July 29, 2020

Why do I choke on the words?

Amy Paterson, 19

For years I have struggled with anxiety. It has been a constant companion of mine since I was a child, panic attacks that steal my breath and leave my crying and shaking, unable to move, are a common occurrence. The global pandemic that has put the world on hold has left me in a dark place, and those feelings of panic, of suffocation and stifling dread have been especially bad in the last few months. In this painting I wanted to make the struggles I face daily with my anxiety and panic attacks that are often extremely subtle and only noticeable to me, and make them tangible. I often feel like I can’t speak out and can’t articulate how I feel, and in this painting there is a physical obstacle preventing me from doing so in the form of the red carnation covering my mouth and preventing me from saying anything. Red carnations can symbolise death or mourning, and I felt it was appropriate symbolism to use here as when I am in the middle of a particularly bad anxiety attack, it honestly does feel like I’m dying, drowning, and no one seems to notice but me.

Red Carnation, 2020Oil on Canvas148mm X 210mm