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Creating Life In Color

Jackie Gutierrez is a writer, photographer, musician, and web/graphic designer. Along with her creativity and passion to advocate for mental health, she also manages her own independent news source called Women Kick Balls where she documents women’s soccer in an authentic voice.

As a writer, journaling has always been one of my favorite ways to document my day or to clear my mind. Although writing comes naturally to me, I often found myself getting bored by just writing and not incorporating any other creative elements.

Like most women, I have a drawer of random things, which includes several unused journals that I’ve purchased from TJ Maxx (just because they’re cute). Several months ago, I pulled one out and was ready to start documenting my new journey in recovering from depression.

It was ironic that this journal had the phrase, “Say Yes To New Adventures,” embedded on the front because little did I know that this journal would help me in the wildest ways.

Journaling and Mental Health

Several years ago I entered into a pit of deep depression and it felt like I would never get out of it. My doctor also diagnosed me with Major Depressive Disorder and even that title felt very uncomfortable.

This season of dealing with depression was one of the most difficult experiences that I’ve gone through and it took some time before any progress was made. I’ve always heard people say that it’ll get easier or that there’s “A light at the end of the tunnel,” but I quickly began to believe that living in the darkness of this struggle was going to be my only reality.

What helped me to recover from my depression was journaling. I originally pulled out that journal from my drawer to document it with memories of my senior year of college, but quickly realized I could do so much more with it.

My journal has been a tool that I use to document my thoughts or paste photos using words to express what I’ve gone through. Sometimes I’ve sat with this journal at my desk for hours with tears streaming down my face from delayed mourning, laughter from seeing my ridiculous humor at work, and with many epiphanies that have been a joy to discover.

I’ve made this book my own with sections that are filled with photos to document personal memories, pages to see my goals lined out, places to write down my prayers, and tons of room to be able to express and see how my brain works in documenting what I’m going through.

Living In the Light

I once heard the expression that depression is like being color blind and constantly being told how colorful the world is. As someone who has gone through some of the darkest valleys in my mental health, I always related to that statement.

What I’ve also found to be true is the joy that comes in experiencing life in the light. Somehow the darkness that involves loss, emptiness, and much hurt is able to birth a new vision of fullness to a unique wisdom. In that wisdom I’ve been able to see the world in such vibrant colors that I didn’t even know existed.

Mental health has become such an important part of my story, but I’ve chosen to see it as an opportunity to grow. Through the pages of my journal I’ve learned so much about myself and can confidently say that I’m proud of how far I’ve come because the depths of my struggles are a reminder that the progress of life is beautiful.

I’m thankful for the beauty in the process of recovering and the opportunity to love life to the fullest because although I didn’t believe it for awhile, there is hope. Whether your world is filled with color or masked by the darkness of depression or any roadblocks in your mental health, I invite you to come along this journey of re-discovering beauty, seeking out hope, and living life in new colors.

Expressing Work With Life In Color

Whether you want to share creative works (and to whoever just read that and thought that they aren’t creative, yes, you definitely are), encourage someone, or ask questions, Life In Color is a place for others to be expressive with the end goal of encouraging and uplifting others who have or are currently struggling in areas of their mental health.

Submissions can also be made by those who don’t struggle in their mental health, but want to spread encouragement to others throughout their journey.

To submit content, please follow the steps on the Connect page.