BENGALURU: Putting stuff out on the internet can be tricky, especially when it revolves around your expectations and secrets. But Chicago-based Jovanny Varela Ferreyra reaches out to people with empathy and self-awareness through his social media page, The Artidote, which has often been described as a safe space to share stories, bond and heal through his carefully curated blend art and quotes.
On his maiden visit to Bengaluru for the Under 25 Summit, the founder and curator of the online page reflected on how it began not with an idea, rather through the depression he underwent in 2013.
“I wasn’t able to get out of my house, let alone my couch, and the only energy I had was to move my finger and scroll on my phone. We are lucky to live in this technologically-advanced world and the dark moment was the origin, which led me to explore content that gave words to my emotion,” he said, adding that being an artist by profession was the other factor.
Jovanny spoke of a time when he faced a decision of closing down the project, citing mental and emotional difficulties he faced and claimed that he was dealing with a subject that he had no experience in but cared about dearly.
“I had a choice of going all in where I could speak with professionals and learn more about mental health or closing it all down. I realised I needed professional tools to learn how to deal with sensitive content and to upgrade my responsiveness because there are so many people who will find a connection through this project,” said Jovanny, who has about one million followers on Instagram.
He also reflected on his previous visits to India, stating that he has gained new perspectives and also adapted better to the surroundings over four visits. He further emphasised on The Artidote being a personal journey towards healing.
“I spent 20 years of my life with social anxiety and it was one of those visits to India where I was exposed to new ways of anchoring my body with a holistic approach. After all these years, I now have days where don’t feel social anxiety,” he added.
Jovanny plans to move out of online platform to venture real connections.
“There’s never been another time in history where a species has had to deal with so many cat memes. I’m looking to connect more in person,” he said.