By Ryann DeLisi
In this article, Ryann DeLisi, a young woman living with bipolar disorder, discusses the significance of art therapy in managing her symptoms. She also shares her thoughts about social stigma and other issues surrounding BP.
Van Gogh's, "Poppies" is what heavily inspired me to make this piece. Since I was a little girl I've always been in love with art and colors. Painting forces me to be present, it's almost a form of meditation for me. Being diagnosed with Bipolar Type I, I experience both Manic and Depressive episodes and painting is a healthy way to keep me focused and let out my emotions productively.
Honestly, I was hesitant at first about having my name next to a mental illness on the internet because of the stigma that goes along with having Bipolar Disorder, but I think it's really important. It's so much more common than you'd think, but there are a lot of people out there too afraid to say anything for fear of being judged or seen as "crazy". I think most people see having Bipolar as something aggressive, like we are all a bunch of ticking time bombs -- but that's really not the case. In my years of therapy and group therapy, people with Bipolar Disorder are some of the most creative, empathetic, compassionate people I have ever met.
Bipolar Disorder is a very serious lifelong illness that often takes lives. Due to financial issues, finding a doctor has probably been one of the hardest parts of having Bipolar Disorder for me. Your quality of life should not be determined by how much money you have in your pocket. Finding quality help should not be so hard and it is a huge issue that needs to be addressed.
If you are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I think it's important to realize that you are not your illness. You are not Bipolar, you have Bipolar, so please don't let it define you. I genuinely think that we see the world in a different way and while that can sometimes be painful, it is also beautiful, there is balance to everything in life. There's a quote that sticks with me, (I can't remember where I heard it) "Don't deny your mental illness, embrace your mental skillness," and I think that's a good way to look at it.
To see more of Ryann's artwork, check out her instagram @yeti_rex
Note: Ryann's creative work featured on BP Swing Sets and elsewhere is her intellectual property (IP) and cannot be released or redistributed without her express permission. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.