazing artist to your reader, blog roll or network blogs list. Without further adieu, My first guest blogger... JJ Sobey!!!

When Erika asked me to do a guest post on her blog, I was flattered (immensely). I started planning a project to show to everyone here today, and wondering what I would talk about. Then it hit me on Thursday (about 6 hours before I was due to send her my post) that perhaps I needed to go in a different direction.

We need to talk.

The words creative and artistic scare the crap out of me. My teen years were my most creative time – I sang, played piano, wrote music, wrote short stories, wrote plays, was in theatre, and the list goes on. But it was also a very dark time for me – I was fighting a deep depression through all of it.

It took a long time and medical intervention to come out of it. And at the same time I took it into my head that the creativity was part of the problem. I felt that if I shut it out of my life, I would have more of a chance to get out of my depression. So I stopped being creative. I turned my back on the arts, and tried to ignore the creative urges. And I succeeded for a while, and I thought (mistakenly - I was in my early 20’s), that this was what made things ‘better’.

It didn’t make it ‘better’, by the way. Medication for the chemical imbalance in my brain is what made it better. I was lucky though – I was one of the ones who didn’t have to remain on it for the rest of my life.

For years, every time someone ‘accused’ me of being creative, I got nervous. I wondered if they saw signs, which I hadn’t yet recognized, of a returning depression. I would back off from the ‘creative’ activity, and try to hide from art. I would deny that I was creative – it felt like a sentence, not a compliment. Like it was something I should be ashamed of. I feared art.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is something that I struggle with every winter, and it’s just as real as other forms of depression. And it’s hard. Because when I start to feel more creative in the winter, I fear that the full-blown, not-going-to-go-away depression is coming back.

I’m trying very hard to come to terms with being an artist. I’m trying to own it. But it scares the hell out of me – I have so much baggage associated with that word.

Over the past year, I have discovered that I am not alone. Many, many creative people deal with depression – creativity is sometimes a symptom of the depression itself. For many, to receive that creativity means having to also take the depression that brought it on. I now realize that the creativity is not the cause, but the result, and perhaps it’s the universe’s way of compensating a little bit for the pain.

So why did I feel the need to bring this up today? Most people won’t ask for help even though asking for help is not a sign of weakness – it’s courageous; and often those who refuse to ask, are the ones who need it most. But we don’t talk about this – there’s a stigma attached to it, for some strange reason.

We, as artists, and crafters, and mothers, and sisters, and daughters and friends, we need to talk about this. Because you may be surprised just how many people you already know, who are going through this in silence. Embrace their art, and then embrace the person who created it – they might really need your support, but will never ask.

If you’ve made it this far – thank you for reading! Feel free to come visit my blog – I promise that I don’t get on my soapbox very often. J

One Good Thing

Supplies for the layout:

CS – Bazzill
Glimmer mist, glimmer glam, glimmer glaze – Tattered Angels
Gesso – Liquitex
Flowers, trims – Green Tara
Grungeboard, washers, tiny brads – Tim Holtz
Chipboard – Riff Raff
Corrugated letters – Jillibean Soup
Marker – Faber-Castell PITT pen
Other – dictionary paper


  1. Very useful post for knowledge of such depression. It is important to share! thanks! very nice work!

  2. your work is awesome and glad to haer things are much better~don't ever stop creating, for me I have to create!

  3. Lovely post! For me being creative does help during those times when nothing else can and it is the best therapy! Have a great weekend!

  4. So glad to hear you are trying to own you creativity, loved all the details on your project page. My depression comes more in the way of general living getting in the way of my creativity.

  5. Hey, soapboxes are good things. Lovely layout!


  6. Beautiful post. Thanks for the honest, clear, understanding words. Connecting the dots.

  7. Your art is so beautiful and I am glad you are finding courage and support. So much beautiful art has been created by people working through pain and darkness and I feel for you and your perseverance. Please keep creating and I hope it can help you get through.

  8. Sweetie this is a wonderful post...I would love to hug you and Erika for being brave enough to share.
    I also deal with a seasonal and environmental form of depression,(I have shared the last couple years) so glad to see so many supportive crafters .
    I really wish there was a group where many of us could share what works for us and support others that haven't had experience/support dealing with it.
    THANK YOU to both of you you are both real angels.

  9. JJ thanks for art as well as your enlightening story

  10. Thanks for sharing your art and your heart. I'm so glad to find you and your work here because of Erika's guest feature. Hope you both have a fantasmagorical weekend!

  11. Beautiful page---love how creative and artistic it is....and you are. Love your wonderful words as much as your art!

  12. PS: I am sure this post will touch so many and make them feel less alone. Thanks for being brave enough to speak your feelings.

  13. Great color tones on this layout!!

  14. Thank you JJ for sharing your story! Absolutely touching and love love love love your lo!! So FABULOUS!

  15. JJ---thank you so much for sharing a story that has touched me deeply. Your words describe me to a "T". Your layout is gorgeous--love the details and all the texture. It's WONDERFUL!

  16. Thank you for sharing your story. You are creative and beautiful!

  17. Thank you for sharing your story. It is a very personal thing you share but something that does affect so many people.

  18. So nice to meet you JJ. Thank you for your beautiful project and being open an honest about your illness. I am sure it will touch many and make THEM realize they are not alone either.

    True :D

  19. JJ, having delt with depression for years I know how hard it is to talk about, especially as it relates to art. Thank you for sharing, your layout is wonderful & your bravery is much appreciated.

    Thank you Erika for introducing us to JJ, you are both people I'd like to know better.

    God bless both of you, Laura

  20. I love how honest and open you are in your post! This is amazingly refreshing and so true! Thank you for allowing us to see your creative spirit and fears! Wonderful page!


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