Month: January 2016

Mental Illness Depicted Through The Visual Arts

 

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Photography by Robbie Cavanaugh posted on The Mighty website article titled, Surreal Photos Show a Side of Depression We Don’t Often Get to See

 

These next several links will take you to articles on The Mighty website (a great website if I might add) that use art to better describe what it’s like to live with mental illness. I think it’s a clever idea that people are using art to better provide understanding to others on what it’s like to live with a mental illness. I think it is a lot better than verbally discribing it which is even much more difficult. Through the medium of the visual arts, mental illness a concrete look, because it has a “figure”. Not to mention art has a way of bringing about aesthetic energy among its viewers no matter what form of art. Thus through art it should bring about a better feel on mental illness by giving it a face and a story (as art typically does). So, check out them out on the links below:

This Comic Shows the Daily Battle of Someone With Anxiety and Depression

This Eerie Photograph Shows Anxiety Like We’ve Never Seen It Before

Powerful Comic Reveals What It Can Feel Like to Live With Anxiety

Artist’s Thoughtful Comic Conveys Her Experience With Anxiety

Photographer Explores Her Depression With Vulnerable Self-Portraits

Man Captures Stages of His Own Self-Acceptance in Surreal Photo Series

These Surreal Images Explore the Inner World of Depression

Show This Video to Anyone Who Doesn’t Believe Depression is A Medical Condition

Surreal Photos Show a Side of Depression We Don’t Often Get to See

Gripping Photo Series Portrays Anxiety With Everyday Objects

Comic Strip Uses Humor to Tackle Everyday Challenges of Anxiety

I Drew How Anxiety Affects Me

What Anxiety Feels Like, as Told by a Comic

When People Say Anxiety Is ‘All in Your Head,’ Show Them This

Recovery Part 3

Ugh….I am so miserable! It seems that even with my meds, depression manages to somehow elude the meds effects. Sneaky bastard! It’s been having a terrible effect on me, especially at work! Sometimes it feels like depression just likes to make itself cozy on my shoulders and put its paws over my eyelids, while I struggle to carryout my given duties at work. I don’t know why this should be even happening! Could it be because I’m not sleeping well? Or I haven’t been consistent with my meds? Or am I still recovering from the ridiculousness that was Fall semester? Whatever it is, I don’t know!

My family thinks I should stop taking meds, because they don’t think my meds are helping. Though let’s face it, without my meds I wouldn’t be able to function nearly as well as I am right now. In the past I was always so hesitant to take part in things or events. And not hesitant in a good way; hesitant like being on the side lines of your life hesitant. Not to mention my family did not like when I was “out of balance” or “immature”, even though I kept telling them the behaviors I was exhibiting was not by choice. So I got help. But now my family thinks meds aren’t helping me, even though I keep telling them the meds help with the chemical imbalance inside my head (and well CBT helps with the cognitive imbalance). Sigh…damned if you, damned if you don’t.

Speaking of damnation, I am always asking myself should I tell my employer about my mental illness. I am terrified for the fear of them using a loophole in the ADA or them blackballing me if I made or have been making mistakes. Then, instead of saying it’s my mental illness, it’s ‘cause I’m not competent to do a job! Now if there’s one thing I know is I am anything, but incompetent. However, living my mental illness trips me up.

Sigh…I feel like nobody in my life how truly understands my daily plight. And if they think they are frustrated…phbt! They have no idea how I feel! It hurts to know deep down in your spirit, you know you are capable of much more, but then for some reason you act in ways that are contradictory to who you really are. It pisses me off that I always have “fight” within myself order to find a “middle” ground with the two illnesses. When I get anxious, I act like a chicken with its head cut off. However when doing so, I eventually get burnt out by my anxiety. Sometimes, I feel it makes it easier for depression to come in to further induce exhaustion and anxiety. While undergoing depression, I end up losing interests I like doing, like blogging and exercising and end up excessive sleeping or sleepy. I’m starting to see it more often especially at work. Man!  I get so tired and sleepy! Got me in trouble today and I couldn’t tell my colleague and my boss the real reason I messed up at work.  I wanna tell my boss, but I am afraid. But I am also afraid of losing my job if I do reveal my illness. I wouldn’t be surprised they knew, but even if they did, I don’t know if they would help me. I’m not asking them give me an easier load, ‘cause I can do my job. I just need their support, whether it’s consistently writing my lunch break, giving me a pep talk like “you can do it” or “I’m here if you need anything.” Especially the latter one…I’m not very good at asking for help. I’m afraid of being misjudged or people turning a whole 360 on me when I do end up asking for help. I’m pretty independent (had to especially since I have been growing up it was hard to find a good support group), smart, capable, strong woman…I just need help…

My clients are so lucky they get that! Although my job is to support my clients, it’s something I really like to do out of my heart. I want to give them the support I wasn’t given as I grew up. And it’s okay…. It’s good to see someone smile and grow right in front of you. As Gandhi said, “You have to be the person, you wish to see in the world.” I don’t want to withhold kindness and support to others, just because it wasn’t given to me. It would not be a good excuse; not to mention it would be selfish to do so.

Sigh…I wish the people in life where as supportive as the people on my WordPress, Tumblr, and Twitter sites. It’s so sad! And very strange! It’s weird having people who see me day in and out not able to understand how hard I’m trying to get better. It breaks my heart, when really I want what everyone else wants from those around them: love, respect, hospitality and empathy.

Then again this is the recovery process—it wasn’t said that this process would be easy. Sometimes the symptoms come and go and sometimes….just sometimes… it likes to stay over and “check” on how I’m doing. I remember my therapist going over with me the process of recovery. He did tell me sometimes it might take days to make a recovery, but that no matter, what to keep remember how far I made to get where I am now. And I guess that’s what I should do…keep staying strong for a brighter and better day.

A Critique on Inside Out…It’s A Great Movie!😄👍🏾

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Not too long ago, I watched “Inside Out” and it was a cute movie! In case you don’t know, the movie talks about the five emotions in Riley’s head: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear. Since Riley’s birth, the emotions have been there for her through her ups and downs & her fears and her triumphs.

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Left to Right: Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear, and Sadness
However as Riley’s family moves out to San Francisco, the transition proves difficult for Riley and her emotions. Joy, for being what she is— joy/happiness and the leader of the group— tries to keep her companions and Riley in good spirits. Slowly, Riley begins to get use to San Francisco due Joy’s persistence on having Riley look on the bright side of things.

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Fear coming up with a list of a dozen things that could go wrong during Riley’s first day at her new school

Also, what helps Riley is that Joy gives Disgust, Anger, and Fear jobs that will help Riley function while trying to adjust to the move and her new school.

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Sadness turning a memory blue, which makes a memory sad
Sadness, however was assigned to not do and touch anything as Joy sees that everytime Sadness touches either a memory or a “core memory” it turns blue (sadness/depression) which can affect Riley’s islands of personality (what makes Riley, Riley a.k.a: Riley’s personality).  Unfortunately, Sadness leaves her post and gets a hold of a core memory which turns it blue. Upon seeing the “damage” Sadness has done, Joy tries to prevent the core memory from being transferred to the Island of Personality, but Joy along with Sadness get transferred along with the core memory. They ended up getting off course the islands and landed elsewhere in Riley’s mind.

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Joy and Sadness trying to make their way back to headquarters
Throughout the movie, the two emotions had to accept each other characteristics to return to their post and most importantly, help Riley be whole again.

Before I saw this movie, I was skeptical about it. I was like to myself, “A movie on emotions? How is Disney going to that? It’s one thing if a movie renders emotions within its viewers such as happiness or grief…but a movie that talks about how such emotions are rendered within us? Huh…” Not to mention it seemed way too childish even for me, but as I watched the movie…I found it very intriguing. I liked how the movie seemed to emphasize how to accept your emotions through how the emotions accepted each other.

Joy acknowledges Fear, Disgust, and Anger, probably because they keep Riley moving, compared to Sadness who seems to hold…Riley…back. I mean Fear protects and keeps Riley safe, Disgust keeps Riely away physical and/or social situations that may offend, displease, or harm her and lastly, Anger helps Riley to voice things that are important to her.  Joy recognizes and accepts her companions’ differences and has them help her to keep Riley wholesome happy preteen.

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Joy doing something I’ve been doing with my sadness most of my life…keeping sadness away from my persona.
In one scene, for example, on upon knowing Riley is attending her first day at her new school, Joy assigned Fear to think of all the possible things that can go wrong, so Riley will not be surprised and/or embarrassed at her new school. However as for Sadness, Joy doesn’t…seem…to know…what…her purpose is. All Joy sees is this melancholy character seeming to suck the joy out of everything. Even Joy gets exhausted working with her.

As the story progresses, the viewers and even Joy and Sadness, begins to know her [Sadness] purpose.  As a viewer, you notice how Sadness becomes the level headed one as the duo make their way to headquarters. As optimistic as Joy is, she can tend to forget herself which has got them in trouble in a couple of occasions. In one such situation, the duo along with a Bing-Bong, Riley’s old imaginary friend, used the “abstract thinking” route in hopes that it would be the short cut to the “train of thought” which Sadness thought was a bad idea.  The path ended up having them deconstructing then reconstructed and they missed the train. As the two emotions try to find their way back to headquarters, they realize what they both offer to each other.

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Sadness comforting Bing Bong
Joy especially begins realizes this through the encounters as Sadness shows empathy towards Bing-Bong and consoles him, a second time when Sadness recalls a sad time in Riley’s life but only because how it led to how her parents comforted her and finally, a third time when Sadness helps Riley get unstuck in a bad decision by helping her to “feel” again by embracing her thoughts, fears, regrets and joys.

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This is a pretty good desription of my heart
In my own experience, I too saw my sad emotions as having no purpose or if they had—whatever that was—they would only hold me back…make me vulnerable…weak. And especially during my early childhood years, I couldn’t stand the heartache and the sadness I bore as a child due to the dysfunction within my family. So, I would always put walls or some sort of bubble around me keeping me away from old and new situations and people. However, as I gotten older I realized that by not accepting the anguish within in me, I kept myself from being proactive, developing awareness to the situations, relationships taking place around me, and developing a zest for life. Also not accepting my anguish, made my fear—or rather my anxiety go up and I was never thinking about the here and now. I was thinking, “What could wrong?” “What did I do wrong?” “What could go wrong?” Yeah, it was pretty bad and made it hard to function in my day to day my life. Through my previous months in recovery, I have come to realize how accepting my feelings, especially my anguish was important. I’ve have gotten a little better at being in the here and now and I have better control of my anxiety. Just as Joy came to accept and respect Sadness, I’ve to accept and respect my sadness too.

I also liked how the movie personified the emotions and the other characters and objects of the inner mind.

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Guards making sure that nobody, including Joy and Sadness, do not enter Riley’s subconcious cavern
  • The subconscious part of the mind was shown a big wall guarded by people who made sure that that the bad ideas, thoughts, dreams and fears kept locked up.
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Goofball Island, one of Riley’s Islands of Personality
  • The “Islands of Personality” were the top characteristics that made up a person’s nature. Riley’s islands of personality contained a Goofball island, Hockey Island, Friendship Island, Honesty Island, and family island.  ***Mine would probably Goofball Island, Nerd Island, Studious Island, Nuture Island, Respect Island, Friend Island***
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Dream Productions…where dreams are made
  • “Dream Production” was a production company inside your mind responsible for creating dreams or nightmares
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Joy and BingBong in the Memory Dump after accidentally falling in it
  • The “Memory Dump” was a deep, deep cavern inside your mind, where unneeded memories were thrown into where they eventually vanished
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Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong deconstructing as they go further down the Abstract Thought tunnel
  • The “Abstract Thought” tunnel was where thoughts and I were broken down into their most finite pieces such as non-objective fragmentation, deconstruction, and non-figurative deconstruction
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The Train of Thought making a delivery to headquarters
  • The “Train of Thought” was literary a train that transfer thoughts like opinions and facts across your mind.

In conclusion by embracing your emotions, you are embracing yourself and the world around you. They help you showcase your joys, your sorrows, your dislikes, and your disapprovals of the situations and relationships you encounter. No emotion is too insignficant help you be your best self. For as the emotions discovered in the movie, you will fall apart, you will become numb and disengaged from the experiences and events that is called life.

If you haven’t seen the movie I suggest you see it. However if you have seen it, hopefully you’ll have seen with a better understanding.