Once stuck in a vicious cycle of alcohol abuse to dull the debilitating impacts of depression and anxiety, Drew Davies has turned over a new leaf. As he eyes his future with newfound optimism, Drew reflects on his path so far and the key secrets of his success.
“I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for most of my adult life, having been on different medications and hospitalised a few times. I guess I felt like I had no control, so I relied on alcohol to self-medicate. It’s only been the last few years that I’ve come out of that.”
Finding the right medication was a turning point for Drew, whose decision to banish the booze and get healthy is something he’s proud and grateful for every day.
“There was a lot of trial and error before I found the right medication. That changed things a lot. With the support of loved ones, I got away from alcohol and began exercising instead. I also found that art really helped me. My goal is to remain healthy and stay on top of those things that threaten to pull me down.”
While creativity is commonplace in his role as a graphic designer, Drew found sharing his personal artwork with the world to be a different experience entirely.
“Recovered Futures was my first ever exhibition – I’d never been confident enough to show my work before. Art is a very personal thing. I certainly wasn’t expecting to sell both my pieces! I think the art exhibition is a fantastic opportunity – reading artist’s stories reiterates the fact that you’re not alone in your struggles. I’m so glad I stumbled across it and can’t wait to be involved again next year.”
|"Hazy Nostalgia" by Drew Davies on display at the 2022 Recovered Futures Art Exhibition.
While he was always a creative child, the importance of art in maintaining a balanced lifestyle has grown over the years for Drew.
“Art is something I do for my wellbeing; it clears my head. At the end of the day, it’s great to shut down my computer, go downstairs, listen to music and do some painting. I guess I would call myself a ‘Sunday painter’ – it’s not something I could do for a living at the moment, however as retirement grows closer, I look forward to spending more time on my art and seeing where it may take me.”
Drew has learnt many lessons from the curve balls thrown to him over the years – not least of which is the importance of accepting your situation, rather than constantly fighting against it. Through acceptance, he says, you can move forward.
“In the past, I’d stop taking medication and go back to drinking. I now realise that depression and anxiety are likely always going to be a part of my life. It’s something you learn to live with and each year as you grow older, that maturity helps you to cope and deal with it that little bit better. You recognise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it just takes time.”
Drew recognises that his experience is one of millions from across the globe – and there’s something humbling in that fact. While not everyone has lived in the shadow of the black dog or felt the gut-churning, debilitating grasp of anxiety, he says everyone has something to gain by standing in the shoes of another.
“One of the biggest lessons of life is realising that so many people are having a hard time with their mental health. You may get a reaction from someone that makes you think, ‘maybe not everything’s going well for that person’. With life experience, I’ve certainly become a less judgemental and more compassionate person.”