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Artist Spotlight: Carissa Belham

Carissa Belham is an extremely accomplished young woman – she works part-time, owns her own creative business and has just written a memoir. But it’s interesting to chat to Carissa about the concept of ‘success’ – something she’s struggled with over the years on her journey to self-acceptance.

“I used to buy into that traditional concept of success – making a lot of money, having a fancy car, working full time and working really hard. I worked in high-pressure sales roles for years. Once I reached a goal, I was onto the next one. There was no space for mindfulness or being grounded; I was always on the go.”

Artist, Carissa is combining her passions of art and mental wellness, Carissa is driven to help others.

A diagnosis of Bipolar disorder – after many tumultuous years spent in and out of hospital – has completely shifted Carissa’s perspective. She’s now found balance and stability in her life - something sorely needed after years of restlessness and disruption.

“I moved about five or six times throughout uni. Every time something went wrong, I just packed up my little car and away I went. I also moved cities. I avoided hardship by just shutting off my emotions and leaving. I’d find a new house and a new group of friends. It was exhausting; nothing flowed easily.”

“These days, my wellbeing is an absolute priority. I know the importance of sleep; I know how to calm myself and keep my emotions under control. I’ve been stable for a fair few years now and I’ve worked hard to find and maintain balance in my life.”

"Clarity" by Carissa Belham is on display at the 2021 Recovered Futures Art Exhibition.

Carissa founded her arts organisation, Risso Creative, with a goal of ‘enhancing wellbeing by creativity’. Combining her passions of art and mental wellness, Carissa is driven to help others.

“I’ve been through the experience that I have, so now I can lead by example. Risso Creative is all about setting an example and role-modelling wellbeing. Risso Creative to me is so important – whenever I feel lost or overwhelmed, I come back to it.”

As it stands, Carissa is getting ready to move again. But what’s different is this move isn’t a spontaneous, impulsive decision – it’s fulfilling a life dream and achieving a fresh start.

“I’ve accepted a role with my work on the Sunshine Coast; it’s always been a dream of mine to return to the Coast. I can’t tell you how empowering it is to be making this decision with a wise mind.”

“Success looks one way when you’re young and manic, but it’s completely different to me now. This time, I feel very successful driving away in my little car. Right now I feel like I’m winning.”