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Shining a light on Bipolar disorder
In anticipation of Bipolar Awareness Day on March 30th, Project Onward has decided to feature and celebrate our many talented artists who live with Bipolar Disorder, and provide insight into their experiences as artists.
Bipolar Disorder is a chronic mental illness characterized by periods of extreme shifts in mood, from depressive lows to manic highs. These shifts can come with drastic changes in energy, thought processes, sleep patterns, and behavior. Individuals with Bipolar Disorder can experience periods of troubling lethargy and hopelessness followed by periods of staggering energy, productivity, and happiness.
Experts have found that creativity often goes hand in hand with Bipolar Disorder. This drive to create can be a blessing and a curse. The eagerness to learn and innovative thinking can lead to groundbreaking works of art and progressive schools of thought. However, extraordinary creativity can also feed into the “madness is close to genius” mentality, which can further stigmatize an artist with Bipolar Disorder.
One of Project Onward’s goals is to encourage artists with neurodiversity to use their artistic practice as a healthy outlet to channel and process their experiences and emotions that are often hard to express. Our artists with Bipolar Disorder have a rich and exciting take on this part of our mission, and a unique perspective which deserves a platform.
"This interchangeable triptych depicts the 3 stages of bi-polar; the serene, happy, tranquil ...the far end, being on guard from seen and unseen spirits bent on deterring me from desired path...and the often forgotten and neglected middle, the place where I find balance and life is full of joy laced with risk, this is where I feel most creative, uninhibited, and free to make mistakes; yet always find the humor here."
"The ram skull dagger is an interpretation of how I perceive myself, my road to where I presently am, and my beliefs and hobbies...basically, a self portrait of my soul."
"Art has helped me get through the worst symptoms of bipolar disorder without going into hospital. There's something about using those big emotions to create sculptures and paintings instead of letting them run wild that has been therapeutic and has helped me cope with living with this illness. I hope that the artwork I've produced will help people be more understanding and help remove some of the stigma associated with people who have bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. We're human beings and we are much more than our diagnoses."
"This is my story about Bipolar. My painting helps me to find balance. It’s calming to focus on my painting. When I paint it helps me to be more relaxed and it pulls my attention to the present."
“When I was first diagnosed as Bipolar, I felt that I finally understood my unique character as a mental health consumer and the daily challenges I faced. As an artist, I found my talent for portraying myself and the human condition of the people I have met.”