- Martha is a UK-based painter and illustrator. Much of her work is centered around her experiences with mental illness.
- She recently put on an exhibition titled Intrusions with friend Natalie Favaloro, exploring what it's like to live with Pure OCD.
- You can keep up with her at www.marthalamont.com
Tell us about yourself — who are you, where do you live, what do you like?
I’m an artist who lives in Hackney. I like to cook, dance and make art. I’m a big lover of London, and am lucky enough to have a very supportive boyfriend and great bunch of mates who I get to explore the city with.
When were you first diagnosed with OCD? What drove you to seek help?
Two years ago, I had a mental breakdown when very stressed. I was experiencing a high intensity of intrusive thoughts towards my partner which didn’t feel like my own or matched reality. It was incredibly debilitating and I couldn’t go to work without crying all day. I then sought help and realized my symptoms closely matched OCD.
What coping tools help you manage your condition?
Bringing it along for the ride is key in OCD recovery. Not letting the anxiety control my decisions. Self-care is crucial for me personally. It ensures I have a balanced life while working on acceptance of my fears. I often slip up when I try and juggle too much in life and become vulnerable to mental health.
When did your venture into art begin? Has your work helped you better understand and address your anxiety?
I’ve always been an artist at heart, and have practiced for my whole young adult and teen life. However, my work started to become more personal when I started suffering with mental illness, which is something I am strangely thankful for. Putting it on paper and canvas enabled me to get some space from my anxiety, and helped me better understand it. It has always been a very therapeutic practice for me. When I don’t have time to do it, like right now, I feel like a bit of me is missing.
Do you think art plays an important role in breaking down mental health stigma?
Definitely. Explaining how you feel in words is often very challenging. A picture can tell a story, while simultaneously conveying an emotion in a very powerful way (when done right). I’m not good with words, but I’ve often painted how I feel for my loved ones so they can understand a bit better.
What recommendations would you give to other OCD sufferers?
Reach out to a professional. It’s hard to do this on your own. If you can’t afford it, read the books suggested on OCD Recovery UK’s instagram. It’s a game changer. Also, if you feel you comfortable – share your story. The more we chat the more awareness is raised!
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your work/OCD experience?
I’m always up for chats and suggestions of what people would like to see more of in my work. I am currently at the beginning of a portrait series. I want to interview people who struggle with their mental health, and try and convey their feelings through painting. If anyone is interested in sitting for me and sharing their story, please reach out!
Martha is an artist living in Hackney, London. She hopes to qualify as an art teacher next year and share her passion with young people. Martha has begun to direct the subject of her work around mental health. The content of her art is an attempt to illustrate, paint and create ways of storytelling her own and others struggles. You can keep up with her on her website here, or on Instagram at @marthalamontart.