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Alternatives: EXPRESSION

In this section, you will find resources and testimonials related to creative expression.  



Creative expression has a clear impact on mental health-- just ask anyone that makes art or keeps a journal. It has the added advantage of being accessible: sometimes all you need is a paper and a pencil to express your emotions. Whether we think of writing, drawing, collages, photography, or performance, these are ways to take care of ourselves while creating works to share with others, or simply to keep for our own intimate museum.  ​


Asylum Squad Side Story: The Psychosis Diaries . Saraƒin

'Dirty River: A Queer Woman of Color Dreaming Her Way Home' by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Telegram: A Collection of 27 Issues .  Maranda Elizabeth



Art Hives

An Art Hive is a community art studio that welcomes everyone as an artist. From an art pop-up in a local library to a community studio or gallery, at its heart, an Art Hive is about inclusion, respect and learning. It's a welcoming place to talk, make art and build communities. Responding in creative ways to things that matter.

Find an Art Hive near you!

Les Impatients

le CAP


Users of alternative community mental health organizations express their relationship to art and life. The intimate experience of art, of the studio, of meeting artists and of considering themselves an artist changes their lives. Witness exchanges between professional artists and artists from different organizations across Quebec on the relationship between art and madness.   VIEW THE DOCUMENTARY HERE

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I practice art therapy every day

by Nicolas Aubé Lanctôt  (translated automatically by google)

I practice art therapy every day.

It is vital for me to get art therapy because it saved my life.


Today is my tenth anniversary of sobriety. It's been 10 years since I changed my life from A to Z. In addition, in November 2019, it will be 10 years since I quit smoking cigarettes compulsively like Gainsbourg.


In ten years of sobriety, I had 8 years which were beautiful and 2 years which were very difficult. Fortunately, it's not because I wanted to consume. Since I became an art therapist, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have thought about consumption. Each time, it didn't last long as my inner voice reminded me that such thoughts go away pretty quickly.


As a reminder of this coming-out, I will talk about these 10 years during which I was art-therapeutic. I will also tell you about the journey I have traveled to overcome my drug addiction and improve my mental health. I can only show the tip of the iceberg because I would have to write a book to talk about all the work done to rebuild solid foundations in order to rebuild my life.


Art saved my life.


By dint of art therapy, I created the backbone to overcome 15 years of addiction to drugs and alcohol. For 6 years, Art gave me back the will that I had lost because of my drug addiction. Creation has helped me to live better with my mental health problem. Even though some prejudices die hard, I didn't let people strip me of the little dignity I had left. Today I know that if I hadn't had art therapy, I wouldn't have succeeded in overcoming my drug addiction. For me, art therapy was as if a doctor had given me a wheelchair after an accident to help me during the period when I had both legs in plaster. Without this wheelchair, I would still be like a person with paralyzed legs who can never walk again.


Drug addiction ends up disorganizing a life at all levels and now I better understand Arthur Rimbault's “Lettre du Voyant”.

“The Poet becomes seer by a long, immense and reasoned disruption of all the senses. All forms of love, suffering, madness; he seeks himself, he exhausts in himself all the poisons, to keep only the quintessences. Ineffable torture where he needs all the faith, all the superhuman strength, where he becomes above all the sick man, the big criminal, the big accursed, - and the supreme scientist - For he arrives at the unknown!


The disruption of all the senses, through drugs and abuse, can be dangerous because many have lost their skin or mortgaged their physical and mental health. I am one of those people but luckily I had help at the right time. Life has put good people in my path: people devoted to helping drug addicts. Today, I feel lucky to have had street workers, social workers, therapists, psychologists and a family who have always been there for me: all people who wear their hearts on their sleeves.

To be art-therapeutic is to reorganize your life to give it a meaning and a mental hygiene that you have lost because of this long disorganization of the senses that is drug addiction. For me, art therapy is a vital need like eating, drinking and breathing. It helps and guides me to gain wisdom and become resilient.

Je m'arthérapise

I really liked the text by David Goudreault entitled: “Ten years one day at a time”. It's true that rebuilding your life takes one day at a time because drug addiction often ends in self-destruction. Some go to AA or NA and it helps them a lot.  Me, I tried twice during my first year of sobriety.  I felt that, for all that it brought me, it was going to be something else that would help me stay sober.


I use art therapy so as not to forget where abuse can lead: I had an overdose. A trauma so intense that I almost died. It was a post-traumatic shock that branded me with a hot iron. 10 years later, after my therapy with an addiction psychologist, I decided to do another one to help me better live with this anxiety.  Before this therapy, every time I had a panic attack, I was so afraid of dying because it was reminiscent of the symptoms I had during my overdose in 2003. I kept this fear of dying and I long left paralyzed by this invisible evil.


It was during this time that I got into art therapy, meditation, physical exercise, and whatever it takes to get back into balance. Since my therapies, I let myself be less paralyzed by anxiety. I know that panic attacks give this feeling where you think you are going to die and it has this effect in the majority of people By doing therapies and detoxifications, I saw around me all kinds of people to whom it took them almost a lifetime to rebuild. When your problems started very young, over time they grow and take on new proportions that multiply the problems. Today, I can say what speakers told me: YES, drugs are a scourge. On the other hand, I am for the legalization of soft drugs for better control by medical and public health authorities.


I know I have scars that will never go away, but today I understand better the prayer that people pray when they go to NA or AA.


prayer of serenity

God give me the SERENITY to accept the things I can't change,

the COURAGE to change the things I can change and the WISDOM to know the difference.

To live one day at a time, to accept hardship as the path to peace, to accept as HE made this world as it is, not as I would like it to be.

To believe that He will take care of everything if I surrender and surrender to His will, that I can be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the future.


Since experiencing my second major depression, I often recite the excerpt I love the most: My god give me SERENITY  to accept the things that I cannot change. This concerns me a lot because when we stop using and we thaw out, we realize that our consumption problem has made our loved ones suffer. I am art therapist so this will never happen again because my real friends and family watched me wither away for a long time. Over time, they saw me change and become someone else when I was using. I was lucky because my family did something before it was too late and that got me into my first detox. Thanks to them for having a summit meeting with the stakeholders who helped me. Without what my family did, I might not be alive today. I am art-therapeutic first for myself but also for them because I never want to go back to the bottom of this dehumanizing abyss.


When I started having serious anxiety issues in public places, it was during my last 4 years of using drugs. I thought for a long time that I had agoraphobia. Often at that time, just the fact of going to do my grocery shopping or getting out of my house, was a mountain that seemed insurmountable to me because I let myself be paralyzed by it. Fortunately, thanks to the anxiety therapy of the Other Shore, I realized that I did not have agoraphobia. At the beginning of my therapy, I had to start exposing myself gradually to situations that were very anxiety-provoking because, for me, almost all situations made me experience anxiety. Before I did my therapy, I had the female dog to have a stroke. It was worse in the last 4 years I used because I was even more hypochondriac. Whenever I had a health problem, I imagined the worst and went to see me often. Fortunately, over time, some hypochondriacs tame themselves and learn to stop imagining the worst. This is what happened to me. It was hard to stay in the waiting rooms to see a doctor because, for an anxious person, it seems even longer than eternity.


During my years of use, I went to consult for imaginary illnesses that I thought I had and I drank on the sly in the hospital so that it would help me to reduce my symptoms of anxiety. I did that in several other situations: at the cinema or any place where there were a lot of people. I drank to reduce my anxiety. I self-medicated for a long time and took way too many pills.

I consider myself lucky not to have had cirrhosis. In 2015, I saw a social worker again who told me that, during the last years that I used drugs, I had yellow eyes because my liver was intoxicated. Today, I realize that I have an iron health because I did not spare my body during this decline.


I art therapist to testify and share this experience with anyone who reads this testimony. The first advice I give you: DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF WHEN YOU HAVE ANXIETY. Unfortunately, that's what I did for the last 4 years I was using. I advise you to do group therapy and individual therapy. If I had to do it again, I would choose group therapy first because it's very stimulating to see people who have the same problem as us: you feel less judged. When a problem makes us isolate ourselves, it makes our problems end up getting worse and bigger. Remember that you are not ALONE at all because, for every problem, there are resources.


I use art therapy to make peace with a great love that made me lose my mind. In the future I would not make the same mistake of isolating myself. I loved a girl named Sarah and I was mad at them and my inner voice was telling me that I should have cut ties with her when she left me in the hospital during a drug rehab. Love is sometimes truly blind. Unfortunately, I kept in touch with her from 2005 to 2016. In 2005, I had stopped going to see my consumer friends. She started hanging out with all my friends and she slept with several of them. For 4 years, I cut ties with most of my friends because I didn't want to take the chance to see her.  Every time I saw her, I sank into serious moments of depression and it gave me a lot of suicidal thoughts. As I isolated myself, I started drinking even more and all my problems multiplied exponentially.  My anxiety issues increased and became more and more severe.  In the last few years when I used the most, my anxiety started creating obstacles that paralyzed me. I began to be constantly afraid of having serious panic attacks. The fear of being afraid for me was the fear of dying. It took up all my living space and I ended up removing myself from my own life and immuring myself in extreme isolation. I was closing myself off to so many possibilities that I could have experienced.


People who changed my life (HOPE)


Between my three rehabs, I lived  several major depressions and I had to be hospitalized. During one of these depressions, I had the chance to do music therapy and the worker saw my talent. She therefore offered me to do music therapy workshops for almost 2 years and it is thanks to her that I became aware of the power that the arts have as an impact to get through tougher times. This speaker reignited the passion I have for creating and I will be forever grateful to her because she saw my talent and she encouraged me at the right time to inspire me to  relate to the music.


Fortunately, there are people and workers who believed that I could get out of it because too many people suffering from mental illness are left to themselves. By dint of getting help, I began to believe that I could manage. Without this help, I would have become like all the left-behinds who are even more isolated and stigmatized by the mold of exclusion. Now I know how hard it is  for the little hope we have left when we can no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel.


I think we have to stop stigmatizing people and putting them in the mold of exclusion and mental health because we have a lot to learn from them for several reasons. A flower, when you give it sunlight, it ends up bearing fruit.  But if we stigmatize people who suffer from mental health and eclipse the light to them, they will never see the light at the end of the tunnel.


In 2015, I realized what was important by talking with my pharmacist. During a harder episode, she told me that the traits of an artist and a person who has a bipolar or depressive problem  almost all have the same similarities. It made me realize I got a label and it was mental health. I've always hated all the labels that stick to my skin. When I was diagnosed in 2003, I told myself that all my problems were caused by my bipolar side and my anxiety. I am happy that she made me realize that I blamed all my problems on this disease. I realize that I simply relieved myself of responsibility at certain levels instead of understanding the real mechanisms that had made me this being who is often on edge. Most artists are eternally sensitive and there's a good gang of them who are very anxious. This discussion with the pharmacist did me a world of good. Artists have often been marginalized from society. This did not prevent them from being aware of the realities of their time. The best were the mirrors of their generation, reflecting what was happening around them and magnifying it through their arts.


During this period, I found the source of all my problems thanks to one of the best therapists I had. The problem was with my self-confidence.  During one of the best summers of my life, I analyzed myself when my problems arose and for me it was like doing my own analysis. My introspections took me from one pole to the other.

My bullied years in elementary school


During this crisis, I went back to my first years in elementary school and it was not easy to remember this time during which I was bullied during all those years.


In primary school I was “pocket” in almost all subjects, except plastic arts and morality where I excelled. School undermined my existence during my first year and I quickly felt abnormal from the age of 5. School has been the main source of my anxiety and self-confidence issues for me. The teacher I had in first year often told me in front of the students that I wouldn't achieve anything in life if I continued to be in the moon. When I had trouble understanding things, she ridiculed me in front of the class. By dint of being ridiculed in front of everyone, it influenced the students who started to do like her. Often they told me that I was going to become a waste of society and other nasty insults. I often pretended to be sick so as not to go to school for fear of bullying. I then had a day off during that time, especially a time off from those who bullied me. It gave me a break from my anxiety.


You then begin to believe that you are worthless because, by dint of being painted  in a corner, you end up developing problems. Especially when you get bullied almost every day for 7 years because I doubled sixth grade. The problem got worse when they started stigmatizing me. They stuck a lot of labels on me that stuck in my head all my life because they took cruel pleasure in always hitting on the same nail. The bullying influenced everything I would go through afterwards because they made me feel like I had a problem and wasn't normal.


Today, I am happy not to be normal like Mr. and Mrs. Everybody because I realized that I am unique. You too are unique. My mental health issue didn't exist back then but it developed and escalated when I was a teenager when I fell into substance abuse hell. I drank and took all kinds of drugs at the time and it was like a social lubricant for me that helped me have a confidence that I didn't have. But as I was easily influenced, I dated people who were bad seeds for me and I ended up stopping seeing them, fortunately, but only after too many years.


From the age of 17, I started hanging out with misfits, punks and hippies.  Many of them were artists and these friends were like a big family to me: we had great times until I stopped using. In the end, the regular abuse led me into a no man's land where the generalized anxiety isolated me and it only made my situation worse. The dehumanizing reality I was living in caused me to take the winding road of drugs and alcohol to seek out the self-confidence that had been mortgaged by 7 years of bullying.


At 21, I saw a photo from when I was 5 and realized, for the first time, that I was a beautiful child with a gleam of wonder in my eye. But by dint of being bullied, I started to believe that I was ugly. As the kids in the class were always playing pranks on my glasses, I stopped wearing them: it gave me even more learning problems because my eyesight was so poor that I needed them all the time. I didn't help myself by not wearing them when I was young.


After elementary school, the only magic wand I found to erase and forget about all that bullying was consumption. Luckily I was passionate about arts and culture. When I bought myself music albums, I didn't spend that money on drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately between the ages of 14 and 17, I sold almost all of my collection that I had with the aim of consuming. Afterwards, I quickly realized that I wouldn't do that anymore because I needed the shelter that music gave me during my too long descent into the hells of consumption.


I then managed to face the world and the roller coaster that my mental health problems created for me. I nourished myself with arts and culture. For me, art therapy was listening to all kinds of music. This has always helped me during different periods of my life. I am a music lover and my tastes are quite eclectic: I am interested in all styles and all eras. Music is what I like the most. Being curious, I am constantly discovering counter-culture music from all eras. It is vital for me every day. It helps me on so many levels and the side effects are POSITIVE. I then started to compose music while continuing to discover all musical genres to open up to new horizons.


Art therapy heals the wounds on my bipolar side and helps my generalized anxiety. Do you know of any drugs that successfully cure 15 years of drug addiction, alcoholism and addiction to hard drugs? I've been on medication since 2003 and it's never cured my health the way art could. In my case, creating has improved my quality of life from my mental health issues on so many levels. The more I art-therapy and the less I live the hell of depression. Art therapy has exorcised many of my demons and I'm sinking less and less into serious depression. Creation was the last refuge to find my haven of inner peace. It's as if I grafted light on myself. With the pleasure it gives me, I reduce the chances of sinking into depression.  For 10 years, I managed to improve the quality of life for my mental health problem, decrease my medication to its lowest dose and stop 2 other medications.   


During the first 6 years of sobriety, I  set the goal  Than the money I was spending on drugs and alcohol  would now be  invested in equipment to make music and visual art. In my drinking days I managed not to sell my instruments and my amp but I almost lost them a few times at the pawn shop. In 2009, I took out a loan from my father and bought myself what it took to be able to get back to creating and redo the foundations of my life which had become a field of ruin. Since my childhood I have always created. Between the ages of 12 and 18 I discovered a lot of artists. As I am curious by nature, I discovered the world of cursed poets and counter-culture artists who marked each generation. I was fascinated by artists who made history. I naively told myself that the drug would open the doors of perception to me too and that I would have ideas in poetry, visual arts and music. Today, I can tell you that my craziest flashes, I had them on an empty stomach. For a long time the media have always conveyed and haloed these myths around creation due to drugs. Since I got sober, I realized that this myth is false. Talking to friends who have stopped using, they too tell me that since they are sober, they create much more than before and their projects become more concrete and professional. Trey Spruance an artist that I like said that "creation is organizing your chaos".   


Around 2004-2005, I had my biggest surprise while watching Télé-Québec… There had been a literary contest for the new generation,  Premier Bernard Landry prefaced it.  We had to submit a poem… One Sunday evening at the end of the contest, the hosts talk about the texts that impressed them and, in total surprise live, they read my text on the air with an enthusiastic review. It was the first time to my life that I received public recognition in a media, me who totally lacked self-confidence.


I had a few small artistic victories that fueled this flame of creation that inhabits me. These victories have helped me to continue creating and to stay sober to the point that I would like to remain so for the rest of my life.


To make a long story short, in 2009 I sent a demo to Radio-Canada radio and they selected  many  musical creations to broadcast them in the now defunct program “Bande à part”. The music that I made afterwards was broadcast on this counterculture radio station and that gave me copyright. This little tap on the shoulder was the flame that lit me for my future projects. Subsequently, I had other beautiful dreams and the pride that I had lost. In 2015, one of the music I created was selected for a 60s self-advertisement on TVA Sports paying tribute to famous sportsmen.


Subsequently, Soproq told me that my tunes were playing on satellite radio in the United States. My last success was in 2016 when I was invited to the Great Night of Poetry in St-Venant. I experienced what magic and I was invited back in 2018.

I'm proud of these accomplishments, but in my life I've met all kinds of snobs who asked me what I did for a living. When I told them I was an artist, I sounded like a stubborn grantee who lives off the hook of the state. In Robert Lepage's play, "The Needles and Opium", with texts by Jean Cocteau written in the 30s or 40s. He said that one day, we will prevent men from dreaming. I believe his prophecy came true the way we treat avant-garde artists. Today, we freeze an entire generation with psychostimulants instead of focusing on their skills and their full potential. A large majority of those who are labeled ADHD have very impressive artistic talents for their age and this is often not encouraged. Nowadays, we train fewer and fewer people who have a general culture. Everything is designed so that we think as little as possible. Schools train more manpower for the interests of those who lead us. To people who complain about artists, I tell them that their life would be quite boring without all these creators who make them dream and forget the problems of their daily lives.


Today, I know my potential, maybe not completely, but I know that art has given me other successes. Since the end of 2016, I have been self-employed as a multidisciplinary artist. In 10 years of sobriety, I only had 2 and a half years which were very hard and it wasn't because I wanted to use drugs. In 2015, I realized that art therapy helped me for the first 6 years to the point that I thought it was my only lifeline to help me. But towards the end of 2015.  I lived from what was going to put my resilience  hardship. At that time, my mental balance was very fragile because there were a lot of hard things to face cold. I was happy because I didn't want to consume. By dint of trying to be my superman in all spheres of my life, I ended up losing my balance, which was already deficient at certain levels. For almost a year, I was in readjustment of medications. Fortunately, I learned to put into practice a lot of therapeutic tools. I thought I was safe from major depression because I stopped using drugs and that gave me another life lesson. At that time, I realized that I had neglected certain spheres of my life and that I now had to organize this inner chaos that reigned in certain spheres of my life. It was a very hard period but fortunately, I managed to use the therapeutic tools that I acquired. So I tackled several problems to get to their roots. At that time, I simultaneously experienced an early midlife crisis from the age of 36. The kind of crisis that makes us take stock of our lives. I realized how lucky I was despite all the problems I had and those I created for myself. Because of consumption, I lost almost everything.  Fortunately, my family did not cut ties with me as they could have.

I realize today that I did well to choose myself and to invest in my full potential. I will always remember my first panic attack in 1997 after a very  big party and I had the scare of my life with an unbearable aftermath.  Looking back, I realize how lucky I am because I partied for 15 years and, since I stopped using, I realize that I am still alive: I could be a vegetable or have cirrhosis or full Other problems.


Every time I see old friends I've partied with, I realize even more how strong the human body is because these people have continued to party and I'm still amazed to see that they don't have a health problem or that they are not dead.


Around the beginning of 2016, I didn't understand everything that was happening to me.  Even though I was no longer using, I felt depressed like the last years of using. I was afraid to go back to that time but luckily I knew I could never use again in my life. During this period, I was doing positive introspection and remembering negative and positive stuff. In these moments, we tend to focus on the negative to such an extent that it eclipses everything that is positive in us.


When we have generalized anxiety, we don't feel like taking walks. Sometimes, this invisible evil is so omnipresent in our lives that we feel like running away, avoiding all the things that are anxiety-provoking. Today, I no longer allow myself to be paralyzed as was the case during my last years of consumption.  In 2016, I was tempted to isolate myself and called a counselor who I can call when I experience more anxiety.  It had been a long time since I had spoken to him. She made me realize how far I had come from the beginning of my therapy until today. She said to me: "Do you realize that you have realized  one of your dreams that you told me about when we first met. Do you remember when you started your therapy, you dreamed of going back to the stage to do shows, to start doing openings again and you dreamed of reading your poems in front of an audience. At the time, it seemed impossible to you because of this anxiety which paralyzed several spheres of your life. When she told me that, I realized that I had realized this dream when my friend David Goudreault invited me to take part in the Grande Nuit de la poetry in 2016 to read 2 of my poems. That's when I realized, when I started my therapy for anxiety, that I was completely paralyzed by this invisible evil.  I had a hard time spending more than 15 minutes with this therapist because I was experiencing such anxiety that I had a hard time talking about it. Every time she tried to get me to identify all the times I was feeling it and talking about how much it was doing to me in my life just made me more anxious. It was very hard to spend more than 15 minutes which seemed endless to me. When she spoke to me about this period, she made me realize that I was now able to go and read my poems in front of an audience and to repeat openings without needing alcohol to feel good in the public. She's right: and she made me do some of the work I did on myself.


To get out of this depression, I quickly realized that it was vital to find balance in all spheres of my life. I felt that once again, my inner voice was going to tell me what to do. One day when I was receptive, she told me to pay it forward. Afterwards, I realized that I had been lucky to have received help in therapy and that I had to use the therapeutic tools that I acquired to raise awareness by giving conferences. to witness what the arts have done to overcome my drug addiction, cure my mental health issues and anxiety. Subsequently, I contacted stakeholders who helped me to start sowing to achieve this new objective. I realized that I had to give testimonies and lectures because I too had been in the depths of the abyss.  So I gave myself this new goal to achieve to give back to show others that it is possible to change a life from A to Z to improve your quality of life.


In 2018, I started getting involved with professors from the University of Sherbrooke and their students, future social workers. I became in a way a kind of expert-user. It is a great pleasure to participate in the training of social work students. I started with the barometer project and the students I evaluated liked my journey. It makes me grow as a human and makes me feel good to give back. It was one of the best experiences I had that year. The cross-fertilization of knowledge is brilliant.  It was very rewarding to meet people from different backgrounds. It allowed me to put my grain of salt with them thanks to my experience as an expert-user. I'm happy because it added strings to my bow by touching on subjects that fascinate me in relation to mental health and people.


I also started to get involved in 3 committees and that opened other doors for me. As I have acquired several therapeutic tools, my experience can help a little to advance things in social work. In short, these new projects made me grow as a person. Since I got involved, there are doors that open to give talks to students. It's stimulating to meet passionate people who are committed to building a better world. Paying it forward does me a world of good, like the arts and creation.  In the toughest times, it allows me to enjoy life. Fortunately, the gaps in my illness that disconnect me from the present moment are becoming increasingly rare. I still have to stay vigilant to maintain my balance.  It's become a mantra for me.


In January 2019  I started a course  at the university which is unique in America  and for me it's one more dream come true. I'm going to be 40 in April and I realized that as I went to the School of Life there are a lot of things that will help me in my course. The group is really fun and we have great teachers and I'm happy to be part of their class  who will inspire me in the arts I practice. I have the class of my dreams in college and talking to a teacher I realize once again that the possibilities are endless. It's fun because it will allow me to connect this to what I do in creation. In creation I have always liked when the possibilities are endless because it is the playground that I like the most. I love it because as it revolves around social work I will be able to put my two cents in the training of future social workers and it's fun because my experience allows me to give to the next! It's never too late to go back to school!


Yesterday I went to brainstorm with the teachers, the user experts and with 2 social work students. It's stimulating to participate in a unique project in the world that is truly original at the University with this team of enthusiasts with whom I get involved to move projects forward towards new horizons. It is a pleasure to take part in all these laboratories of ideas where new and original voices advance knowledge.


I received a nice big dose of love from my friends and colleagues with whom I get involved in a committee at the CIUSSS de l'Estrie. Today I met social workers who are creating lots of business for the Barometer project with which I have been involved in different ways since last winter. When I gave my name in order to get involved with the component that deals with addictions, I dreamed of getting involved on the creative and artistic side and also that I could give a testimony to the people who go to this center who helps drug addicts. This is what will happen. I attended this center for my second and third detoxes and I was followed by a psychologist who believed in me and that made all the difference. Today it's my turn to put my shoulder to the wheel in my areas of expertise, however minimal they may be. I was very moved when the social workers presented the project to the committee to brainstorm with the committee in which I am involved. My friends and colleagues have said that I would be the perfect person to introduce this therapeutic tool to drug addicts.


Right now, I'm on cloud nine. It's good to hear positive and constructive comments. It will be stimulating to give back and get involved in this new project that is close to my heart. We're going to have a great team to work with!


What also helps me is having increased the time to do brisk walks. I try to continue to take the same number of hours of walking during all seasons.  As we lack light in winter, brisk walking helps me less to sink into depressive states.  Some people do light therapy but I prefer to exercise outside because nature is the best source of energy.

Since I found the source of my problem, I work on my raw material to reprogram all the cognitive distortions of which I was the craftsman. If you have the chance to go to therapy, I recommend it because it helps to get to the source of many problems. My experience has shown me that it helps much more than any pill, the majority of which do not cure sores. They are often "plasters" that we put on our sores.  Often they create other health problems that can be more serious. I did therapy for drug addiction and one for anxiety. For that of anxiety I had the chance to come across a worker who was the best therapist I have seen in my life. In the community, we have experts who can change your life from A to Z.


One last tip. When you do therapy, it's important to tell yourself that it's going to be the last and that you decide to invest 100% in finding the source of a problem.  IF more people did therapy, maybe the world would be a better place! But the pharmaceutical would lose a lot of money.!


These days, far too many doctors prescribe prescriptions during the first consultation when she is only going through a temporary episode of fatigue due to the metro, work-to-sleep lifestyle. It is not in 15 minutes that we can evaluate a person. By dint of over-medicating anyone, we open Pandora's boxes that will create other health problems. If we listened to doctors, a large majority of people would have TDH or ADHD or suffer from depression. We should first look at our current way of life and the fact that we live in a world that has more and more stimuli and responsibilities. It is normal that our concentration is not optimal or that we have depressive episodes with the crazy lives we lead.


In 2016, I saw a social worker who helped me in the past during a time when I was at rock bottom. She was happy to see the crazy work I did to change my life.  She then told me what struck me. In her 20-year career, I was the only one of her clients who overcame her drug addiction (and she's seen stories of it all). As I said in my first coming out, there are only 5% (check the %) of drug addicts who succeed in overcoming their problem. I consider myself privileged that Life has put this kind of people on my path, otherwise I would have been shipwrecked.


Question health, I quickly realized that I had to space out my future artistic projects in space-time over long periods. As I have a compulsive side, creating is like a drug for me. Its side effects are 80% positive. But I will have to dose in the future for the negative 20%.  Over time I will be able to let my ideas mature and they will bear fruit. As my father always told me, you need a fallow time in creation. Fallow is an agricultural term where the land is allowed to rest between harvests.


Over time, what we experience makes us see things in life from a new angle.  Plume Latraverse has already said (quote +-exact) that the basin of the imaginary empties and fills. Today, when I have the white page syndrome, I know that my inspiration is still simmering.  What I live and the culture I consume will influence my future creations as it has always done during my life.


I take advantage of my ten years of abstinence to say a big THANK YOU to the artists whose music and their poetry I have listened to, to those I have read, to their exhibitions and their openings as well as to those who make films and series: I say to them “Thank you”  because  they are like white canes in my life. Every time I'm less well, they give me a backbone. Feeding off the vast eclectic culture that I compulsively consume, I would like to say that their works have often served as my guide in the desert that I have crossed.  When I listen to them in interviews, their valuable advice is often like a kind of spiritual GPS that makes me see the light at the end of the tunnel.


This coming-out is only the tip of the iceberg because I keep a secret garden for myself. In 5 years, I will make a new account of my life to testify to my evolution and to demonstrate that the theory of evolution also exists for drug addicts who try to change their life by art therapy.

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What I wish I had known before taking anti-depressants
by Florianne Phillipe-Beauchamp

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I wrote, illustrated, produced, and self-published What I Wish I Knew Before Taking Antidepressants in the Months After I came off  psychiatric drugs in 2016, filling a desperate need to share my knowledge of the pangs of psychiatric medication with the intention of supporting others in their bodily and medical autonomy. My zine received a lot of interest from the public and was a finalist for the 2016 Expozine award in the Best French zine category.

I had never put it online for two reasons: I had put a lot of love and effort into this zine as an object in itself, and I really like its materiality. Additionally, I've been working on an upcoming edition of the zine for the past few years, and I've been eager to share everything I've learned since it was first published. This rewrite has become a much more comprehensive  project that I still intend to complete one day, years from now, when my career in dance and somatic sex education will be less of a priority.

The time has come to freely share this document, a very precious piece of me. Six years after my withdrawal from antidepressants, I am deeply impressed by my desire for such radical well-being that pushed me to change my life, and by my courage to have shared my experience. I continue to unlearn perfectionism and bring you this zine that would be different if I published it today.

If you have the desire and the opportunity to contribute, I warmly accept donations of any amount to .

Download the zine here

A little about Florianne...

My creative and educational process focuses on sensuality as a vehicle for personal and social transformation. I am a genderqueer, pansexual trans dancer, performance artist, sexuality educator and am in the process of certification as a somatic sex educator and Sexological Bodyworker.

Florianne's website:

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