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I'm going to talk seriously to all of you for a moment. Just for a moment. Please don't think this is me asking for sympathy or pity, this isn't. But after watching several friends lately, and well.. over the years as well.. I want to share this. It's not upbeat, but sometimes we need a moment of seriousness to acknowledge the not so great things in our lives.

Many don't know that I am actively suicidal. There is a sadness and a despair that I cannot shake no matter how hard I try. No matter how good I am, it is not enough. No matter how hard I try. It is not enough. At one point I was hospitalized because I attempted suicide. I have also nearly succeeded before and managed to lie my way out of it so that to this day the people involved think that I was just 'sick', because I didn't want them to worry. I did not tell anyone the number of times that the police have come to my house to make sure I'm still alive thanks to a friend observing a change in my behavior and calling, or the time I got escorted to the hospital BY the police because they found me in a state of.. not goodness. And I lied and convinced everyone that I just 'went while you were at work, it's fine', or "I don't know why but my chest is hurting' and got the doctors looking at that instead of what really happened. I do not need consolation or someone to give me a reason to live, I have them and I appreciate them. But there are times when the sadness is overwhelming, when the hopelessness gets to be too much. There are times when *people* are too much. I have Zeus because I can't bear to go out around more then two people without feeling this overwhelming urge to run in fear for my life, to hide, to end it and stop it all. This is why I have a service dog. It's not to help others, it's purely to give me a grasp on reality and an obligation NOT to do something drastic. Because I can't reach out and say "I am in danger of my life".

In my mind, there is no way to say "I logically know that if I am left alone right now I will do harm to myself" without people thinking you're seeking attention. I had always been told that anyone who's trying to harm themselves is just attention hungry and not worth the time. And so I have a dog, and he prevents me from doing harm to myself without me having the embarassment of reaching out to say "I cannot control myself right now, I'm scared and the emotions are too much for me."  I am trying to be more open about talking about it, but it's hard because I feel the more you talk about it, the more fake it seems and the less likely you will get REAL help and be taken seriously when you really need it. It's not a one time thing for me, it will happen again in the future, I don't know when and I can't control it always. I don't want to be written off because that is the day that I will not be able to stop myself because people thinking I want attention when I just *hurt* so much will only make it hurt more. I'm scared to ask for help when I need it. But I make do and I get by, and I find ways to remind myself that things are really truly better then that sad core thinks it is.

Life is hard. Life as an artist can feel harder then most. You paint and you do your work and you are judged by *how good you are at baring your soul*. How technically correct you are at emoting visually. Sometimes being an artist means you put everything on the line. Your self worth is often tied up in how well you do, if someone likes what you do. There is the pressure of accepting criticism with grace and good humor, no matter how rudely it is phrased. There is the pressure of trying to improve and hitting walls. of trying to make ends meet and nothing really works. You struggle on the same drawing over and over and it just doesn't go right and the way you want to and that hopelessness starts coming in. You send to a convention and the pieces you felt great about just don't sell. Not even a single bid, and you start doubting yourself. Art is a delicate process. The more you doubt yourself, the more you will start making those doubts come true. Artist block will take hold and will start confirming your worst fears. It's not easy to get through things like this, it's not easy to break the cycle of self doubt and depression, fears of not being good enough, of not ever succeeding. Sometimes you need to think outside of the box. Sometimes you need to break the chain in weird ways, to get yourself away from that loop.

Sometimes your self worth as a person gets tied up in your art. Or your work, or whatever you are doing in life. Or your weight, your appearance, your height, your freckles and flaws. Sometimes you become so focused on all your failures that you fall into a pit and can't get out of it. And the sad thing is, once you get into that pit once? It's easier to fall into it again later. And every time you fall into the pit, it gets easier.

I am asking, as a friend, as someone who cares about the people I talk to *even if it's just someone I talk to in passing*. Please break this cycle in yourselves. If you are feeling down about something, become aware of it. Don't hide it, don't let it build and become worse. If your art is bringing you down, find other artists and talk about it, don't hide it. Don't cover it by saying to everyone "I'm just a bad" so that they compliment you instead of bashing you. Be up front about it, talk about it, try to see things clear before it becomes too bad. You are unique, you are amazing even if you don't see it. Someone, somewhere, thinks of you. You may not know it, but they do. You may not be as good an artist as Brom, you may not be as fast a runner as your best friend, whatever it is that has you down, but you still have a special something inside of you that makes you worthwhile. If you can't find it, it's time to talk to your friends and let them help you find it.
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xXCyanideLollipopXx Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Student
Thank you for writing this. Know that it helped someone in a similar boat to yours.
JessicaMDouglas Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
uxurd Featured By Owner May 25, 2013
:hug: well I bet that made for one hell of a full inbox. I know ye would rather we all wached ye fer yer art, many of us do but so many of us are in shoes similar to yours from fears ago before ye had help. I don't know how many I speak for or how manyhave already made this comment but there are toes of us that watch. Not just your art, but we watch your story. You might read this journal an fear to see a plea for attention, there are thoes of us who read this and its a sucess story for us to work twards.
LittleCorax Featured By Owner May 14, 2013
I think a lot of the "only trying to get attention" part comes from is people threatening to do it or try to do it. Because in reality, they likely are. Not necessarily in a bad way, meaning they're only trying to get attention for attention's sake, but because they're lacking some kind of attention that they really do actually need. Much like with us gamers have to deal with the stigma created by the few who can't separate fiction from reality, those few who threaten it just for pure attentions sake give the rest a bad rap, so to speak.

If all someone does is threaten, only those closest to them are likely to take them truly seriously. If anyone else does, it'll be with a grain of salt. Humans tend to be sort of apathetic that way...

If someone actually DOES it, whether they succeed or not, it's not a cry for attention, it's a call for help that they don't feel they have any other way of expressing. At least, that's how I feel about it.

So given that you've been through the "doing" part, I personally don't think that you should feel as if talking about it makes it seem fake the more you do it. If anything, I think you should feel the opposite.

Anderon Featured By Owner May 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You lift me up.

This...both makes me feel incredibly sad, and at the same time incredibly grateful. I am so glad that you have Zeus, and people close to you who are watching out for you. I am trying to build similar supports for myself, and finding it to be quite a struggle at times.

Jess, I have been following you, and your art, for years now, and I feel like I know some parts of you from that (though I'll by no means say I know you totally, not even close). Those parts of you that I've seen, parts that have evolved and changed with your art and your style, I love.
Dragon-Factor Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
JessicaMDouglas Featured By Owner May 31, 2013  Professional General Artist
Dragon-Factor Featured By Owner May 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
MadMother88 Featured By Owner May 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I know what it's like to have your mind not be logical at all, I've hurt myself before, and I know it's not the same, but I hope you continue to have something to hold you here, life is too precious to give up
Quaisor Featured By Owner May 4, 2013  Professional Photographer
"The more you doubt yourself, the more you will start making those doubts come true" Jess, the opposite of that is just as true. I know I have told you before about Louise Hay's book, "You Can Heal Your Life" Did you ever check it out? This book has changed people's lives, including mine. I think everyone should read it. She understands people like no other.
Be as gentle with yourself as you would be with someone else. Read the last paragraph of this post. It's caring and loving and understanding. Be that to yourself, too. I know, it can be difficult to think you deserve such kindness, but you do. Everyone does.
You have a special place in my heart, Jess. We have been here on DA together for many years, and while we may not talk with regularity, I think of you often. I am honored to know you. There were moments in my life that where profoundly made better by your kind words to me. I just wanted to tell you that. :tighthug:
JessicaMDouglas Featured By Owner May 31, 2013  Professional General Artist
I don't think I've checked that book out yet. My therapist has me reading 'the four agreements' right now, and that's a pretty good book. I tend to have to reread things multiple times before they stick, though.
Quaisor Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Professional Photographer
LMAO! You and me both, girl! I just heard about the four agreements book, myself. If you're interested in the heal your life book, let me know. I'll send you a copy :) It's a book you can read cover to cover, or just flop around and still walk away with great stuff!
Amazonofexeter Featured By Owner May 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
:hug: Thank you for this, mine has been nothing like as serious as yours, but the way you describe the feeling of despair when your life and work doesn't seem to quite right, really helps - just having someone put into words what you should know, and what you would say to someone else but never actually realise yourself until you are on the high point is a real blessing - I'll just have to try and remember for when it's the low points!
Thank you again, I know we don't talk that much - my fault for not being online so much, but it's good to hear from you, and that you are keeping things going :) :glomp:
raviolirose Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I know you say you're not doing this for attention or sympathy (and I believe you) but I just gotta say, you ma'am, are a beautiful person inside and out. My girlfriend struggles with this too, not at the same level but sometimes it gets pretty close. So I actually understand a lot of what you say. I've never, not once, thought that people who were suicidal and/or depressed were seeking attention - quite the opposite, I think part of the problem comes from not getting enough attention or not wanting the kind of attention that might make you feel a bit better. I think that, when people hurt themselves (or 'threaten' to, and I use the word 'threaten' very loosely), it's not because they want others to see it, but sometimes they forget about the people who WILL care, who will see it and genuinely care about their health and safety.
My overall opinion on it (and there's not a real nice way to say it) is that it's kind of a selfish act, not taking into consideration all the people who would be upset or sad or even scared to not have that person in their lives. I'm not condemning it either, because we all do selfish things, it's human nature - but it's most definitely not "attention-seeking" in the way that people so often accuse.

Oh look, I'm rambling again, I do that on the internet a lot. Haha. Anyway, I think you are very brave and kind to post this for the sake of others, and I hope it's a bit cathartic for yourself, as well. I'm glad that you were able to find something (Zeus) to help you through those dark periods, and brave enough to accept it as well. I hope he continues to make your life brighter. And I hope you know that, even if your art is a struggle sometimes, it can make at least one person's life a lot brighter. You really are one of my favourite artists, for so many reasons.
jijikit Featured By Owner May 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Can I say you are a brave BRAVE person for baring your soul out to the community this way? I can never fully understand the dilemma you must feel but your words help to communicate the your pain and I oh so wish there were words or gestures I could do to help I am glad you have Zeus and being willing to speak out about this I hope helps. Don't stop! I know any part of a persons' life, like an artist, where they are baring their soul in such a open way is tough, but you are still "human" and you are still "a person" with feelings and ideas. I pray things will get easier for you and I know you weren't garnering "sympathy" but I do sympathize as I suffer something similar but in a less powerful way than you do. I'm sorry to ramble, I guess what I just want to say is, "I understand, though not to your extent." and "thank you so much for trying to be open about it." I'm sure this journal will help somebody! If anything, it will certainly make me more aware of how I feel and if things are getting better/worse.

I will keep good/hopeful/healing thoughts for you. I don't know how helpful that is, but I believe you are a beautiful and brave artist and I hope things will heal for you soon. :hug:
puffbird Featured By Owner May 1, 2013   Traditional Artist
Thank you for talking about this. My spouse has panic, social anxiety and depression. He's doing a lot better now, but he still has moments -- he can't predict when it happens or what triggers it. There is no logic to it; there's just a sudden "I can't deal with this have to get away" terror that has made him lose jobs and friends in the past.

I help as much as I can, and while I can say I understand (and I've experienced panic attacks before, so I sort of know a little of what he goes through), I don't truly know. I can only do as much as I can to be a lifeline.

I don't know if he's ever been suicidal -- all he can tell me is that he doesn't have the nerve to go through with it, which isn't really "no". But having a family has been a great help to him and gives him purpose. I'm so glad he has us to help him get the help he needs.
Aivilonique Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Hobbyist
Thank you for bringing up this... subject? And sharing your thoughts <3
At a time of my life I had some suicidal thoughts myself, and I didn't get the help I needed, cause I was so afraid to rely on my friends, cause some of them has this thing with just not understanding me and how much theese thoughts where getting to me. I was simply too afraid to tell them. I felt a bit embarressed by not being 100% succesful, meeting a million new people and having a hot boyfriend.

To look at the future(and life) in a more bright way, I think about my family where I KNOW some lovely people care about me, and will always support me, and the possibilities there lies in front of me, when I'm growing up in the western world. What a lucky person I actually am. I think about lovely people I'm hopefully gonna meet in the future and of how (of course xD) succesful Im gonna be, the house Im gonna live in, the hottie husband and lovely kids. Just dreaming, but I feel like the dreams will come true, if I keep dreaming and get things done, take chances etc.
It works... most of the time ^^
Friends are one of the most important things in life, so I hope you get a nice talk with one of yours, without feeling like begging for attention, cause you're NOT.

Anyway, I just want to tell you, that I look up to you <3 and will never judge you on how you feel about yourself. Rather talk about it.
Yuriona Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I understand. I do battle with my emotions on a daily basis but I'm lucky: I've been able to break my cycle. I was able to take that first step and ask for help. Even after years of therapy and meds I still have rough patches, something I know I will always have because like art, life is a work in progress. And I also know that asking for help is a hell of a lot scarier than most people realize it is.

I just want to commend you for having the courage to write your journal and to face another day knowing it means another battle. Keep fighting and when you have a rough patch just re-read your entry here. Its very inspirational. *hugs* You are amazing, not just as an artist (I know 'cuz I lurk in your gallery a lot lol) but as a person as well. Don't worry about those pits, I've got lots of rope and a few shovels. :) Go you!
fyshie Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
Thank you so very much for posting this journal! I must have been difficult for you to do, but I find it encouraging that someone else feels similarily about life, and how closely our art is tied with that feeling, either of success or failure. I wish it wasn't so, but it is what it is, and we must recognize that as you said, not looking for pity. I have been having a terrible time lately with such similar thoughts of "letting my self go to sleep, and not suffer any longer". My close friends and family are helping feel better and see the things I have to live for.
Thank you for bearing your soul to the internet. You brave thing you!

Stay well!
MrMoldavia Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
I think you are right about talking things out with friends and family, even if it's something dreadful. Not for what they say or do, but for how, in listening to you, a deeper understanding of what's eating you up inside can be brought to the surface for you to discover.
19MandaPanda92 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Lots of :hug:s
GiovyLoCa Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
...and what if breaking the loop means to destroy whatever you've built with your other half...? Is it a good way too to free yourself? Reading this put me in front of a part of the situation I currently have, even if I won't speak about it "seriously" or sincerely with ease... :blush:
NaturallyUndefined Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I just wanted to give you a hug :hug: and let you know there will always be someone who listens. :heart:
TheArtOfMuffin Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
you're very brave to say this, it takes a lot of courage
don't be afraid to ask professional help or help from friends or relatives
because we're all human, and we can all try to understand eachother's pain through talking,etc.
I know a friend who has been very deep down, but thanks to help of professionals and talking to relatives, friends, writing out a lot of journals, she feels better now
not exactly like before, maybe never like before, but better, with a chance of good days
you can do it c:

I'll keep your words in mind when it comes to art
I've been confronted with selling my art on conventions before and selling nothing all day
I stopped doing that too
but I do practise to one day try again, I try to take positive energy from it
it does drag me down every now and then, even made me throw away dreams in my job
but I go on, because one day it will all pay off, and in the meantimpe I try to make the best of it ^^
vanilla-vanilla Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013
Wow. I know it's hard to share this kind of thing... And I don't have anything particular or helpful to say... Just making a noise out here so you know one more person is listening, I guess...
Nehemet Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
It's a terrible thing that it's so hard to tell the truth to people we care about, who care about us. Maybe we're afraid of not being understood, so we don't even risk it. "I'm fine."

My best friend is borderline suicidal. I worry so much about him. I try to say, "I've been where you are, please trust me and trust yourself, I love you, you are worth so much to me." He hears, "I'm trying to make you feel better, without really knowing what you're going through." He talks to me though, he tells me the truth, and I think it helps.

It's kind of awful and not really fair to use myself as an example, but I have been there and I have come through it. I'm not really burdened with any real mental health problems, nothing beyond the pale (I think), but depression and self-loathing are their own black holes. Fortunately for me, I found that telling the truth is habit forming, especially when it comes to understanding oneself. This means criticism, yes, but also praise, more than you ever thought possible.

I guess I just sort of restated what you said, but now I'm saying it to you. Understand, you and your work mean so much to me. You are a constant source of inspiration and I don't want you to feel like you are anything less. People will get you down; nobody's perfect. But lots of us here love you. Please remember us, and think well of yourself.
Scarletfrost Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
My husband suffers from periods of depression. He's not suicidal, but he has other self-destructive habits that get worse when he's down. Sometimes, I'm so scared for him, but I don't know what to do. Do you have any advice for those of us who really care about people who are struggling with this sort of thing?
Packbat Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013
Thank you for writing this. There are so many ways that the world can make it difficult for us to live -- but it's worth it.
HyenaTeeth Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, it's awesome that you have the nerve to come out and say these things. It takes a great strength of character to talk about something so sensitive. I know how it is to become so closely tied to your work and let other people tell you your own worth based on what/how you draw. To me, your artwork shows a great deal of inner beauty and a lot of love for the world at large. I won't claim to know you, but that's what your works say to me. Thank you for sharing, and whatever it's worth, you have my support.
bear48 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional
ladyfireoak Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you. I needed to hear that, though I didn't know it when I started reading.
Neye Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I hope you will always have people around you to remind you of this when you need them to :heart: Thank you for sharing.
sugarpeep Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
keight Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013
Jess, I, too, thank God for Zeus -- and Sarah. I know I don't post much on dA, or facebook where I first read this, and I really hope this comes across as being supportive (still on post surgery meds). This is an excellent post, my dear, and I am so very glad you were able to write and post it; because now I have a way to help when you ask for discussion and support, and give you the space and quiet you also need. :hug:s and love, never pity.
Kiki-Tayler Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
You are awesome in how you can say things just right. And you're an awesome teacher.
skiesofchaos Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional Photographer
Sets out tea and shares this very important document.
Oni-Neko Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It is for journals like these as much as your gorgeous art that you are on my watchlist. Your willingness to be open about stuff like this is nearly equal parts inspiring and humbling. I hope to someday have even half the courage it must take to show us these things. Thank you.
sakkysa Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Zeus is the best!! I remember when you got him how happy you were, but also how worried you were that people would not understand. I hope that you are finding they do. :heart:

Please feel free to let me know any time you feel the need to let loose some thoughts. :hug:
GreenAngel5 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
that makes me happy to hear that you have a pet; a dog to be exact. They are gifts from God as far as I can see it; when I become overly stressed/depressed or even tired; just seeing my Mayleen and Billy Boy (my dogs), I forget my troubles. They make it very easy to live life a day at a time and to be calm. I hope your Zeus is lifting the bad stuff out of you and replacing it with love and companionship. They are a silent partner that's always waiting to lend a shoulder.

I hope your message reaches those that really need it, because it's been a very long time since I even seen or read the word suicidal, and just being reminded of it made me realize that I need to be a little more nicer to people that I work with (some of my coworkers are 'different' and unfortunately I know that I can be rather blunt/rude at times....I need to remember to treat others the way that I want to be treated...especially if I don't realize that I hurt then emotionally.
LauraNeocleous Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
I know you don't know me, but I want to tell you that you and your art are nothing short of inspirational. I am not good at writing at all, I start, get worried that I am sounding like a moron, and stop, but I feel I have to let you know that I have so much to thank you for. I discovered you, fell in love with your art, read your journals, felt you to be a fantastic human being and then you left DA...

The day you returned and posted a piece of art and a journal announcing you had returned, it felt like a huge part of myself was re- discovered that I wasn't aware I had lost. You came back and I felt inspired again to create. I have a boyfriend who has pretty high end of the scale depression, so I can understand that this post might not have much of an effect on how you are feeling, however when you feel low about your art, I want you to know that this person alone (and lets face it, you have a huge number of fans, so this is certainly not just from me) thinks you are amazing at what you do, it's wonderful to see you progress and I feel honoured that you share your beautiful art with myself and the rest of the world.

I don't mean to come across as creepy and obsessed in anyway, I just want you to know how much your attitude as a person and your telents have inspired an individual beyond what you could imagine. (or maybe you could!)

Like vagabondNord said perfectly in just two words, thank you.
pearwood Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank God for Zeus -- and Sarah. Thank you for telling us where you are.
JessicaMDouglas Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
*smiles* I went quiet this week but not from anything bad. It's me doing all of the sketch commissions, and getting myself and Sarah ready for dragoncon and Akon, and conduit, and idex just happened, and we want to do a new line of things, etc. etc. etc. I have a lot going on right now and am trying to get it all out there. But I'm okay right now, so if I go quiet it's just working.
pearwood Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I have a panel display (twelve images framed to 16x16) going at Image City Photography Gallery. It's both exhilarating and humbling. What ever are they doing letting me show my stuff here with all this other stuff by all these other really good photographers?? It's an upper and a downer all at once.
JessicaMDouglas Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Professional General Artist
I wish I lived closer to you so I could help you with the framing/matting. That's actually my favorite part of art, the finishing.
pearwood Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
My matte cutting jig and I are good friends. :D

You _are_ on my short list of "dA people I would like to met in person". And Sarah, too.
vagabondNord Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013
I find there are a lot of emotions that well to the surface while reading this; a lot of things I'd really like to say, without really knowing the phrasing of how to relay just what I was trying to say. But all of that is sort of null and void compared to the two words I'd like to tell you, both from when we still conversed and played in a silly game together, through watching your art go from beautiful to inspiring over the years, to here, reading your heart spilled on a digital canvas.

Thank you.
flufdrax Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
No words can be found to say what I want to say, so please accept a hug from someone who has, in the past, been through depression has somehow survived skirting the pit of despair.
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Submitted on
April 29, 2013


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