SOUL SEARCHING by Josée Lavigne

Recently I have been made aware of my past, my struggles, which I have worked very hard to transform, -not to forget, but to put in the back of my mind, as a way to continue on, continue living.
"I recommend seeing a psychiatrist", says a doctor at the clinic of the University where I am presently studying. …I am still struggling with forms of anxiety and depression (most specifically insomnia) - not as I was when I was struggling with an EDNOS when I was sixteen to twenty one, but there is still bits of me that need to be looked at, to make sure everything is well. Bits and pieces, that is what it is - bits of us that were fragmented, torn, …as we tried to face another day, another night… I am reminded how difficult it was, how lucky I was to have been able to transform day by day, into a living being, not merely surviving, but really living, loving, …myself, my body, this life. 

-Luck and courage and help and a need to find answers-

As an artist, I find I am able to transform my ideas and feelings into works that I can look at and that I can embrace. I can see myself through my works and try to understand myself and my life. I am lucky. I also find it is essential to try to understand ourselves as beings and that is where my community work comes in. Whether it’d be through testimonies, through community work, social art exhibitions, relational art projects, …it is my belief that we need to continue on searching and demand some answers. We are humans after all, simply trying to make sense of this world, this life. There is still some misconceptions surrounding mental illnesses but I have witnessed various changes in the last few years. It is a relief to me to hear others’ stories, others’ struggles. We need to continue reaching out, putting ourselves out there for others who are trying to understand and make sense of their lives. We are not alone. I am a lucky survivor and I will never forget that. 

Josée Lavigne is a 35 year old healthy woman who is living, working and studying in Montreal. She recovered from an EDNOS 14 years ago. Josée has done various community works in the Ottawa and Montreal regions to help others who are struggling with an eating disorder or to help raise awareness on EDs. Josée has donated paintings at the Eating Disorder clinic at the Douglas Hospital in Verdun. She has co-animated a closed support group for l’ANEB and has been a mentor for Hopewell. She has done several interviews and testimonies in the community and has recently participated in Hopewell’s group exhibition ‘A Common Beauty’.  She continues her work as an artist and art educator interested in a variety of subjects such as mental illnesses and most specifically body image and self-esteem. She hopes to create therapeutic and educational art workshops, in the near future, that would be made for ED sufferers.