Ally on…Tackling Loneliness Through Art

Trigger Warning - This blog talks about Eating Disorders.

Ally shares with us her experience of loneliness and how she decided to deal with it through visual art.

About me

Hi there everyone, my name is Ally Zlatar. I am an artist and activist based in Glasgow, Scotland. I wanted to drop in and share my experiences with loneliness.

A bit about my backstory is that for such a long time, I thought if I was thinner I would be happier, instead, the opposite happened and I suffered from an eating disorder for over 10 years.

What made it more difficult, was the lack of external support.

My experience of mental health

I come from an immigrant family where we did not discuss mental health and doctors only saw diagnoses, they didn't see me as someone who was suffering.

They led me to become incredibly isolated. I spent days, months, and years focusing on food and exercise. I cut pretty much everything and everyone out after that.

My family got worried and sent me to a doctor. The doctor gave stereotypical answers like go for a walk, bake a cake, etc.

No one tried to empathise with my experiences and constantly told me “it's just food" or "have you tried eating…”

I thought that I was alone and that there was something wrong with me.

I tackled this loneliness by exploring my own experiences and thoughts through visual art.

Ally Youth Loneliness

Turning to art

Not only did visual art help me explore within myself, but it also helped me better communicate and share my suffering with others.

I started The Starving Artist as an artist initiative to help others share their own experiences and explore through arts.

The Starving Artist seeks to redefine the current narratives and treatment surrounding these illnesses and help foster systemic reform through the power of creative voices. Some of the key focus areas are creating artworks and arts-based research, publications, exhibitions, workshops, artist talks and reflection that explore the themes concerning what it is actually like to endure an eating disorder.

Creative voices are very powerful but have been very forgotten in our conversations about healing.

Art helped me bridge conversations and help broaden perspectives.

What I hope you take away from this, is that no one should ever suffer alone.

Instead, find your passion, and through that, you will find your voice to speak up.

Ally painting

More information

For more information and support for eating disorders visit Beat Eating Disorders

Check out more blogs and content created by young Scots on the issues that matter most to them and submit your own blog pitch on our Youth Loneliness blogs page.

If you're interested in volunteering, visit the #YSHive page to see what volunteer opportunities are available with Young Scot.

For more information about supporting your mental health and emotional wellbeing visit our AyeFeel page.

Young Scot supports young people to share their own voices, views and opinions and works with partner organisations and professionals who are experts in different topics. The views expressed in this blog are those of the young people, organisations and/or individuals who have taken part in the blog, not necessarily the views of Young Scot.