I finished this painting in advance of May, 2023. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In conjunction with this event, I am speaking out about my own struggle with mental illness in the form of Bipolar Disorder. I have Bipolar 1 which is sometimes referred to as "manic depression", which I defined as experiencing extreme periods of depression as well as manic episodes. I have struggled with this my entire life, but I have been in treatment and under psychiatric care for 15 years now. I still struggle with this illness sometimes, but not every day. Some days are better than others. But treatment and care for my mental health have allowed me to work and produce the creative work you see here on this website. I am doubtful I would have produced it otherwise. Medication has allowed me to pursue my artwork and to be a functional human being. Most days. If you are concerned about your mental health, if you are struggling, or if you would like to learn more I would encourage you to start a conversation with me. I'm glad to talk about my experience and about your own as it pertains to mental health and art. You can call, text, or email me by viewing my contact information at the bottom of the page. The first step in recovery is to talk about what ails us. If you don't want to talk to me, talk to someone. Keep talking until someone listens. Then you can take action.
Wrestled with the darkness and woke up with all the lights on. Someone had thrown a motorcycle helmet against the wall, a crashing sound. But when I awoke the helmet was nowhere to be found and I was alone in the house. Some nights I had awoken to someone singing Happy Birthday. Again I awoke screaming for them to shut the fuck up but no one was there. I spent the night at her house once. Lying in an early morning dream heard her walk up the stairs, and felt her footsteps on the bed bringing me coffee but when I awoke she was walking up the stairs and had not yet entered the room. The songs I remembered that were so important: giant, staggering, heartbroken dreams of songs that mocked me with their impossible melodies. I could not find their harmony in my own voice. But I laughed as I recited the lyrics to songs unwritten, spilling from my mouth into the ears of my spectral accompaniment. It was a party. It doesn't matter what we wear it will just be you and me. The circles I wore in the floor trying to decide with racing thoughts as my only guide to arrive at a decision not to decide anything at all. Exhaustion. Soak the weary mind in alcohol and drugs so it floats there for a short time in utero before the carriage is drained and the terror arrives. Shadow people are here and the radio is on. The lights are off. I don't own a radio.
It took years to get here. I have left much behind. I have gathered much to me. I fear little since I took the pills. The pills are the opposite of grief. They take time to gain weight. Like babies. They grow and swole inside me. I like to think I have kept the best parts of my insanity. Things are tempered now. I still feel the music too powerfully sometimes. It is easier to decipher color and form. I understand this brilliant and invisible language with hues for an alphabet I linger on speaking. There is no one there now. And perhaps there is no one there for me that I do not create myself. But there are no demons whispering through the radio. No thunderclaps at zero hour. I have pieces of myself that cracked with use and age. I put the gold in my mouth to achieve instant kintsugi. I pierced my lips when I kissed Nosferatu so they whistle with the sound when the seraphim bay.