Depression – You Are Not Alone – Aaron Paquette

Aaron Paquette

Aaron PaquetteEDMONTON – HEALTH – I suffer from depression.

I know it well. It’s been with me my entire life.

Sometimes it’s worse, sometimes it’s better, and if you don’t know it, pray that you never do.

It usually hits me about twice a year and for the past few weeks I worked through a pretty bad one.

I tell you this because there’s nothing wrong with it.

Yes, it can feel like a curse in this society, but I see it for what it is…a blessing. It slows me down, it reminds to be patient, it teaches me compassion. It has become one of my greatest sources of strength. Mainly because I have stepped aside from society and mostly live in a world and reality of my choosing.

I’ve discovered how to work through it and come out the other side. I’ve learned to create as much as I can in the times in between, to get as many jobs done as possible. If you looked at my schedule when I’m in full flight you would not believe it.

But not everyone is as lucky. Not everyone has discovered how to get by and make it through.

And this is why:To make it through, you must figure out WHAT YOUR PURPOSE IS!

I’m not driven by fear, and I’m not driven by reward. I’m driven by the sheer joy of creating something. Of the prospect of making the world a better place.

We live in a world of grids and boxes. Look around. Practically everything falls into a grid or box. Our roads, fields, schedules, calendars, classrooms, and on and on.If you want to kill the creative soul of someone, that place that gives motivation and purpose beyond reason, then you couldn’t have designed a better system than the one we’ve got. It kills creativity like an abattoir.

And it feeds, misunderstands and exacerbates mental illness through it’s linear indifference.

Try it. Exert control over others. Motivate them with pain or reward and see what happens. You get people who begin to give up. They just do what they are told.

However…if you give someone freedom. If you give them a place to play, a place to dream, a place to try things out and develop their skills…you get people who are alive and tuned into their own growth.

In other words you get engagement.

And when you are engaged with your own life, you are finding your purpose.

The reason I tell you this is because we are confined by limiting beliefs. We’re trapped by expectations and rules for the sake of rules. We are imprisoned in a system that tells you that you can’t make a difference, that you can’t actually change things and worst of all: that your life is small and unimportant.

That’s a lie. You are insanely amazing.

Yes, you. You might as well own that. Own your flaws and your mistakes and your errors. Own your beauty, your triumphs and your good heart. Own it all. This is your journey, don’t you know that?

We all have tough times. We all have intolerable circumstances, and we all can do something about it.

I get many messages a day from people who are hurting. They describe their life in excruciating detail, focused on all the things that are wrong. They will send me paragraphs about how wrong their lives are.

I can’t help them. Neither can you. They don’t ask for help, they demand you fix their problems, and that’s a very important distinction. Until they start seeing the things that are right with their lives, and understanding that the difference for them will come when they allow it, they won’t even accept help. It won’t be exactly how they want it.

So don’t focus on dragging the unwilling up. Instead turn your energy to yourself. Yes, that’s right. Be selfish.

What I mean is, give yourself the gift and time to become awesome at something. Work at it. Be uncomfortable in your lack of skill, knowledge and ability and get better and better. And then do it all over again with something else.

You’ll feel accomplished. You’ll feel competent. You’ll start to realize that there are very few obstacles in this life except those we place unwittingly upon ourselves.

Very few people can be awesome without accomplishment. Well, except in their own minds. So if you don’t feel awesome, then you have to find out what you have mastery in.

For example, I am trying to learn the guitar. I’m working on singing. I write whenever I can. And I paint. Some people think I have achieved mastery in my painting. I tell you I have very far to go. In fact, the longer I work at it, the more I see I will never reach the end.

I wish this type of realization for you.

I wish that you become a servant of humanity, of dedicating your gifts to to bettering the condition of your fellow person.

I wish that you become a servant of the world, that it’s a little cleaner, a little more diverse, a little more vital because you were here.

And you get there by being a servant to yourself. Serve your needs for fun, for play, for challenge and for accomplishment.

If you are not actively engaged in accomplishing something great you will not experience long term, soul satisfying happiness. There’s no way around that.

Fill your life with so much meaning that you have no room to live vicariously through someone else’s life. Be your own person.

Make a difference in this world.



And be kind.

The fastest route to a genuine smile is through the one you give another person.

You are amazing. And you’ll know it when you decide that this is the day you’re going to start showing it.

And you’ll have your ups and your downs. If you’re like me you’ll walk through the grey mists from time to time. As long as you are engaged in your own life and that engagement inspires you to serve this planet, you will always make it through.

So please, live not just your life, but your best life. Don’t just shine, shine like a supernova star. And don’t just give, give it all you’ve got and never give up.

Be that person. Be that person who changes this world. Even if that means you just change things a little for yourself, for the better.

And start right now.

Hiy hiy.

Aaron Paquette

words and art:

In light of recent events I thought I’d share this post again.

I know it’s hard sometimes. Everyone else can seem so happy and fulfilled while you are not. They can look so safe and carefree and in love.

On the other side, they can look so empty and sad, so cold and hopeless.

Sad news, chaos, etc awakens a pretty deep sensitivity for a lot of people and they suffer from it.

To those who suffer, please find the strength to reach out. No one important will judge you. And to those who see the suffering, be gentle, kind and giving. Be inviting and patient.

In our world of quick fixes depression can be frustrating. There is no quick fix, but there is always the ability to give love and understanding.

Such simple acts of compassion can change, or even save, a life.

hiy hiy.

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    Aaron Paquette is one of Canadaʼs premiere First Nations artists known for his bright colours, strong lines and for sharing new ways of looking at age-old experiences and beliefs. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Aaron has been creating art for the past 20 years. He apprenticed and has become both a Cathedral Stained Glass artist and a Goldsmith, influences of which can be seen in the line and structure of his paintings – displayed in various galleries throughout the country. Aaron is also an experienced facilitator, trainer and engaging public speaker. He has worked with the Royal Conservatory’s adjunct program -Learning Through the Arts- as both a Mentor Artist and as the First Nations Representative and Consultant in Alberta. This experience focused on providing the skills and background knowledge for infusing differentiated learning within the general curriculum in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. Aaron has collaborated with Ministries, Teachers’ Associations, and various community members and teachers, providing region wide teacher workshops and in- school experiences related to the art curriculum that also provide an FNMI perspective. Through this collaboration, he also provides student workshops, professional development sessions and artist-in- residence programs. A skilled communicator, Aaron has worked with Alberta Education in reconciliation, specifically between communities and school administration. He has worked for years with the Edmonton Public School Board with both in-class sessions and special sessions for promising young artists. The Catholic School Boards in the Central and Northern Alberta region have also enlisted Aaron in many projects ranging from elementary school visits that tie art into curricular learning to mural painting with High School students.