'I tackle depression through my artwork'

media captionBex draws a monster to illustrate how anxiety makes her feel

As a 24-year-old with various mental health conditions, life can be difficult for Bex, but her artwork is an outlet for the things going on in her head.

"It's good for my self esteem. I love to make art. I did my degree in fine art and I still try and keep it up."

Bex is one of four Radio 1 listeners we've been following throughout 2017 for our iPlayer documentary My Mind and Me as they deal with the highs and lows of mental health conditions.

She's been diagnosed with conditions including anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder and depression.

Her final piece of her fine-art degree was based around mental health and she was awarded a first for it.

image copyrightBex

Bex's degree show installation was her portrayal of what it's like to live with depression.

She told Newsbeat: "It was taking words and phrases from everyday conversations and then I applied them in an installation room.

"Not so much a drawing or painting but more covering a room, head-to-toe in words and sentences that are associated with depression.

"So it had words like 'listen', 'doubt' and 'get up'... mundane things like that but once you were in the room it all came together.

"There was also a bench in there that I made so it allowed people to walk into the space and walk on the art work, sit on the bench and take it all in."

image copyrightBex

The facilities at university meant she could do more art than she does now.

"Because I'm not at uni I just need to make do with what I can access. So I can do my painting at home, my sewing, drawing and stuff like that."

One of the pieces Bex has been working on is a series of drawings showing how anxiety feels to her.

Bex's cat, Zac, provides inspiration these days but her mum's an artist so it's always been a part of her life.

"It wasn't until I was doing my A-levels, though, that I got into my art a bit more.

"That's when it was helping a lot with my mental health because that was the time when my mental health was declining.

"So art was quite a good way to get it all out without talking or anything like that.

"It gives my mind something to focus on and it's a good distraction."

image copyrightBex

"I think that being creative in any kind of way is good for anyone's mental health really.

"And when people say 'I can't draw', 'oh I can't do this' - some of the great artists of the world aren't brilliant at drawing but it's just what you do.

"You make a mess and it's fun. No one needs to see it."

If you're struggling with your mental health or any of the difficulties mentioned in this article you can find help at BBC Advice.

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