Artist puts mental health in spotlight in South Shields exhibition

Artist Danielle Waterworth exhibition at Hawthorn Arts
Artist Danielle Waterworth exhibition at Hawthorn Arts

An artist from South Tyneside has laid bare the anguish of her battle with depression and anxiety in a new exhibition.

Danielle Waterworth bravely captured on camera various images of herself as she suffered panic attacks and bouts of depression.

Artist Danielle Waterworth exhibition at Hawthorn Arts

Artist Danielle Waterworth exhibition at Hawthorn Arts

The 23-year-old hopes her exhibition - a mixture of photography and digital images, entitled Windows To The Soul - will raise awareness of the complexities of the illness which can take over and destroy people’s lives.

Her work is currently on view at Hawthorn Arts, in Westoe Road, South Shields.

Danielle is currently studying a masters degree in design at Sunderland University after taking a break from studying when she was hit by depression and anxiety.

She said: “During my year out I got really bad to the point where I couldn’t leave the house.

“I think I’ve had anxiety and depression since I was about 11. At the time people just told me to buck up.

“It wasn’t until I finally went to the doctors two years ago that I was finally diagnosed. I had hit a really low point in my life, I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do with my life and thought everything was pointless.

“I just thought one day, I need to get out of this situation. I need to help myself. That’s when I took the decision to do my masters degree and this project.”

Danielle was keen to show the raw emotion of herself as she struggled through panic attacks and bouts of depression in a bid to help people gain a greater understanding of the illness she battles each day.

She also hoped the images would help others who feel the same to not feel so alone.

Over the course of a year, Danielle let her camera roll as she felt herself crumble inside in a bid to capture the real image of what life is like for someone living with depression and anxiety.

She added: “I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished. It was one of the hardest years of my life.

“It is a bit of a mixed emotions looking at the images as I was in my most vulnerable state, but I also feel a sense of confidence. I am showing my most vulnerable side in the hope it will help people to understand the seriousness of the illness.

“I still struggle with it but people are now talking about it and sharing their own stories, so it’s obviously working.”

The exhibition is on show between 10am and 2pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.