Kate Allan Creates Must-Have Book For Depression and Anxiety Sufferers
*This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for more information.*
Kate Allan, creator of the popular mental health art blog, The Latest Kate, has created a new book that’s an essential read for anyone suffering from anxiety or depression.
You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression is filled with an assortment of cute, colorful illustrations of cuddly animals. With each adorable creature, Kate includes sentimental affirmations and valuable pieces of advice to help readers be more mindful about their own mental health.
As someone who struggles with anxiety and bipolar disorder, You Can Do All Things really instilled a new sense of hope in me, reminding me of my own strength and resilience. The beautiful, creative illustrations and thoughtful sayings in this book also encouraged me to take a step back and focus on taking good care of myself, too!
Here’s one of my favorite drawings by Kate:
I recently interviewed Kate to learn more about her book, as well as her personal experiences with anxiety. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: You Can Do All Things is all the mental health hacks that I’ve learned to this point. I, like many others, came into this world with no idea how to navigate anxiety and depression, so it’s been a lot of trial-and-error. I found that arguing my negative thoughts and showing myself compassion was the most effective form of mental health management, and that’s where the inspiration for the kind animals comes from.
My hope is that others can read through this book and get a bit of a boost. I don’t have a fix for depression or anxiety, but I can show everyone (including myself) that they’re not alone, their efforts matter, and that when you throw everything you can at the issue, things will improve.
Q: Can you tell me a little about your own experiences with anxiety?
A: I have experienced paralyzing worry and panic attacks since I was a child. It was difficult to focus in school and make friends when I was hesitant to join in any activity. I met milestones later than my peers, such as learning how to drive, getting a first job, having a boyfriend, and going to college. I didn’t understand how other people functioned when I was constantly under a blanket of fear and despair.
Q: When were you first diagnosed?
A: I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in my mid-twenties.
Q: How did you feel when you received the diagnosis?
A: Absolutely relieved! I think people have a negative association with receiving a diagnosis, perhaps thinking that it makes it “all more real” and is ultimately bad news. But in my case, a diagnosis was validation. A diagnosis meant I had a fighting chance. It put a name to a condition I had had since I was a child and had never figured out how to manage. For so long I thought I was just broken.
Q: What do you do to cope with your own anxiety/depression?
A: Oh, so many things. I think many people will identify with the list of things you try to keep on top of in order to stay above that fog of worry or hopelessness. Which, I mean, in a way is good because there are a lot of things to try if you’re having a rough time!
But to answer your question, I write, arguing against my thoughts and perceptions, and those writings often turn into captions for my mental health art blog, The Latest Kate. I connect with others who are also struggling, because in this world it’s so easy to feel like you’re alien or failing.
My friend Daniell and I have an agreement where we have a safe space in texting each other, letting out all our fears and self-loathing, and when we can, we kindly offer our own perspective in response. When I feel really gross and unlovable, I call my dad just so I can feel that connection. None of it is pretty, and it’s difficult to acknowledge that feeling okay again can require help from others. But I do think it’s important to face anxiety and depression head on, really dig into your mind and challenge those insidious thoughts and judgments about yourself.
Q: What advice would you give to others who suffer from anxiety and depression?
A: I think it’s really important to acknowledge what’s actually happening. So many people blame themselves or feel shame for struggling. The first step to not drowning in it is to compartmentalize and say, “This isn’t me, this is anxiety/depression.” Take a step back and just observe what’s going on. Show some self-compassion. If you have a really difficult time getting in that frame of mind, there are mindfulness exercises you can find online, or if possible, through a therapist.
Q: How do you come up with the ideas for your illustrations?
A: I find inspiration from multiple sources. I love Lisa Frank and 80’s/90’s cartoons like Sailor Moon and Jem and the Holograms. I love animals and colorful scenery. I generally draw first, and then caption depending on the mood/tone of the image.
Q: What do you want readers to know about your book?
A: My book contains over 150 encouraging and validating illustrations, as well as my personal stories of overcoming times of hopelessness and uncertainty. My goal is to help people feel validated and understood. I also hope people will recognize that every fear and hurt is temporary.
Q: What has helped you the most in dealing with your anxiety?
A: Oh, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), for sure. Part of that is breaking down every problem into doable steps and taking things on, one tiny step at a time. The tricky thing is ignoring the sense of discomfort and impending doom that comes along with facing adult life. Sometimes you just gotta give yourself a little while to panic and cry, and then face the thing anyway.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish by sharing this book with the world?
A: I want You Can Do All Things to be something people can add to their coping toolbox. It’s everything that has gotten me through hopelessness and suicidal ideation. It’s all the skills that have gotten me through paralyzing feelings of overwhelm. It’s kindness, encouragement, and a hug from someone who knows what it’s like to struggle and almost lose to anxiety and depression.
Q: What goals do you have for yourself moving forward?
A: Releasing the book is a dream come true, so I am feeling very accomplished right now! I want to enjoy this moment. I want to continue to dig into my experiences, create art, and become a more technically skilled illustrator as well as a graphic designer. I hope to someday become awesome at typography and not agonize over it so much!
Q: Can we expect to see more of your illustrations going forward?
A: Definitely! There can never be enough colorful unicorn and cat illustrations. I also have so many things I want to write about; the lies anxiety and depression tell us, defining characteristics of toxic relationships, finding self compassion despite physical imperfection. I have a continually growing text document of captions and comic ideas that I want to tackle. It’s silly, but I sometimes imagine time traveling and presenting my teenage self with this giant tome of knowledge to prevent a lot of pain and all that relationship nonsense.
Q: Any more books/artistic projects currently in the works?
A: No guarantees on publication, but my partner wrote me a beautiful children’s book about depression and colors, and for the last year I’ve been attempting to beef up my drawing skills so I can do it justice! It’s very sweet and I’m looking forward to it being a thing that exists.
Here are a few direct quotes from Kate’s book:
“The truth is, you deserve just as much kindness and compassion as you show others. You’re not exempt just because you can see all the ugly parts of yourself.”
“I now realize after going through years of therapy that feeling hopeless is just a sign that my mental fortitude has slipped, that my chosen coping strategies are not meeting my challenges adequately. So, hopelessness is not a signal that life is bad or that my problems are impossible. It’s just a weirdly dramatic notification from my brain that I am not keeping up my self care, and that I need to reach out and connect with somebody.”
“Remember that you are more than a string of bad days or hard times. One mistake doesn’t spoil everything you’ve done or could do.”
“You’re never alone. There are thousands, if not millions of people out there struggling with the same things as you, whether it’s loneliness, grief, self hate, or difficulty finding purpose. I’ve hit rock bottom time and time again and through help from others and my own determination, I’ve climbed back up again.”
Which one of Kate’s quotes and drawings resonates with you the most? Let me know in the comments section below!
May peace and happiness be with you, always!
P.S.-Kate’s new book, You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression, is now available for order on Amazon. Click here and purchase your copy today!