ABSTRACT: For Your Eyes Only Growing up in a low-income black family, where resources were limited, mental health wasn’t something discussed. As a child, I would see my grandfather abuse my grandmother and struggle with alcohol abuse and until now, no one ever connected his behavior to a deeper issue. My siblings and I were encouraged that what happens in this house stays in this house. I also constantly heard that anyone on medication, was “crazy”. My family would iterate that “It’s too many people on that medicine.” That phrase began to represent the crime increase, car accidents, and just rude people in the neighborhood. As a result of this, I kept my death wishes to myself, I cried on the bathroom floor when everyone was sleep, and blamed my sleeping all day on me being tired. Although I continued to think, this will all be over one day, the opposite happened. My depression progressed to the point where I didn’t even wish for death anymore because this was life. Life was dysfunction and irrationality and misunderstanding. It was only until I got to college and couldn’t hide it anymore, I was encouraged to go to counseling. Over the summer of 2016 I fought my negative connotations against medication and decided to try it. January 5, 2017 was the first time I ever told my parents what I had been going through. Even though I am on antidepressants and going to counseling every week, depression for me is an ongoing battle. Trying to find the “right” medication, trying to learn the difference between rationality and irrationality, and even learning about who I am as a person and not who my depression makes me is a continuous struggle. This is why I decided that for my thesis project, I am going to tell everyone about my experiences.

My thesis project called, For Your Eyes Only is a collage quilt that expresses my mental, physical, and spiritual experiences as a person that is going through and has been diagnosed with depression. The quilt represents that part of myself that has remained hidden for a long time. It represents my voice and my outlook on my depression now. For Your Eyes Only is me shouting to everyone about my experiences and letting out everything that I have held in for so long. The quilt is a mixed media conceptual art work that requires me to meditate through sewing in order to make myself vulnerable and open to my audience. Everything in this quilt is intentional and represents the challenging, experimental, and chaotic elements of my life with depression through the various stitch patterns and layering. The back of the quilt represents the progressing but unfinished process that I am currently going through with my depression. This work allows me to self reflect by revisiting my dark thoughts and dark experiences and practice acceptance within myself. Through the process of this project, I have been able look at myself as a survivor of my life struggles and my ultimate struggle with depression. I have also been able to self actualize and learn who I am as a person, along with realizing that depression does not make me. The title, For Your Eyes Only, is inspired from a saying that I had in the inside cover of one of my diaries. It plays off of the idea of my quilt being a secret – so reading it is just like reading someone’s diary – but because it’s a huge quilt revealed to everyone, I want to build that intimate relationship with the viewer and create more of a conversation between my quilt and the viewer. This quilt has made a huge impact on me and I can only hope that it will connect with my audience as well.