I look back on some of my art and creative writing work and cringe. This is because I purposefully tried to weave into some (not all) of my series the feelings that come as symptoms of my bipolar affective disorder and the additional negative feelings that come from the isolation the stain of mental illness goes hand in hand with.
I have just started documenting my other feature of my art – that I do so much of it “in the spirit” as well as some of the prophetic elements of my work. I am more comfortable talking about that crazy-sounding stuff like that than I am about my health problems. That’s because I am ashamed of it, and because I know of the discrimination that comes with my particular disorder.
You are immediately discounted and treated as untrustworthy.
I have lived so long with these negative views of myself that I often parody this in my art installations as well as document some of my treatment. I can play a ‘crazy person’ quite well, but the realities of bipolar disorder are quite something else. I do not see myself the way others see me. I see a burden. Where someone might see that I have certain talents, I can sometimes only see my failures.
I actually only recently received a genuine diagnosis for something I had learned to live with over many years. It was never something I could bring up with jobs, and it has caused chaos in my professional and private life. So much so that my own genuine concerns are, I believe, just palmed off as “oh he has bipolar”. Likewise with most of my friendships, they all just eventually evaporated.
During my last ‘episode’ I was working on some faith and art projects that were, for me especially, ‘experimental’. I had multiple meetings with police about my art and writing, as well as my interactions on social media. I wanted it to be as real as possible, and a real reflection (in a creative way) of what being pushed into or falling into a manic or depressive state can be like.
For me I have had more trouble with the manic states, even though this is when I can truly feel inspired to create new works. It actually takes a lot for me to write about, because even as I type this I feel I will be further looked down upon because of an illness that most of the time has no impact on my life.
It does not make me stupid.
It does not make me a liar.
It does not make me delusional.
These aren’t just views I have had to battle with in day to day life, but also when dealing with authorities and with the healthcare system. You can imagine it has been demeaning, and my strange search for justice through art and through the Heavenly Father have taken me down some strange paths.
So I hope you enjoy my art for what it is, and also understand when I am not speaking as an artist, but as a person. Such as with the case of my stolen art. That’s all true. As is my incarceration within the mental “health” system for a short period. This all just adds up to making me completely untrustworthy and so being generally ostracised, some of my work can reflect the reality of my position within Australian society: at the bottom, where I belong. Where I have been told to stay.
So I also hope you can read The Seven Seals: “Heavenly Father Finds Australia GUILTY of crimes against humanity.