The wave beating on the beach rushes out. It sucks everything to that dark place where nothingness exists. There is only the knowledge this wave will return to the beach once more.
Bipolar II disorder is defined as a pattern of mental states where the persons affected shifts between the extreme lows of depression and the moderate highs of hypo-mania. Hypo-mania is the space between normalcy and mania where the person experiences irritability, high levels of energy, creativity and anxiety.
Bipolar disorder affects 1% of Canadians 18 and older. Common symptoms are an inability to concentrate, feelings of extreme sadness, suicidal thoughts, isolation, social anxiety, high energy , creativity. The exact cause of this disorder is unknown but contributing factors include genetic, chemical imbalance in the brain (especially related to norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine), environmental stress, and a range of factors.
A mental disorder such as Bipolar ll is a physical dysfunction just like, for example, a heart condition. Yet, unfortunately people with bipolar continue to be stigmatized. News media, literary fiction, TV and drama have all played roles in contributing to the misconception about mental illness. The media often equates violence to all persons with bipolar disorder, and yet again, shows that the right pill magically transforms everything.
My art is one way to break free of the stigmas and allow it to speak about my own personal journey with mental health challenges. It also gives me a way to visual track where I have been and where I might go. The book tells my story within a story. Like Bipolar ll , it is composed of two parts: the original book itself and the carved away pieces which reconfigure the second story to make a whole.
Perhaps those of us with bipolar ll are most acutely aware of the dualistic nature of the mind. But all humans contend with the tensions of structure and form, light and dark, torpor and chaos. By integrating what we perceive as two opposing parts, creative energy is possible. My work shows this process.
Photo credits: Cynthia Sentara