My story begins by having disabilities stemming from a closed head injury when I was hit by a car in my teens.
A traumatic brain injury resulted in a lifetime of cognitive and emotional challenges from temporal lobe epilepsy and bipolar disorder. Underlying these disabilities, were even more challenges, created by pervasive societal views of psychiatric diagnoses: stigma, prejudice, shame, and discrimination.
My doctoral dissertation in Disability Studies addresses these emotional challenges. It is entitled "Beyond Words: Discovering the Bipolar Impaired Self through Visual Imagery." My art encapsulates my work as a disability artist with the diagnoses of bipolar disorder, seizure disorder, ADHD, and finally, a term I have coined in my dissertation, the Impaired Self—the internalized end result of society's harsh judgment and ill-treatment toward those living with mental illness. The ultimate paradox? Society can be seen as needing as much if not more intervention than the person it holds so bitterly in its crosshairs.