The following series of digital paintings depicts my healing journey through anxiety and depression. After 13 years of searching, I found the remedy, and it was so simple - self-love.
I have known my life coach, Dheera Gandhi, for about 2 years now, and over these 2 years, she has shown me multiple techniques that I plan to depict through a series of paintings.
The first technique was mirror work - it involved looking into the mirror and telling myself that I love myself. I had to look at every blemish, every blackhead, my wonky nose, and big forehead, and tell all parts of me that they're beautiful just the way they are. At first, it felt silly, and I felt so awkward doing it. Eventually, tears began to flow because I knew I had been starved for my own love and approval my entire life, and I finally felt like I was getting it. Now, 2 years later, it's so easy for me to blow myself a flying kiss every time I look in the mirror. I now know that as long as I have my own back, I'll be okay.
The second technique was - inner child meditations. It involved visualizing the younger versions of myself that felt anxious and sad and talking to them as the 27-year-old Maitreyi, asking them what their needs were, and giving them the protection and love they required at that time but didn't receive. For example, visualizing myself getting bullied as a child and then the adult version of me standing up to those bullies. I also often imagine myself playing games and drawing with my inner child.
Lately, I have also been thinking about all the activities that my inner child craves to do. For example, getting wet in the rain and then enjoying a warm cup of chai in a cozy place and I have been doing them as an adult and I can feel my inner child get giddy with excitement the way I used to at the thought of getting wet in the rains.
I remember as a child being both excited and afraid of indoor amusement playstations, like the one at Phoenix Mills in Mumbai called Funkie Orbit. All the tubes and turns were so scary yet exciting. I almost always needed an older kid to accompany me so I wouldn't get lost or overwhelmed. Therefore, I chose to depict a painting of my 5-year-old self being afraid of the tubes while the older version encourages her to try it out because she knows she will have a lot of fun.