On the Beauty of Mental Illness
By Paul Jameson

It’s been a funny old week. Ups and downs you might say.

The Beauty of Mental Illness

The down was at the beginning of the week. Less a down and more a frightening annoyance, I had a funny turn on my daily walk. It was quite a severe depersonalisation episode. I described it as a ‘head-pop’ and my sister-in-law asked what that was.

I responded with…

‘It’s like the world being a Van Gogh painting,
but with weird sounds, blindness,
and the ground turning into marshmallows…’

Strangely, the next day someone posted a picture of Van Gogh’s ‘The Sower’ on Twitter and I was struck by how similar the painting was to this very episode of depersonalisation, the accompanying hallucinations, strange colours and brightness.

Eerily close.

Now I know Van Gogh suffered mental health issues, among them hallucinations, and I can’t help but think depersonalisation must surely have been something he experienced; especially given his paintings. I’d like to think so, because it’s nice to see someone make something so beautiful out of something so frightening, weird and at times bloody dangerous.

And so I finished the week on the up.

I had looked into the life, work and health of a famous Dutch artist and perhaps understood my own illness a little better. Enough to better describe it to others and see the ‘beauty’ in it…

Wheat field with crows

Reproduced with permission, originally posted here


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