Spinning Orbit is the name of a painting I did in bipolar mania which represented how my brain felt - spinning around in circles but I was determined to move forward. While painting Spinning Orbit, I decided that I would collect my drawings and paintings which helped me process emotion that was shut down from trauma and have an exhibition. Setting a ‘ridiculous’ goal of an exhibition when I only had a few paintings gave me a sense of hope and purpose, while alternating between mania and depression adjusting to medications.
Freedom to Break Rules
Painting in abstract means I can let go of perfectionism as I'm not trying to paint something realistically. I choose colours to suit my mood (I have extreme moods with bipolar disorder) and it's not essential to use a paintbrush. Sometimes I paint with a knife or other objects other than a paintbrush. I don't usually have a finished picture in mind. My aim is not a pretty picture but to get out emotions, which for me get 'stuck.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
I read the incredible memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly several years ago and also watched the film. I nearly always prefer books over films as they can be more rich in metaphors and nuances. Jean-Dominique Bauby suffered a stroke which left him with locked-in syndrome where his mind was mentally sharp and aware but his body was light a lead weight with paralysis of nearly his whole body.
Xanthe has suffered from mental illness for over 25 years and has been diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder, PTSD and social anxiety disorder.