I had been going for years feeling something was wrong with my head, but not knowing what. I had tried several therapists and a few psychiatrists, but no one could pinpoint my malaise. All I could think was, my head is crazy and I can’t make it stop!
My first bout of mania happened when I was 8. An incredible amount of euphoria hit. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. The world sparkled constantly. It went on for a few days. When the mania finally stopped, I was the saddest kid in the world. Everything had gone gray.
When bipolar depression hits, people tell me, “Look at the pretty sunset. You’ll feel so much better.” They think I’m just feeling down. It’s more than that. Sometimes I’m feeling suicidal. What they don’t realize or understand is that this is a chemical imbalance. I’m not just in a “mood.”
When I first came out of the closet and began to talk about my bipolar disorder, I told my daughters. They replied with a very casual, “Oh. That’s what’s wrong with you. Okay. Take your meds and don’t stop taking them.”
Art is, for me, the same as breathing. My dad would bring home daisy wheel printer paper, and I would break out the crayons. Art channels the energy from my mania into a safe place, and keeps me from sinking too deep into my depression. I learned from my psychiatrist, that art is one of the best things I could be doing.
I submitted two pieces of art for this show called “Hopeless” and “Hopeful.” During my hospital stay in 2015 for a very bad bout of depression, I painted “Hopeless.” After Bruce Velick saw “Hopeless” he asked if there was any hope inside. I thought about it for a few days, and then painted “Hopeful.”
For me, success at this art show is to cause a conversation. So please come up to talk to me. Know that you’re not alone.