Mimi Holden

2020-2021 All Exhibitions Thesis 2021

Class of 2021
Art + Design/ English

Seeking Help

I made this series as a continuation of some self-portraiture I started about a year ago. Where those pieces were more general these have a focus toward my mental health. I was told by my high school counselor (6-7 years ago now) that I was bipolar and possibly even borderline, but initially I had just brushed that off and ignored it. Through most of college, however, I have started to grapple with that more and have learned to understand myself better through those lenses. I found I frequently felt isolated when talking to friends who suffered from severe depression and/or anxiety. Mine was never quite like theirs was and I felt I was failing to be understood or heard.

These portraits focus on the moments where I sink into myself and admittedly spiral a little. I find I can feel lonely and empty when thoughts like those written on the portraits cross my mind and especially if and when I zero in on one of those thoughts. One small, negative phrase can plague me and follow me around for days. I feel I’m constantly battling with things like, “why can’t you just do this like everyone else? What’s wrong with you?”. In my adult life I have yet to seek out a mental health professional, I have not been in therapy and nor have I been medicated. This is not because I don’t want the help but rather because I’ve been too ashamed of the way my brain works. I’ve been too ashamed to tell family and others close to me how I think or feel and I would have to. I’ve been too ashamed to tell loved ones how much I struggle with my own head. My hope is that in making and openly showcasing moments where my mind scares me it will help me take the proper steps in asking those closest to me to understand and support me in pursuing professional help.