Schizophrenia is easily described as a room with a window that looks into the same room over and over.
It’s characterised by vivid hallucinations and auditory sounds inside the head of the sufferer causing an almost emotionless state of being or an erratic dark persona. Though not all schizophrenics are chained to walls of a mental institution like some think. It can be a very inspirational disorder for artworks or music. Poetry and writing. In some cases, most of the early 19th century artists where suffering with schizophrenia.
Psychosis causes the soul to perceive or interpret things differently from those around them, such as “Jack The Ripper is trying to kill me” or “The monster under my bed makes me a cup of tea with too much sugar”.
Which makes it appear like a childhood imagination. Though there are similarities to a child’s mind when it comes to the disorder, except the child has full control over its creation.
I was diagnosed when i was 17 years old. I had spent a few years in an out of a psychiatric hospital. My parents believed i was having a nervous breakdown so i was condemned to weeks of deep therapy sessions to open my mind and see why i was feeling the way i was. When i first heard the word “Schizophrenia” i thought i was going to be left inside a room, wrapped up in a straight jacket. But i was welcomed so warmly and treated like a human being.
I first started feeling my hallucinations when i was in school. I could never pay attention because the voices told me not to. The strange, crooked like shadows beckoning me to jump out of the window. It overtook my mind and i had a serious breakdown that caused my hair to fall out and my bones to waste away.
But through my hallucinations, i discovered a love for drawing and creating images. It become an obsession. I was sketching eyes wherever i could inside my journal.
I started to realise that i wasn’t the only soul to be suffering with it. I discovered an ocean of amazing people who were inside the same room with the window as me.
I started to create my photography series Cabinet Of Souls after finding an old dollhouse in the woods when i was 13 years old. It was during my school holidays which i always describe as my ‘dark summer’. It was between two oak trees. Broken and decayed, it was such a strange thing to find. My mind kept creating the question… why wasn’t it inside a child’s bedroom?. Coming home that night, all i could think about was abandoned houses.
Kate Fenner was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 17. Now, at age 18, she has a path to move forward, which includes learning to cope with the disorder’s symptoms.”I have always been an ‘artist’, I just didn’t realise what that meant until my mental illness appeared,” she writes “I draw a lot of my hallucinations, as drawing helps me deal with it.”
Van Gogh struggled with mental illness throughout his life. Different stories of his behaviour or make some scholars think he had schizophrenia. According to one account, Van Gogh, during an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, heard someone in his ear say, “Kill him.”. One of his most famous pieces of art which many have depicted as how a schizophrenic see’s the world around them. Starry Night. Painted June 1889 from the room of an asylum he was committed to, its always been a painting i could look at for hours.
Such as with the game Limbo.
The story evolves around a character called ‘The Boy’ who awakes inside a bleak black and white world where his hallucinations are more real than ever. All he can do us run to find his way back into the reality of his mind.
It is a truly complicated, painful yet beautifully dark disorder that can express so much inspiration to art in so many ways.