BipolART: Art and Bipolar Disorder: A Personal Perspective by Denys N. Wheatley

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By Denys N. Wheatley

Written with disarming honesty by way of a long term patient of bipolar sickness, with greater than part a century’s event of intervention and remedy, this hugely own quantity strains the effectiveness of a treatment modality for psychological disorder that has received a lot floor some time past twenty years: paintings. the writer started to use paintings, and specifically doodling, from 1998 as a fashion of externalizing his emotions. Its expressiveness, accessibility and energy-efficiency was once ultimate to the catatonia he skilled throughout the bouts of melancholy which are a characteristic of bipolar ailment, whereas because the low moods lifted and his power surged, he accomplished extra bold and problematic works. in addition to being hugely eclectic, Wheatley’s assembled oeuvre has afforded him either insights and healing intervention into his situation, as soon as deemed hugely debilitating and taboo, yet even more socially authorised now that popular victims equivalent to Stephen Fry have stated their reviews of the . After a gap account of the way the pictures have been generated, the amount reproduces a ‘gallery’ of chosen paintings, after which deals a longer epilogue interpreting the art’s connections with the affliction in addition to the author’s overview of the way each one try at visible self-expression used to be, for him, a healing intervention. Wheatley, a cellphone biologist who has loved a whole occupation in melanoma examine, has had no formal education in paintings, but his haunting images, a lot of them comparable to existence varieties, are dropped at lifestyles via his perceptive, self-aware statement. This e-book may be of curiosity to psychologists and psychiatrists one of the wider scientific occupation in addition to humans being affected by any kind of bipolar ailment regardless of the severity.

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This next image was a simple doodle starting with sweeping curves—it was moving towards being some kind of dragon as already mentioned, but it led to a redrawing as a bird (dark central figure), and then into a collection of birds, some recognisable, some fantastic, which can be seen on the next page, vividly displayed in bright acrylic colours. A Biological Journey 45 A melancholy bird? Oh! Idle thought! In Nature there is nothing melancholy. (Coleridge-Taylor: The Nightingale) 46 5 A Biological Journey Biological motifs have been drawn together deliberately in the following doodle, which started as a bit of brain just right of centre.

One way or another, a doodle carries on evolving until it seems to have gone far enough. Like so many things in life, the problem more often than not is to know when to stop, to leave it alone and let it assume its own existence. From step 7 on to step 8, a few more finishing touches have been added until that moment came when it seemed quite clear that the end product had been reached. In step 7, for example, there is a curvaceous dotted structure around and contrasting with the spiky pieces, like a background drape.

To me, it follows that it is a useful form of communication that allows one to interact with the world, but it 24 3 Drawing Doodles can as easily be a covent activity that nevertheless helps the individual get through a depression. Assuming others can see a doodle, the question that intrigues me is whether art of this quite spontaneous nature can be analysed like conventional paintings by critical minds (in this case psychologists and psychiatrists as well as art critics), and has any value other than the seemingly cathartic effect on the artist.

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