When I was in highschool I studied art GCSE, our final project before we left school was ‘order and disorder’ bear in mind I wasn’t diagnosed with BPD at the time but I guess a part of me always knew deep down as I found myself more attracted to the ‘disorder’ side of the project.
I hated GCSE art because my teacher was… not very nice, she made everyone’s experience of the class a misery, nothing we ever did was good enough especially me and my former friends, she seemed to have it in for us for some reason.
Anyway, I digress, because of that the only project I felt I could express myself more in was order and disorder but even then I didn’t have complete creative freedom, we had to work in the style of different artists when I just wanted to do my own thing. The project was both the most enjoyable and stressful one of the two years I studied art.
That’s why I decided to re-do it now with the knowledge I have of borderline personality disorder, if I knew I had it back then it would have been such a good way for me to express my experience with it (though my teacher would have probably shot my ideas down in flames)
Nonetheless, looking back at my old work I found some BPD traits being expressed through my art without me knowing at the time.
This one for example:
Definitely reminds me of splitting and the ‘black and white thinking’ people with BPD are infamous for. One light side, one dark side. I don’t remember what my intention was with this piece at the time but now I relate it to the switches in personality I can have, especially in anger, and the constant battle I have between the disorder and myself.
Another one is this:
This was the draft for my final piece and I remember at the time wanting to create this piece symbolising the distorted image everyone can have of themselves. It shows a (fairly) normal girl, looking into a mirror and the reflection having all these jagged lines and colours representing her messy view of herself. I can see now how this relates to BPD as with the disorder I don’t really have a strong sense of self, so my identity is fragmented and distorted to me.
When I look in the mirror, it depends on my mood how I see myself. If I’m feeling happy and confident I see myself as cute or pretty but when I’m depressed I hate what I see in the reflection or often don’t even look into the mirror and I think this work represents that complicated sense of self I had/ still have.
Back to present day and I’ve drafted pretty much all my ideas and today I’ve been making a start on doing the project properly. Back in highschool when we started a new project we would have to create a title page and mind map for it so that’s where I started. I couldn’t think of a good title page but I did the mind map, adding some printed images I used in my old project as I believe they also link to the personality disorder. I’ll also show you some new ones that have inspired this new project. Hope they inspire you too 🙂
By Kate Louise Powell
by Meggie Wood