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The Artist Making Difficult Feelings Go Viral

Mental illness is complicated, but not talking about it doesn’t make it less so. Part of our mission is to help people feel better, both physically and mentally, and while CBD can help, there are many tools you can lean on for support. Mental Health Memos is a series that delves into the importance of destigmatizing mental illness and shines a light on those who are using their voice to bring these conversations to front and center. 

Instagram isn’t often associated with stillness or introspection, but Melody Hansen isn’t your typical Instagram user. “With every truth I write, shame breaks down brick by brick,” she hand-writes on a recent post. “Every heavy feeling, gently embraced,” says another. Her account is less a platform for self-promotion and more a safe space where hard feelings go to get softened.

Originally from Lausanne, Switzerland, and residing in LA by way of Toronto, Hansen’s work is like the CBD of the social media-friendly artist community; a calming entourage of illustration, graphic design, insightful writing, lettering, and healing writing workshops. Oh, and she’s an accomplished musician.

But it’s the simply-worded honesty (and classically-minimal Nordic aesthetic) in Hansen’s art that’s attracted an audience of almost 100K followers. More than an artist, she’s become a diarist, an unintentionally therapeutic source of inspiration, and a gateway to emotional catharsis for the people who connect with what she does.

How much did you consciously set out to create the feelings-based artistic output that you’re known for? 

Wasn’t a conscious decision at all. I think I’ve always moved through life with deep emotions and kept it all in. It was once I started to doodle more in my notebooks in high school that I started using that as an outlet. Eventually, I started sharing those doodles, and only recently have I been taking myself more seriously as an artist and writer.

What does expressing yourself in this way do for you emotionally? 

It makes room for my emotions to breathe. It brings more clarity to what I’m feeling. Sharing anything publicly always leaves me feeling very vulnerable, I think there will always be fear in that act. But I also feel it to be necessary. 

What are the best and worst things about making a living through social media? How do you protect your mental health from Insta-fatigue?

I don’t know if I can say I’m making my living through social media. It definitely connects me to people faster, but I still feel like most of the work I need to do is outside of the internet. “Insta-fatigue” to me is more “phone fatigue” when I’m just on my phone out of habit and my mind doesn’t feel alive. Walking, journaling, painting, or watching documentaries gives my mind life. And sitting in silence for a while.

Insta-fatigue” to me is more “phone fatigue” when I’m just on my phone out of habit and my mind doesn’t feel alive. Walking, journaling, painting, or watching documentaries gives my mind life.
What about the stresses that come with being a self-employed creative? How do you cope with them?

I don’t know if I’ve figured that out yet. I take naps a lot. Is that coping?

What about your other daily self-care practices?

I don’t really have a routine. I love walking. I talk to myself out loud when processing. I pray. Try to drink enough water. And to be honest, I’ve learned that people are really important for my mental health. Talking through things with people closest to me. Being around them, if I can be.

How can art help heal us?

Art is like the language of the soul. It converses with our core I believe, and with that, comes healing in this beautiful supernatural way. 

What are your five favorite feeling/emotion adjectives (at this moment)?

Fierce, heavy, dramatic, moving, gloomy.

Jerico MandyburJerico Mandybur Best-selling spiritual author, writer, and creative coach.

Likes: Thunderstorms, making playlists, my dog.
Dislikes: Litterbugs.