“Outgrowing Stigma & Protecting Your Light” is the icon Heidi Hansen created for Mental Health Awareness month in Vancouver, Washington. Also created for this important awareness time is her song for persons of mental illness, “Friend’s Lullaby,” posted on YouTube, and here, with lyrics to sing along with.
Here’s “Friend’s Lullaby set to the artwork of Heidi Hansen:
Counselor’s notes: People often ask me about the song. Who am I singing to? Let’s back up a second — when people are in the thick of mental illness, and one’s days revolve around managing and surviving symptoms, navigating mental health services, and the losses inherent in relationship with family, friends and work and community — (whew! Tired yet?) a person can easily lose their sense of Self. Their identity. Their identity smudges into their diagnosis. Mental illness at its zenith is that absorbing. It is so important in recovery to regain your own personal, unique Self that only you know truly and can shape and define intimately. So, this song is about the hope of getting to that place where your Self is visible to you. And it’s a “hello, there you are” moment in recovery that needs to curated and expanded onward. That’s who this song is sung to, the Self of the person who has lost their identity to mental illness, and can surely get it back. Different, perhaps very different, but a treasure worth all that work of honing hope as a concrete skill set.
About the icon, Outgrowing Stigma & Protecting Your Light — this is a painting of what I see as a symbol of the process of recovering from mental illness and claiming one’s right to a quality of life while living with mental illness. I painted this on a 4′ x 2′ piece of recycled formica countertop with acrylic paint. Metaphorically, the buds that emerge from the swirls of adversity and struggle to survive symptoms are scrolls of blank paper, representing your ownership over the narrative of your relationship with mental illness and owning the narrative of your recovery. Stigma will hold us back, and the light we have in ourselves is occluded by how judgemental and controlling others can be when they are not the expert on your mental illness. Advocate for your own light, your own boundaries, your own opinions on your illness and recovery. Your light is yours, not anyone else’s. You and your own potential and how you want to be on the quality for life spectrum, using your unique recovery as skills and gifts to bring to the canvas which lays waiting for your own creative process. Only you own that light, only you can truly protect and curate it.
To purchase an 8 x 10 print of “Outgrowing Stigma & Protecting Your Light,” use the Paypal button provided here after contacting Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order. Prints are professionally crafted using heavy poster paper and signed and numbered by the artist commemorating Mental Health Awareness month in Vancouver, WA. They are $19.99 each, and large orders are discounted.
—————————-All materials presented here are copyrighted to Heidi D. Hansen 2017, and reproduction and use prohibited without purchase and user agreement. Thank you!