About the Anxious Artist

Louise Hughes, also known as The Anxious Artist, is an artist and writer out of Colorado where she lives with her husband, children and various and sundry animals. When she isn’t doing the mom thing and the running the household thing, she is illustrating and writing for a game business she helped develop and writes and manages The Anxious Artist page. She is also on a lifelong crusade to explore ways to manage her mental health through alternative and conventional means.

I have thought about how to start this maybe a hundred times. I have started writing it in my head half a hundred more. It basically boiled down to ripping the band-aid off; taking the plunge; making the leap…you get the idea.

So…Hello, my name is Louise Hughes. I am the Anxious Artist and I am bi-polar.

Now, Where to Go From Here?

Let’s see…I have been alternately anxious, depressed or a combination of both for as far back as I can remember clearly. I was an anxious kid who turned into an anxious and depressed teenager, who turned into a manically anxious and depressed adult. Bi-polar is just the latest label in a list of psychological classifications: depression, then anxiety, then manic-depression, then post partem depression, P.T.S.D., then back to the depression/anxiety thing before settling in on bi-polar. Each new diagnosis was accompanied with a new prescription. Many of you out there are nodding your head. You know. You’ve been there. I can hear a quiet hum of “Yes!”

A few years ago, my mental health journey took a cosmically “screw you” turn. That was the thought at the time, anyway. I was coping along nicely on my current medication when it up and said, “Nope!” and started wrecking my physical health; think heart problems. Not good. What happened next was an odyssey of emotional trauma and health issues that led me down an alternative medicine path.

From Medication to Alternative Treatments

Because my medication was messing with a vital organ, it meant that I needed to get off of the drug quickly. It was not a medication meant to be stopped quickly. What usually would take 6 months to 2 years to wean off of was done in 6 weeks. Having had a similar situation with a birth control pill two years prior, I was sick of medications messing with me. I got stubborn. I dug in and refused the medications they offered to ease getting off the medication that was messing with me. Anyone else see the irony there?

The medication was mean. It really didn’t want to release its claws. Ayurvedic medicine significantly helped with the physical withdrawal symptoms, but my emotions couldn’t find a place to land. I was all over the place; zinging from one emotion to the next, sometimes in a matter of seconds. Within three months, I was non-functional.

With the help of my husband, we found a whole-health center that offered alternative treatments for mental health and I went through my first ever battery of psychological testing. Up until that point, I had relied on my general practitioners. However, my hope for some kind of herbal medicine fix was short-lived. I walked out of my first appointment with a new diagnosis, a new medication and a series of appointments with allergists, nutritionists, etc. To say I was angry would be akin to telling a parent that a pocket nuke is not a safe children’s toy. Understatement doesn’t cut it. I came for alternative solutions and I walked out with another medication.

But, there was a promise of finding other solutions and a promise of weaning down the medication or even off of it. That was new so I decided to fill the prescription. A mere three days brought me some emotional relief and the appointments gave me hope.

My Journey Forward

There was a sense of clarity that underscored just how numb and clouded my prior medications had made me. I had to relearn how to feel. Every emotion was raw. Any sense of control I thought I had effectively flipped me the bird, but I had set myself on a path to find solutions. I had always been interested in holistic and alternative medicine, nutrition and the like so it seemed natural (no pun intended) to move in that direction.

You might be thinking I turned into a health nut, right? I do all of that green juice smoothies every morning, yoga and a 5 mile run each day, right? OK, just…just give me a minute. I’m laughing so hard I gotta pee! So…seriously…the answer is no. I’m just not that Zen.

What I am is a student. I have learned so much about the alternative treatments available for people who suffer from mental illness. I have learned some of what works for me and some of what doesn’t. I am still learning. I don’t have it all figured out; haven’t stumbled on the magic mana that wipes the anxiety away; haven’t had a swig of the elusive happy juice that makes you jump out of bed each morning, excited for the new day.

What I have found is an ounce of grace for myself. I have found methods of treatment that have helped me have more good days than bad. I have found hope in this journey I am on. And that is what I want more than anything with this site; I want it to be a place of hope.

And there you go, in a nutshell…the life and times of me. Now it is time to focus on you.

Hello, my name is Louise Hughes. I am the Anxious Artist and I am so very pleased to meet you!

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While the articles are written to inform, entertain and support those who visit the site, the Anxious Artist is not a licensed medical professional and the information on these pages is not intended to replace regular medical care. Research and testimonials may show promising results with alternative treatments for mental illness, but these should always be discussed with a qualified medical practitioner before being implemented.

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