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If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

The Vincent Van Gogh quote that became a catalyst in my mental health journey

You are probably asking yourself why a Vincent Van Gogh quote become a catalyst in my mental health journey. I was probably 18 years old when I stumbled upon that quote. More than likely at 3am in the morning while Spotify played sombre music in the background. Desperately searching for the answers to my suffering on some sad girls Tumblr feed who wasn’t actually sad. I was sad. I was suicidal and I was searching to be saved.

When I found this quote the darkness inside of me paused in stillness. This was something significant. I would later identify this moment as one of the fallen dominoes of a past I could no longer believe in. A past I could no longer view with my teeth clenched and a fake smile on my face. My life before me was beginning to unravel and no amount of stitches from a puzzled junior doctor in the emergency department could hold me together.

This quote was the start of my rough road to recovering from childhood trauma and years of being locked up as a teenager in psychiatric care. It was the beginning of a mutual understanding formatted between me and my childhood self.

Vincent Van Gogh knew what he was talking about. The fine line between genius and insanity before eventually committing suicide at thirty-seven. I’ve already survived multiple suicide attempts, although the running joke with my counsellor is the subject of my survival and not due to lack of trying.

At 26 I’ve accepted that god doesn’t want me and the devil won’t take me so I guess it’s time to start living even if that means tackling that trauma I’d much rather keep hidden in Pandora’s box. 

I’m aware of the box, not quite ready to open it but also not looking straight through it while adamantly persisting “there’s nothing there.” I guess we will see where it takes me but for now I’m back writing, and back fighting and I still have both ears.

I’ll post soon.

Until then.


Vincent Van Gogh Quote

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