The art in my book,
, was printed in black and white. Below is my original colourful collection. Captions explaining my mindset and the timeline are printed at the bottom of each image. Crazy, Memoir of a Mom Gone Mad Contact me with questions or to discuss.
I created this picture in one-minute using my daughter’s glitter pens, a few days before being hospitalized in May, 2017. It was inspired by Fish Creek, with the grass and flowers in the foreground, silver snow-capped mountains in the distance, and sun, sky, and clouds above. My daughter loved it.
I doodled this image on a napkin at the West Edmonton Mall restaurant while waiting for our food, two days before hospitalization. I dribbled wine onto the tree trunk but it ripped a hole in the napkin, which disappointed me.
This was created in the hospital. My daughter noticed the art supplies in the psych ward and chose this colouring page for us to do together. I added fangs, doodles, and a poem while she coloured, which made her lose interest. I was already dragon-fixated before being hospitalized and these colouring pages added to my obsession.
While hospitalized and manic I thought a lot about my irregular menstrual cycle, the lunar cycle, and hormonal mood swings. I wondered if they were related to my bipolar diagnosis.
A manic/hospital doodle. I thought I was drawing a river until I coloured it in and it turned out to be the Northern Lights. Love when my art surprises me.
Another manic/hospital doodle. While drawing the last of 5 trees I realized that they represented our family, the way we walk in a line and keep the kids between us. This made me happy but when I showed it to my husband he was not impressed. He was tired of me finding meaning in everything.
In the summer following my hospitalization, I was too depressed to draw or write. My children were playing with stencils one day, and watching them inspired me. I drew this simple reproduction of my Picasso Peace Dove tattoo, to demonstrate how to use a stencil creatively. It was wonderful to feel mildly artistic again.
This picture was me trying to break down the initial symptoms of my manic episode with the later ones, and determine where they crossed the line. I was still heavily medicated and confused, and I couldn’t think through the words without the art or the art without the words.
After being diagnosed with bipolar 1 and coming down from my manic episode, I spent most of the following year depressed. I desperately wanted to create beautiful art, but I was still uninspired and had no confidence in my abilities. This was the best I could do.
Still depressed and uninspired, but desperate to create, I began to doodle. My children informed me that this art technique is called zentangling. I didn’t know it was a thing, I just wanted to draw. This felt therapeutic.
After being transferred to the ward from the ER during my second mania and hospitalization, I was angry. My artistic abilities were still disappointing, but spirals and colours appeal to me during mania. This picture started out as a way for me to express my rage and helped me work through many difficult emotions.
I began doodling quotes and song lyrics to express myself, and liked the resulting imagery combining a treble clef, hockey stick, and pair of eyes wearing glasses. It was one of my first drawings after my second manic episode that felt inspired.
My representation of my bipolar mood swings based on my psychiatrist’s sketch. The colours are intentional. Extreme mania is yellow, hypomania is red, mild depression is purple, and severe depression is blue. My hope when I made this was that my extreme moods would start to dissipate, so that’s how I drew it.
Speaks for itself.
I photocopied my hospital admission certificate and turned it into art to vent/heal. I painted the form yellow, a colour associated with insanity because of Van Gogh’s sunflowers, wrote on it in blue to calm the words that hurt (my symptoms), highlighted the parts that weren’t true with red, and doodled half of a broken but resilient tree.
© Charise Jewell, 2017-2022