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Friday, April 5, 2013

CHRONICLES: The Pain of Beauty, The Fragility of Sorrow

I have seen and personally witnessed some pretty horrible things in life.  I've had friends pass away far too long before their time.  I've received frantic phone calls in the middle of the night from people who I wouldn't expect to hear from, describing scenes of blood and razor blades and shock.  I've tried to convince a man who did everything he could that the death of my son was not his fault before I even got a chance to see his body.

And while I don't suffer from a diagnosed mental illness like depression or an anxiety disorder, I realize that a large part of that is simply due to the fact that I haven't had the ability, time, or personal motivation to address that, because, like everyone else, I have my days.

But I don't have them regularly.  I'm blessed to have positive people in my life, to be generally happy in my place in life, my job, my relationships, my family.  None of it is perfect, but some of it is life-changing and positive in its own right, and I cherish it sincerely.

A few days ago, I had a chance to help some friends of mine set up their exhibit, La Folie Circulaire, at the Main Street Gallery of the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council.  The pictures weren't all hung yet, but still, walking into that room, a wave of hope, joy, suffering, self-loathing, despair, depression, love, so much love, SO MUCH LOVE, that painful love that you give or receive when someone you know is hurting and all you can do is hold them.

It brought me to tears.  Not heaving, doubled-over crying, but tears, my subconscious and it's tiny, salty, wet tributes to those who are fighting a battle every day in their heads.

The exhibit features graphic images depicting the struggle with bipolar disorder.  It has shocking and beautiful portrayals of being at the highest highs, the lowest lows, the fall out of both, and the ever-present feeling of desperately wishing for an easier path, whether that be a change in meds or the pull of a trigger.

The shocking reality of the struggle that people who have bipolar disorder is something I am relatively familiar with, having spent years with people who are diagnosed, so I'm very familiar with the effects that the ups and downs can produce in life.  However, seeing it up on the walls here in such a way.... it's powerful.

So, if you get a chance to check out the opening, swing by their website, stream the opening tonight at 5:00 Alaska Daylight Time, you will be doing yourself a huge favor in sharing in this very difficult voyage.  I hope you take the time.  It's just... amazing.