What is your name & location? Danielle Freiman ~ Somerville, MA
How do you heal yourself? What is your favorite form of self-therapy? I heal myself by listening to my body and responding to what it's telling me. My favorite form of self-therapy (or when I feel my best), is when I sleep enough and allow myself time to process.
When/what was the catalyst that made you start? This is a fairly new process to me—I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety in the summer of last year, but I've lived with both of these conditions undiagnosed and untreated for much longer. I had recently made several large life changes (ending a long-term relationship, moving, starting a new relationship, starting a new job, starting a band) in the span of about six months, and in turn my body shut down. I felt exhausted and completely overwhelmed by my thoughts. I even thought that my anxious and self-berating thoughts were normal. My brain would tell me mean things all day, but I wouldn't understand why I was feeling tired. I started seeing a therapist and talking about what was going on, and eventually started listening and paying attention to what my body was trying to tell me.
How has this form of healing helped you? After receiving the diagnoses, I started sharing what was going on with my friends and family, and I was surprised to find that many more people deal with mental illness than I had thought. By researching, listening to myself, and responding, I've been able to process my feelings more fully. In other words, I cry a lot, I allow myself to be angry, I allow myself to take up space and ask for what I need. It's taken a long time, but I feel more whole and more like myself.
What does your process look like? (Please share what you feel comfortable sharing) Recently, I started making zines and buttons that share some of my strategies for coping with mental illness, and I sell them in an online shop called Small Supply. It's a way of putting my thoughts on paper and also reaching out to people who are in similar situations. I also curate an interdisciplinary art practice called Good Habits, which has taken the form of zines, gatherings, and writing manifestos. In my daily process, I try to eat whenever I'm hungry, go to sleep early, drink a lot of seltzer, go for walks, and notice things in my surroundings. I tell people when something is wrong, especially if I feel stuck in my head. I'm gentle with myself and I forgive myself for my mistakes.
How does it make you feel when you are healing yourself? I feel like I'm taking care of myself in a way that I wasn't before, and in turn I can be more available to support others.
Why is what you do so important? Why is this form of self-helping important to you? For a long time I didn't realize that how I was feeling wasn't normal, which means that there are a lot of people who might be feeling the same way. I used to think that these things were supposed to be private, or that they weren't ok to talk about. I want to be able to talk about mental illness with other people and make these conversations as normal as talking about having a cold.
What is your inspiration to continue doing what you are doing? What is the fuel that keeps you going? I'm compelled to make work that I can share with others, and I think that motivates me even when I'm not feeling my best.
What are your visions &/or goals? I'd like to continue growing Small Supply and carrying more work from others in my shop. I'd eventually like to open a physical space that will provide resources for local artists, as well as workshops, talks, and discussions that are open to the public.
Tell us a fun fact about your form of healing, what it is that you do, or something people may not know. I play drums in a band! It's the opposite of being quiet. I've never played an instrument before, but it's been really fun to learn and to play shows for people.
In one sentence, what is your message to the world? Keep showing up.
Is there is anything else that you would like to share about yourself or your form of self-healing? My friend told me recently, "healing isn't linear." I remind myself of that all of the time because when I'm feeling bad one week or good another, I remember that the process of healing isn't always straightforward.