MIND, the mental health charity in the UK, reports that one in four individuals will encounter a mental health challenge during their lifetime. Contemplating this statistic and other similar ones, I often wonder if this number is just "the tip of the iceberg."
Personally, I have faced mental health challenges throughout my life, and it was only at the age of 50 that I finally received a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Prior to that, my life was a bewildering and often overwhelming journey, where I was frequently either in denial or lacked insight into what was truly happening. The fact that I had no prior knowledge of BPD, or EUPD as it is also known, makes me speculate that there may be far more people with the condition than the estimated 2 in 100 people in the UK who will be diagnosed with BPD in their lifetime.
While working on this mural , first of four murals at Leake Street Art Residency, I covered the wall with Max The Viruses, all in the same color, seemingly joyfully bursting forth from the tunnel walls. As is typical during these grand mural missions, my mind wandered, and I pondered the fact that I had not really discussed my BPD diagnosis with anyone, feeling a certain degree of shame. I realized that I was contributing to my own stigma and decided it was time to change my perspective in a creative manner. Thus, in the mural, amidst the seemingly identical Max The Viruses, I included a lone blue Max The Virus representing "The Invisible Ones" - those who are either unaware of their condition, whether it be BPD or any other mental health condition, or those who know but feel compelled to remain silent. When someone inquires about the blue Max The Virus, it gives me the opportunity to share my experiences.
Creating this mural brought me immense joy as it felt like a true collaborative experience. I extend my heartfelt thanks to AURES (https://aures-london.com) for graciously allowing me to use their scissor lift, without which the mural would not have been possible. A big thank you also goes out to all the individuals who stopped by to say hello and connect during the process. It appears that simple, regular human contact can serve as a natural remedy for the symptoms of BPD, and your presence was truly appreciated.