Of Two Minds

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I don’t normally over explain my work as I’m happy for people to find their own meaning. This is a pretty personal piece as it’s a self-portrait.

I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder since ’09. Before that, they thought it was depression, and before that, schizophrenia. Since I was correctly diagnosed and got onto the right medication, things have been more manageable. I still have highs and lows, but I’m a bit more balanced.

My psychiatrist has been very supportive of my artwork as it has become a form of therapy for me. Combined with some lifestyle changes (no alcohol, no meat, no excuses), art has made a big difference in my day-to-day life.

“Of Two Minds” is the name of a really good documentary on BPD, and my piece is a nod to that as it helped me in my recovery, too. The piece itself is really a bipolar Venn diagram with the purple face representing mania, the blue face representing depression, and the space where they interlink is where that ever-elusive balance is hiding!

 

 

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The artist, Chris, with his piece

A huge shoutot to Chris Eaton, otherwise known as Stanley Sprays, for sharing his story and this phenomenal piece of art with us. For many, creativity and art can be essential in our recovery. We are so grateful to Chris for sharing that message and showing how art has helped him manage his own struggles.

If you want to see more art from Chris, you can find him on Instagram and his personal website. Chris also has a really fantastic clothing line; you can find that on both Instagram and their website.  Be sure to give lots of love to Chris in the comments!

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

Sandra

Want to submit to this site and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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The Insecurity Project

The idea for my insecurity project stemmed from my realization that most people have something they are insecure about, and that attention being drawn to a personal insecurity for fear of being judged is nothing more than a thought that is hyped up by anxiety. These insecurities can have a large impact on self-esteem and confidence.

I asked my friends to open up to me about what they were most insecure about and happened to find the courage to do so myself. I found that through photography I could capture and highlight these anxieties by pushing comfort levels. I hoped to (1) boost their own confidence and (2) comfort others who may feel the same way.

I have had trouble throughout my teenage years and into my young adult life with self-esteem, spending nights staring at myself until I’m at the brink of tears and want to smash the mirror. Though the project has been slow to get rolling, I hope to inspire at least a couple souls to begin their journey towards self-love and care.

~~~

Emily was self-conscious of her teeth and had trouble smiling. If she found herself smiling with her teeth, she felt that people were just looking at her teeth. She has since found confidence and smiles without any self-doubt.

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Emily
Insecure about her smile

A Lens Into Our World dear hope

The Happiness Video Project by Zach Cooper: A Preview

Hi, I’m Zach and this is my project.

One day I decided I wanted to film a bunch of people being happy for me. Real, genuine smiles. Everyday you go on social media and see negativity in some sort of way so I kind’ve wanted to break the day to day negativity down with something extremely happy and positive. You also see people claiming life is about spending money and traveling to be happy, but I think you can find happiness right in your backyard.

The idea started with filming a few people but snowballed into filming over 40 different people all smiling and doing something they love to do. My project still needs more people so I’m hoping to finish the project in 2017 but need help, I just moved from Massachusetts to New York City and don’t really know anyone here. Thankfully ‘Dear Hope’ said they could help me by sharing this project, so reach out!

I don’t bite. Come say hi and check out some of my work! I love meeting new people and guarantee we can have some smiles.

Instagram: zachcoop

Portfolio: https://productionzsc.myportfolio.com/projects


Be on the lookout for Zach’s full project early next year back here on Dear Hope.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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Photography Series: “Still Fighting” by Alessandra Ortiz

What if we could see depression?

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Would we still doubt its existence?

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Would we still think that it’s a sign of weakness?

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Would we still believe that it’s “just a bad day”?

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Would we still assume that it’s a cry for attention?

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Would we still fear others’ opinions of ourselves?

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Would we still be too nervous to ask for help?

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Would we lend a hand to those in need?

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Would we find the courage to fight and keep going?

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Would we finally understand that we are not alone?

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A very special thanks to Alessandra Ortiz for these beautiful photo submissions. You can find more of Alessandra’s work on her blog and Instagram. You can also read her previous submissions to Dear Hope, such as her piece, “Morning Routine” here, and her latest poem, “Her” here.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

AC

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com.

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A Lens Into Our World dear hope

Liminal creatures: Lorca the Papergheist and Artistry Through Agoraphobia by Lorca Jolene

None of these collages are digitally created or enhanced.


I am a self-taught artist from Chicago who has been crafting chimerical and uncanny creatures from paper and ink for five years. My collages are deeply influenced by my own experiences, as a queer person with panic disorder and agoraphobia, of claiming and communicating in-betweenness in the context of health and labor.

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“Skinsmith”

Panic disorder – the bouts of paralyzing terror, the dissociation, the bone-deep exhaustion of perpetual unease – is a thing I carry around in my chest like a bullet. Living with it is like circumnavigating a spaceship through colonies of black holes inside yourself that will rip your memories and name apart… and hoping that the steering doesn’t fail. It makes “real” a feeling beyond my experience, and presents the decision everyday to invest effort and love into a world that feels as ephemeral and incomprehensible as dreams.

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“Goblin Market”

And the hardest thing about all that is pretending – around parents, colleagues, employers – that none of it is happening. Presenting to others as functional, approachable, and sociable is a constant process of alternating between different spaces in which my symptoms are more or less not permitted to exist. Years upon years of this practice has made me a creature most at home in liminal spaces and most at ease on social peripheries.

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“Lycanthrope”

A driving force between my art is the desire to create archetypes and mythos that explore liminality and ambivalence as powerful rather than defective or toxic. My collage characters are salvaged, scavenged, pieced together from a myriad of sources – their bodies literally cut nature and society at its joints and paste it back together. It is my hope that they might offer guidance and guardianship for whomever will make a binary – between psychosis and sanity, man and woman, health and deformation – their battleground.

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“Gemini”

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“November”


A special thanks to Lorca for submitting this wonderful work to us. Lorca has had work featured in RAW Artists Chicago’s recent showcase, a residency at Chicago’s Fulton Market Kitchen, ArtAscent Magazine, Chicago Literati magazine, the 365 Days 365 Artists Project.

These images are incredibly thought provoking and moving, and I hope you’ll leave a comment below about what you think.

You can find more work on Lorca’s Tumblr, Etsy Store, and Instagram.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF


Check out some more art on some of our other pages.

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

Follow us for more posts, inspiration and art on FacebookTwitterTumblr, and Instagram

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Poetry: quiescent ontogeny (shedding September skin)

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go back some steps and paint the rest the colors they were meant to be.

parasites preventing psychology-
absent sounds without answers, potential apart metamorphosis.
the mistakes were easy,
splitting monochrome apart of the omniscient wind.

and they never learned anything.

I couldn’t escape the quiescence of ontogeny
descending east or west in our
oblivion as nothing-
these spider webs bury dead
under my intuition
ashamed of my own decisions
refusing to light,
but the flicker always subtle in the night,
aggressive how I wanted to make it shine.

we’re butterflies with broken mirrors,
scintillatingly self-reflecting that our deepest fears will never resonate with
the man under the bridge or the
child in Idaho or the
part of my father i never want to see in myself,
but always will.
hand-crafted maps fade because we’re told to abandon
caterpillars
as if this growth was a virus and not a blessing disguised as
thousands of glass shards unlocking doors.
I wanted to know more.

I couldn’t think where my mind begins
it shifts back hollow where I started
blonde curls lost frivolously among the pile of careful maple leaves
you should’ve tried to understand while you
blurred the sharpness of this image,
shades of fuschia indecisions
evading a dream,
incomplete sets of glass menagerie fog when I fall asleep.
shuffling the shutter, parallel to the stress it put me under.
a life repeating its first day,
continuing cabarets
confusing caves in sheep
crystallize
an endless disease.

flowers don’t communicate in binary;
your daisies were fireworks,
mute mutilations of my morbidity,
simultaneously transforming
sheep from tangible reality.
as I felt every strand of indifference-

IT ALL COULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT.

but
our faces yield yellow hues in
both pines needles and piles of
orange maples.

ashamed of where I hadn’t  been
because of the person I have yet to become
knowing what I will never be.
It was strange to see me as a human being
amorphous
feathers drifting incomplete
as crows without grief
circling aware
predicting what I could not escape
luminescent highways miles from fate
time spent
in the essence of these transgressions
pardon me gray.

what can i call colors i see,
branches of the trees from Polaroid memories,
or dreams of what the world should be?
where can i find these answers on this endless canvas,
this bruised, mountainous landscape,
constantly hammering away against our wars with self-abandonment?
what’s the spectrum where
trees and
everyone you’ve ever known that’s felt loss
can sing in harmony?

trapped in my mind,
hope is destiny when it’s not in our plans

running out of time,
the colors will fade as limbs grow thicker

footsteps erase.

mirrors adapt.

This piece is a collaboration between Zachary Johnson and Danny Kochanowski.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

-DK

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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Creative Pieces dear hope

Art Showcase: “Tension” – A Beautiful Discomfort by Corey Marsh

I recently spent a night talking with artist Corey Marsh about his art series entitled “Tension”. The work is simultaneously beautiful and discomforting. Later this week I’ll have a full interview posted with him, but for now enjoy these pictures and a look into the process behind them. Here’s what Marsh had to say.

My latest work has been very much focused on the body, with surreal forms composed of contorted and mashed up hands and other body parts. These are an exploration into my mental health and my emotional state of mind.

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“Hand”

I’ve recently gone through this period in my life where everything came crashing down in a tragically terrible manner. I felt these weird, overwhelming feelings that I’m not sure I know how to accurately describe with words. It was this discomfort and tension that seemed to radiate throughout my entire body. Sort of like that feeling of pins and needles when your leg is asleep – or that itch you can’t scratch because for some reason it’s the inside of your leg that itches. But instead of an itch or a pin poking at me, it was this internal feeling of being pulled this way and that way all at once, like my inner organs and flesh were being tied up in massive uncomfortable knots at the pit of my stomach and in the center of my brain.

It was terrible and the worst part was I couldn’t even accurately describe the feeling. I feel like even now, talking about it, I’m not truly capturing it. So I turned to my art to express it.

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“Backache”

These feelings of unease and distress became so much clearer to me through this new series of work. In my photos, I captured my own body in bizarre poses in the lighting studio back at school, usually tugging at my skin on my back or on my face, creating physical and viewable tension. Then, through photoshop, I layered and collaged these images to create surreal forms and masses that through their bizarre nature of walking the line between believable and unreal added to their discomfort.

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“Flesh”

This new work of mine is a new means of exploring my mental health through my own physical body. In it, I portray what can’t be seen, my state of mind, as if it were just another physical appendage that could use tending to. Too often mental health takes a backseat to physical health. In this series, the two become one.

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“Pulling”

Find all the images from the Tension showcase in the slideshow below. To check out more of Corey’s work find his online gallery here. Be sure to keep up with him on Twitter and Instagram as well.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF

Want to submit to Dear Hope and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

Follow us for more posts, inspiration and art on Facebook, Twitter,Tumblr, and Instagram

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