Mental illness can affect people directly and indirectly. Taylor Flinn indirectly experienced mental illness through a family member but did not realize it. Flinn explains how she dealt with mental illness: “As a child, I never really noticed it [mental illness] because we never really talked about it. I can recall as a child a family member having an ‘episode.’ The adults had all the children leave the room and we never talked about it again.”
Today, many family members are still finding ways to cope mental illness but Taylor is embracing the disorder by having artists quietly create their artistic thoughts on canvas.
What is Quiet Thoughts On A Canvas?
Quiet Thoughts On A Canvas is an organization that brings awareness and understanding to topics never discussed through live painting.
How did you arrive at creating the organization focusing on mental illness?
Quiet Thoughts On A Canvas was created when I lost a family member to a mental illness. I consider myself a problem-solver but when you experience the loss of a loved one, you can’t solve that. The only thing I know how to do is make others aware and end the stigmas placed upon mental illness and mental health. Mental Illness will always be the main topic for the organization but I want to touch on all topics that we tend to brush under the rug such as domestic violence, human trafficking, water for Flint [Michigan] and more.
Tell me more about Embracing the Disorder. What is it and what can people anticipate?
Quiet Thoughts On A Canvas is proud to present its first live painting event focusing on mental illness and the importance of mental health. This series is titled Embracing The Disorder. This event consists of five artists live painting a visual representation of the following mental illnesses: anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar and suicide. After two hours of live painting, we will auction off the painting and all of the proceeds will go towards Mental Health America Of Georgia. There will also be a panel discussion with three keynote speakers sharing “Why do we suffer in silence?” We will also present our first documentary where several individuals share their struggles with mental illness as well as loving someone with a mental illness. Those who attend this event can expect a good time as well as a positive perspective on mental illness and mental health.
Are there any stigmas affecting the Black community in regard to mental illness? In your opinion, what are some steps we can do to change the stigma?
Yes, I believe there are plenty of stigmas within the Black community. Creating this event is one. I often feel as if I am sharing too much information [about mental illness] and fear that others will look at me differently. The first step I believe is to start the conversation and seek help. When I lost my family member, I was confused and felt so many different emotions because it was so sudden. I went to a therapist to talk to someone who didn’t know me and how I felt. People shouldn’t feel embarrassed to seek help from professionals who can help people cope with traumatic situations. At the end of it all, be free from the quiet thoughts in our mind.
Is your event Embracing the Disorder a way of breaking down stigma and barriers?
Yes. I feel this is a start of a new way to express mental illness through visual representation. When you mention mental illness, people assume it means you are crazy. When you attend this event, I want others to understand that we all have experienced some form of mental illness and didn’t even know. When I relocated to Georgia and graduated from college, it was so much pressure on me to succeed in a new city. After nine months of no success and no steady job, I started feeling nervous. After searching my symptoms, I saw the definition for anxiety. The only thing I could do was cry and panic. At 23 years old, I was experiencing anxiety and didn’t even know it. After educating myself on different mental illnesses, I am now able to learn how to protect my mental health. This event is to share with others the different forms of mental illness and the importance of mental health.
What is next for Taylor?
Wow. That is a question. I would have to direct that to God. I had been battling with this event for over a year and I can say it wasn’t something I wanted to do because I have to share my thoughts and life with others. The start of this organization is the only thing that has kept me sane through it all, so this is something that I have to do. This is all God’s doing, so wherever he leads me, I will follow. I hope this organization allows me to travel to different cities and host more events.
Learn more about Quiet Thoughts on A Canvas at WWW.Quietthoughtsonacanvas.com