(Featured Art by Marinna Shareef)
In light of de-stigmatizing and heightening the awareness of Bipolar Disorder, I’m extremely honored to have an amazing art series to share with you today.
A young artist reached out to me a few days ago, asking if she were able to use my blog as a platform to share her art and insight about having bipolar disorder. You know I said, “Hell to the YEAH!” She could have demanded to take over my entire blog for this series, and I still would have been on my knees for it. Thankfully, she was an absolute sweetheart, and her artwork has BLOWN MY FREAKIN’ MIND.
So, without further ado, I’m here to introduce Artist Marinna Shareef:
Marinna Shareef is a young Trinidadian artist who uses her manic-depressive episodes as inspiration for her work. For bipolar disorder awareness, she is releasing a photo manipulation series based on her bipolar experience. “The Attack,” consists of four pieces: “Fruit of Mania,” “Hall of Tears,” “Squeezed,” and “Too Attached”, [and] are visual representations of how her attacks make her feel.
Through her work, Marinna tries to figure out the patterns that occur from her attacks so she can safely get herself through them. While going through attacks, she uses whatever she can find to scribble how she feels obscurely in her notebook, and comes back to the drawings after a period of healing. She then conceptualizes the sketches into photo edits using her camera and Photoshop.
She does this to help eradicate the self stigma she feels, as she often dismisses her attacks when they are over. However, by ignoring her problems, she just makes them worse. With a mixture of medication and therapy visits, Marinna can lead a balanced life, and wants to encourage people who experience manic-depressive episodes to get the help they need. While it is easier for her to talk about her issues visually, she finds it very difficult to talk to issues while she is going through them. She hopes that by doing this series she can not only help others, but find comfort in asking others for help, and find the strength to keep trying on finding the balance.
Introducing “The Attack” Photo Series
About “Fruit of Mania”:
“A visual look at how manic episodes feel. I feel like every single second of my time needs to be spent doing a multitude of things. Mania for me just feels like I need to keep moving, keep creating and keep doing. ‘The Fruit’ of this situation is the amount of things I can get done, as well as the progress I make in my art. However, I feel like I can do anything and can get myself into plans that are impossible to execute, (which I cannot clearly think through at the time). It also feels like a very long sugar buzz, and can last up to weeks at a time. Like the colors in this piece, I feel intense and feel as if I am too much. But, I cannot stop going.”
About “Hall of Tears”:
“A look into how a depressive attack feels. A corridor of dark thoughts and only memories of the bad. There is no recollection of the good; only framed pictures of tears and struggles. I am alone in the jungle of my mind. I feel as if I can’t move, I cannot do anything, and I am not enough. It is an empty feeling that cannot be expressed through words.”
“This image looks at how feeling both manic and depressive at the same time feels. You feel so overwhelmed that you feel physically as if you are choking and gasping for air. Feeling too much yet feeling nothing creates an entire new experience. This image also addresses the presence of hallucinations, where I see things in front of me that aren’t there while having very bad thoughts.”
About “Too Attached”:
“This highlights the emptiness of being depressed. The stage where you don’t even have enough energy to cry, but just the feeling of nothingness. The stage where you cannot even get out of bed to take care of yourself because you feel as if it’s not even worth getting up. The bed feels like a part of your body, and you are a weight that cannot be lifted.”
Through this beautiful, vibrant and moving art series, I hope you, my lovely readers, can draw one of many important conclusions: It is vital to find a way to express yourself and your struggles in any way that you feel will most accurately represent them.
It can be extremely difficult to gain the courage to speak out about a mental illness, especially one as misunderstood as bipolar disorder. As Marinna mentioned, she still has trouble with being vulnerable about her mental health with friends and family. However, she has the strength and bravery to be open about it with the world, seek help and reassurance however she can, and she manages to do an amazing job at spreading the awareness of bipolar disorder in the process. She’s proven herself to be another important role model for those who have similar experiences, and I am so thankful to let the world know about her.
Even if it’s too intimidating right now to talk about your mental health issues, remember that there are other avenues you may choose to express them. It could be in the form of art, journaling, a letter, a video, or anything (as long as it doesn’t harm you or someone else). There will never be enough role models to help us feel less alone in the struggles of mental illness. By expressing yourself, you could be come the next one, and we’d welcome you with open arms.
More importantly, by expressing yourself, you give yourself the chance to get the help that you deserve to lead a better life.
But, now, I have a few questions for you guys: What has made you afraid of talking about your personal issues/mental illness before? In what ways do you feel more comfortable expressing them?
Plus, feel free to reach out to Marinna Shareef through her Instagram page! Show that girl some MAJOR love!
Thank you SO MUCH for reading!