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The Chameleon - Self Portrait

Jaeda DeWalt

Seattle, United States

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Artist's Description

MANIC REFLECTIONS . . . One day i awakened to a simply sweet, “I heart you!” message on my bathroom mirror. Days later, a bi-polar/manic/sleep-deprived version of me impulsively grabbed my camera, tripod, trusty remote and started striking poses in my mirror. Wishing to immortalize the i heart you message, in some way, before zapping it with Mr. Windex!

So . . . i crouched up on my counter, gradually getting closer and closer to the mirror. It was wonderfully strange, surreal and comical – as i carefully attempted to seat myself in the bathroom sink . . . while the rest of me perched perilously on the bathroom counter.

Purging my manic energy, creatively, provided me with a sense of relief and surrender. After this series was photographed, i went on to photograph two more, in my studio. It was after the photographing of the three, separate series – that i was finally able to slip toward slumber.

BI-POLARITIES . . . Around 18 it started to sink in that something not-quite-right was going on in my frantic mind. As I was always struggling to pay attention in school . . . i also became aware that i would get these incredible highs, feeling euphoric, invincible, on top of the world – no matter what my actual reality was . . . everything was grandiose!

These manic episodes usually lasted about 2 weeks, followed by the worst lows which often lasted months. In a depressive state everything was life and death, everyday problems became overwhelming, i just wanted to crawl into a quiet, dark corner and simply cease to exist. Then there were those inbetween states where i guess i would be what was considered “normal” though to me these inbetween states felt like emotional flat-lining, i felt kind of numb – being so used to the extreme emotions i felt most of the time.

When i was younger, my manic episodes were amazing, accompanied by feelings of invincibility, euphoria and pseudo-bliss. I would feel on top of the world!

Now, these manic episodes are more dark and frenetic in nature. And i find myself craving the sleep these manic episodes deprive me of. It’s hard to stay on schedule/task when i go day, after day – without sleep. I don’t have more energy when i am manic, i am just more hyper and restless, unable to slow down – which creates the illusion of high energy . . . inside my body and mind are crying out for sleep.

It would take another 12 years before i learned how to manage these intense moodswings, learned to go with the flow and how to keep my head above water – no matter what my mood.

There were years of self-destructive coping methods and soul numbing medications. Eventually i decided to approach my bi-polarity from a spiritual/holistic perspective. I decided to go vegan and stopped consuming foods loaded with additives/preservatives. I learned about behavioral management, structure, meditation/yoga, prayer, daily spiritual renewal and daily exercise. Putting all of these things into practice, over time . . . allowed me to utilize my moods creatively AND constructively.



visit the rest of this series . . .

Artwork Comments

  • belair
  • Jaeda DeWalt
  • Roger Mann
  • Jaeda DeWalt
  • jonolaf
  • Jaeda DeWalt
  • K Lockhart
  • Jaeda DeWalt
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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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