Serious Mental Illness Blog

Official blog for LIU Post's Clinical Psychology Doctorate SMI Specialty Concentration

Posts tagged art

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Missy Douglas: Visualizing bipolar disorder through artBy David Keller, BBC News
Fed up with keeping her mental health a secret, bipolar disorder sufferer Missy Douglas spent a year creating a painting each day to express her feelings. Controversially, she decided not to take her medication during this time, in the hope that paintings demonstrating her highs and lows would raise awareness of her condition.
Waking up each morning, Missy Douglas has no idea how the day will go. She may feel invincible, or she may be hit by a bout of depression.
Battling the emotional extremes in life has become second nature to the 37-year-old artist, who has lived with bipolar disorder for most of her adult life.
Last year she chose to do what she does best. Every day, for a year, she picked up her paintbrushes and painted exactly how she felt.
She decided to give up her medication while she carried out the project.
"I wanted it to be as pure a view of the disorder as possible," she said.
"Painting every day didn’t make me feel more stable or increase my sense of wellbeing," she said Douglas. "In fact, trying to look inside and express raw emotion or psychological distress everyday was very difficult.
"It sometimes exacerbated the depression or mania I was experiencing at the time. However, when I look back I can recognize the patterns and rhythms of my own ‘brand’ of the disorder."
Bipolar disorder brings about strong mood swings that can last for several weeks.
It can leave people unable to form relationships or cope with the day-to-day routine of work and - in extreme circumstances - lead to a feeling of worthlessness.
Douglas, who is originally from Northampton but now lives in New York, said living with the condition could be “extremely exhausting”.
For more mental health resources, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog.Click Here to access original SMI Blog content

Missy Douglas: Visualizing bipolar disorder through art
By David Keller, BBC News

Fed up with keeping her mental health a secret, bipolar disorder sufferer Missy Douglas spent a year creating a painting each day to express her feelings. Controversially, she decided not to take her medication during this time, in the hope that paintings demonstrating her highs and lows would raise awareness of her condition.

Waking up each morning, Missy Douglas has no idea how the day will go. She may feel invincible, or she may be hit by a bout of depression.

Battling the emotional extremes in life has become second nature to the 37-year-old artist, who has lived with bipolar disorder for most of her adult life.

Last year she chose to do what she does best. Every day, for a year, she picked up her paintbrushes and painted exactly how she felt.

She decided to give up her medication while she carried out the project.

"I wanted it to be as pure a view of the disorder as possible," she said.

"Painting every day didn’t make me feel more stable or increase my sense of wellbeing," she said Douglas. "In fact, trying to look inside and express raw emotion or psychological distress everyday was very difficult.

"It sometimes exacerbated the depression or mania I was experiencing at the time. However, when I look back I can recognize the patterns and rhythms of my own ‘brand’ of the disorder."

Bipolar disorder brings about strong mood swings that can last for several weeks.

It can leave people unable to form relationships or cope with the day-to-day routine of work and - in extreme circumstances - lead to a feeling of worthlessness.

Douglas, who is originally from Northampton but now lives in New York, said living with the condition could be “extremely exhausting”.

For more mental health resources, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog.
Click Here
 to access original SMI Blog content

Filed under art artist artistic creative creativity fine artist paint painting painter bipolar bipolar disorder mind body brain wellness health healthy mental health mental mental illness recovery treatment hope psychology psychiatry counseling life life story feelings feeling

256 notes

artfromtheedge:

HAVE YOU CREATED ART IN OR ABOUT AN EXTREME STATE?
The creators of the Serious Mental Illness blog invite you to submit your visual art, photography, video work, poetry, collage, or short fiction to Art from the Edge. All of the art shown on this flyer has been featured on the blog.
Art from the Edge, a virtual gallery and resource center, is dedicated to art created in and about extreme mental states. It is an open and public world wide forum for artists to share their visual and written works and their personal stories with all those interested in the connection between creativity and “edge” states.
Much like art, which exists in a multitude of mediums and forms of expression, there are a plurality of “edge” states that inspire the artists who harbor them. For this reason, we leave the term completely open to our community’s interpretation, knowing from research and experience that this state could be driven by psychosis or trauma, or an altered state induced by drugs. It could be the offshoot of extreme depression or grief, or the aftermath of a spiritual or mystical state of consciousness.
Ultimately, we are interested in the artist’s individual experience and in his or her sense of what it is that drove the creative act. 
submissions@artfromtheedge.net
artfromtheedge.net

artfromtheedge:

HAVE YOU CREATED ART IN OR ABOUT AN EXTREME STATE?

The creators of the Serious Mental Illness blog invite you to submit your visual art, photography, video work, poetry, collage, or short fiction to Art from the Edge. All of the art shown on this flyer has been featured on the blog.

Art from the Edge, a virtual gallery and resource center, is dedicated to art created in and about extreme mental states. It is an open and public world wide forum for artists to share their visual and written works and their personal stories with all those interested in the connection between creativity and “edge” states.

Much like art, which exists in a multitude of mediums and forms of expression, there are a plurality of “edge” states that inspire the artists who harbor them. For this reason, we leave the term completely open to our community’s interpretation, knowing from research and experience that this state could be driven by psychosis or trauma, or an altered state induced by drugs. It could be the offshoot of extreme depression or grief, or the aftermath of a spiritual or mystical state of consciousness.

Ultimately, we are interested in the artist’s individual experience and in his or her sense of what it is that drove the creative act. 

submissions@artfromtheedge.net

artfromtheedge.net

(via smiliu)

Filed under art artist artistic creative pic picture photo photograph photography paint painting sculpt sculpture poem poetry poet write writing book story short story visual mixed media collage music song track vid video creativity

256 notes

artfromtheedge:

HAVE YOU CREATED ART IN OR ABOUT AN EXTREME STATE?
The creators of the Serious Mental Illness blog invite you to submit your visual art, photography, video work, poetry, collage, or short fiction to Art from the Edge. All of the art shown on this flyer has been featured on the blog.
Art from the Edge, a virtual gallery and resource center, is dedicated to art created in and about extreme mental states. It is an open and public world wide forum for artists to share their visual and written works and their personal stories with all those interested in the connection between creativity and “edge” states.
Much like art, which exists in a multitude of mediums and forms of expression, there are a plurality of “edge” states that inspire the artists who harbor them. For this reason, we leave the term completely open to our community’s interpretation, knowing from research and experience that this state could be driven by psychosis or trauma, or an altered state induced by drugs. It could be the offshoot of extreme depression or grief, or the aftermath of a spiritual or mystical state of consciousness.
Ultimately, we are interested in the artist’s individual experience and in his or her sense of what it is that drove the creative act. 
submissions@artfromtheedge.net
artfromtheedge.net

artfromtheedge:

HAVE YOU CREATED ART IN OR ABOUT AN EXTREME STATE?

The creators of the Serious Mental Illness blog invite you to submit your visual art, photography, video work, poetry, collage, or short fiction to Art from the Edge. All of the art shown on this flyer has been featured on the blog.

Art from the Edge, a virtual gallery and resource center, is dedicated to art created in and about extreme mental states. It is an open and public world wide forum for artists to share their visual and written works and their personal stories with all those interested in the connection between creativity and “edge” states.

Much like art, which exists in a multitude of mediums and forms of expression, there are a plurality of “edge” states that inspire the artists who harbor them. For this reason, we leave the term completely open to our community’s interpretation, knowing from research and experience that this state could be driven by psychosis or trauma, or an altered state induced by drugs. It could be the offshoot of extreme depression or grief, or the aftermath of a spiritual or mystical state of consciousness.

Ultimately, we are interested in the artist’s individual experience and in his or her sense of what it is that drove the creative act. 

submissions@artfromtheedge.net

artfromtheedge.net

(via smiliu)

Filed under art artist artistic creative poem story write poetry poet writer visual visual art video mixed media collage digital art digital psychosis psychotic trauma drug drugs depressed depression mind body brain diagnosis disorder psychology

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Rachel Kelly: How poetry helped me recover from depressionBy Rachel Kelly, The Telegraph
Author Rachel Kelly suffered such severe depression that she was bed-ridden for months. In Mental Health Awareness Week, she describes how poetry proved a lifeline
Tell people that you’ve written a memoir about how poetry helped you recover from depression and most look baffled. Poetry? Depression? How does that work?
But odd as it sounds, the healing power of consoling poems and prose was at the heart of my recovery from two breakdowns, or “depressive episodes” as psychiatrists prefer to call them.
The love of my family, drugs and therapy were hugely important in the battle to recover from an illness so severe that the first time I was bed-ridden for six months, the second for a year. But it’s no exaggeration to say that poetry proved a lifeline.
Though I couldn’t read during the acute stage of the illness I could listen. My mother would read to me from books of poetry or the Bible and I could manage to remember and repeat the odd line. My favourite when I was first ill was from Corinthians: “My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness.” It made sense of the suffering. I wouldn’t just recover: I’d be stronger too.
A second favorite was “But westward, look, the land is bright” from Say not the Struggle Naught Availeth by Arthur Hugh Clough, one of Churchill’s favorite poets, whom he was fond of quoting in the war. Again, I would get better. The land would once again be bright. Of course, as doctors know, believing in your own ability to recover in turn makes it more likely.
When I was awake in the dark hours of the night, and suffering from that sense of complete isolation that is at the heart of feeling depressed, I would repeat these snatched lines to myself, prayer-like. I wasn’t alone after all.
It was only when the antidepressants began to work that I could concentrate on entire poems – and only short ones. I turned to Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poems which celebrate the healing power of nature, poems such as Pied Beauty. Nature was reaching out and grabbing me by the collar as I recovered, my mood perfectly summed up by Hopkins’s celebration of even the smallest miracles of creation. The language performed for me, rekindling my enthusiasm for words and refreshing my own stale vocabulary.
Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
A poem can also provide a different narrative from the negative story in our heads. This was how I felt when I read George Herbert’sLove (III) during my first breakdown. During the first verse I felt a bolt of electricity pierce through me. All the hairs on my arm stood on end. It was the first time that had happened in a while.
Love bade me welcome,
But my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin,
But sweet-eyed love, observing me grow slack,
Did welcome me in.
Yes: my soul had been drawing back. Yes: I needed love to bid me welcome. The idea that my soul was “guilty of dust and sin” seemed the most perfect description of the depressive illness. The poem pinpointed a sense of guilt that I should be depressed while blessed with a loving home and husband, something I had not previously acknowledged. Herbert’s words were bursting through the clouds of my mind. It seemed we had been to the same place and spoke the same language, albeit that his visit was centuries ago. I had found a companion on my journey.
I’m not the first to derive comfort from poetry. Apollo was the god of poetry as well of medicine. In 1751 Benjamin Franklin founded the first American hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital, where reading and creative writing were among the treatments prescribed for mental illness. Freud, Adler, Jung and others recognised the healing power of words, and this led to the 1969 founding of the Association of Poetry Therapy.
Nowadays, figures in the literary and philosophical worlds advocate their own brands of healing words. Alain de Botton'sThe School of Life has recently begun courses in mindfulness and poetry. William Sieghart, the founder of the Forward Poetry Prize, invites audience members at literary festivals to request “Poetry Prescriptions” to suit their specific emotional and psychological needs. As Boris the bard, endorsing the importance of poetry, humorously suggests, “There is no known disaster, That poetry can’t master.”
There’s even some scientific evidence that poetry changes the way we think. The arrangement of poetry, even the clearest, has different conventions to continuous prose. This presents enough of a challenge to get our brains working differently. Research by Philip Davis and the neuroscience department of Liverpool University discovered that readers of Shakespeare, when they came across an unusual but totally comprehensible grammatical construction, would show a spike in neural activity. Even though the readers understood what was being said, their brains were shocked into activity. The requirement to concentrate in the moment helped me stop regretting the past and fearing the future in the negative mental spiral characteristic of depression.
In this way, poetry can work in a similar way to mindfulness, forcing us into the present. Robert Frost, demonstrating my point perfectly, put it far better when he said a poem can be a ‘momentary stay against confusion.
Black Rainbow, my memoir about how poetry helped me recover from depression, began life as a series of poetry recommendations to friends. They knew what I had been through and asked for poems I thought could help them in times of need. With the book’s publication, readers have been sending me the poems and prose that have helped them. Soon perhaps I won’t need to explain that poems can be as good as pills in helping you recover.
Rachel Kelly’s memoir about how poetry helped her recover from depression, Black Rainbow: How Words Healed Me – my journey through depression’ is published by Yellow Kite Books, a subsidiary of Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99. All author proceeds are going to the charities SANE and United Response.

 
 
 
For more mental health resources, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog.
Click Here to access original SMI Blog content 

Rachel Kelly: How poetry helped me recover from depression
By Rachel Kelly, The Telegraph

Author Rachel Kelly suffered such severe depression that she was bed-ridden for months. In Mental Health Awareness Week, she describes how poetry proved a lifeline

Tell people that you’ve written a memoir about how poetry helped you recover from depression and most look baffled. Poetry? Depression? How does that work?

But odd as it sounds, the healing power of consoling poems and prose was at the heart of my recovery from two breakdowns, or “depressive episodes” as psychiatrists prefer to call them.

The love of my family, drugs and therapy were hugely important in the battle to recover from an illness so severe that the first time I was bed-ridden for six months, the second for a year. But it’s no exaggeration to say that poetry proved a lifeline.

Though I couldn’t read during the acute stage of the illness I could listen. My mother would read to me from books of poetry or the Bible and I could manage to remember and repeat the odd line. My favourite when I was first ill was from Corinthians: “My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness.” It made sense of the suffering. I wouldn’t just recover: I’d be stronger too.

A second favorite was “But westward, look, the land is bright” from Say not the Struggle Naught Availeth by Arthur Hugh Clough, one of Churchill’s favorite poets, whom he was fond of quoting in the war. Again, I would get better. The land would once again be bright. Of course, as doctors know, believing in your own ability to recover in turn makes it more likely.

When I was awake in the dark hours of the night, and suffering from that sense of complete isolation that is at the heart of feeling depressed, I would repeat these snatched lines to myself, prayer-like. I wasn’t alone after all.

It was only when the antidepressants began to work that I could concentrate on entire poems – and only short ones. I turned to Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poems which celebrate the healing power of nature, poems such as Pied Beauty. Nature was reaching out and grabbing me by the collar as I recovered, my mood perfectly summed up by Hopkins’s celebration of even the smallest miracles of creation. The language performed for me, rekindling my enthusiasm for words and refreshing my own stale vocabulary.

Glory be to God for dappled things –

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

A poem can also provide a different narrative from the negative story in our heads. This was how I felt when I read George Herbert’sLove (III) during my first breakdown. During the first verse I felt a bolt of electricity pierce through me. All the hairs on my arm stood on end. It was the first time that had happened in a while.

Love bade me welcome,

But my soul drew back,

Guilty of dust and sin,

But sweet-eyed love, observing me grow slack,

Did welcome me in.

Yes: my soul had been drawing back. Yes: I needed love to bid me welcome. The idea that my soul was “guilty of dust and sin” seemed the most perfect description of the depressive illness. The poem pinpointed a sense of guilt that I should be depressed while blessed with a loving home and husband, something I had not previously acknowledged. Herbert’s words were bursting through the clouds of my mind. It seemed we had been to the same place and spoke the same language, albeit that his visit was centuries ago. I had found a companion on my journey.

I’m not the first to derive comfort from poetry. Apollo was the god of poetry as well of medicine. In 1751 Benjamin Franklin founded the first American hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital, where reading and creative writing were among the treatments prescribed for mental illness. Freud, Adler, Jung and others recognised the healing power of words, and this led to the 1969 founding of the Association of Poetry Therapy.

Nowadays, figures in the literary and philosophical worlds advocate their own brands of healing words. Alain de Botton'sThe School of Life has recently begun courses in mindfulness and poetry. William Sieghart, the founder of the Forward Poetry Prize, invites audience members at literary festivals to request “Poetry Prescriptions” to suit their specific emotional and psychological needs. As Boris the bard, endorsing the importance of poetry, humorously suggests, “There is no known disaster, That poetry can’t master.”

There’s even some scientific evidence that poetry changes the way we think. The arrangement of poetry, even the clearest, has different conventions to continuous prose. This presents enough of a challenge to get our brains working differently. Research by Philip Davis and the neuroscience department of Liverpool University discovered that readers of Shakespeare, when they came across an unusual but totally comprehensible grammatical construction, would show a spike in neural activity. Even though the readers understood what was being said, their brains were shocked into activity. The requirement to concentrate in the moment helped me stop regretting the past and fearing the future in the negative mental spiral characteristic of depression.

In this way, poetry can work in a similar way to mindfulness, forcing us into the present. Robert Frost, demonstrating my point perfectly, put it far better when he said a poem can be a ‘momentary stay against confusion.

Black Rainbow, my memoir about how poetry helped me recover from depression, began life as a series of poetry recommendations to friends. They knew what I had been through and asked for poems I thought could help them in times of need. With the book’s publication, readers have been sending me the poems and prose that have helped them. Soon perhaps I won’t need to explain that poems can be as good as pills in helping you recover.

Rachel Kelly’s memoir about how poetry helped her recover from depression, Black Rainbow: How Words Healed Me – my journey through depression’ is published by Yellow Kite Books, a subsidiary of Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99. All author proceeds are going to the charities SANE and United Response.

 

 

 





For more mental health resources, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog.

Click Here to access original SMI Blog content 

Filed under rachel kelly black rainbow art artist creative creativity poem poems poetry poet writer depression depressed depressive major depression disorder diagnosis mind body brain wellness recovery hope psychology psychiatry counseling mental health healthy author

256 notes

artfromtheedge:

HAVE YOU CREATED ART IN OR ABOUT AN EXTREME STATE?
The creators of the Serious Mental Illness blog invite you to submit your visual art, photography, video work, poetry, collage, or short fiction to Art from the Edge. All of the art shown on this flyer has been featured on the blog.
Art from the Edge, a virtual gallery and resource center, is dedicated to art created in and about extreme mental states. It is an open and public world wide forum for artists to share their visual and written works and their personal stories with all those interested in the connection between creativity and “edge” states.
Much like art, which exists in a multitude of mediums and forms of expression, there are a plurality of “edge” states that inspire the artists who harbor them. For this reason, we leave the term completely open to our community’s interpretation, knowing from research and experience that this state could be driven by psychosis or trauma, or an altered state induced by drugs. It could be the offshoot of extreme depression or grief, or the aftermath of a spiritual or mystical state of consciousness.
Ultimately, we are interested in the artist’s individual experience and in his or her sense of what it is that drove the creative act. 
submissions@artfromtheedge.net
artfromtheedge.net

artfromtheedge:

HAVE YOU CREATED ART IN OR ABOUT AN EXTREME STATE?

The creators of the Serious Mental Illness blog invite you to submit your visual art, photography, video work, poetry, collage, or short fiction to Art from the Edge. All of the art shown on this flyer has been featured on the blog.

Art from the Edge, a virtual gallery and resource center, is dedicated to art created in and about extreme mental states. It is an open and public world wide forum for artists to share their visual and written works and their personal stories with all those interested in the connection between creativity and “edge” states.

Much like art, which exists in a multitude of mediums and forms of expression, there are a plurality of “edge” states that inspire the artists who harbor them. For this reason, we leave the term completely open to our community’s interpretation, knowing from research and experience that this state could be driven by psychosis or trauma, or an altered state induced by drugs. It could be the offshoot of extreme depression or grief, or the aftermath of a spiritual or mystical state of consciousness.

Ultimately, we are interested in the artist’s individual experience and in his or her sense of what it is that drove the creative act. 

submissions@artfromtheedge.net

artfromtheedge.net

Filed under art artist artists creative creativity gallery visual visual art poetry writing write fiction story film video pic picture photo photography poet photographer painter paint painting song music art on tumblr tumblart tumblr art artist on tumblr