The video “Insight in Mind” offers representations of Mania and Depression through poetry, photography, animation art drawings and voice acting. Notably, the video is created by people have experienced mania and depression. At the very first minutes of the video two men show up in a building with a big space and no other objects inside but columns. These men experience depression and mania and make an argument the one with the other about their feelings for the situations that are currently in. What makes a great impact is the echo coming from their voices along with the massive space around them. The big space around the men is a visual representation of ones of depression’s most obvious characteristics which is feeling like you are a tiny spec against a massive world. The choice of having two men in the place represents another aspect of depression which is the constant conflict between the two parts of your self when you are in a depression state: the optimistic and the one who feels helpless. The echo of their talking is a verbal representation of depression and amplifies the sense of them being small against a massive space. In addition, the men look quite hyperactive and that is a visual representation of the mania. As a person who has personally experienced depression, I find this visual and verbal representations accurate and very close to the real feeling. So, If I was to put a label on this representation I would say that it is an accurate representation that uses metaphors like echo and big spacing to visually represent depression.
How am I feeling after watching that? It was justifying to see that these individuals have used an accurate representation of depression through neat and clever metaphors that show perfectly what could be said by words like ” I am feeling like I am trap in a big space and all I can here is the echo of my thoughts”. In terms of artistic choices and information, this representation of depression is successful into showing the audience an accurate feeling of being in depression, especially to those who are not familiar with this mental illness. However, from another perspective I ask my self how I generally feel after watching this representation. The answer is that I am feeling quite sad and a little bit intimidated. There is no touch of hope given to this representation but only intimidation found in the empty room that slowly absorbs your happiness like depression does. At the bottom, what is the ultimate goal by making this representation ? To give you accurate information about it and make you sad at the same time? to show a representation that can use accurate metaphors as a medium to express them self? does it really works in terms of entertainment, or it is not about entertainment at all ?
Next, the video starts to show some drawings that visually represent depression accompanied a description with the voices of their creators. The first drawing shows two pair of glasses, the second one shows three face on top of the each other and the third shows two faces next to each other. “You see through two separate pairs of glasses” is a verbal representation that sounds while the screen shows the drawing with the two pair of glasses. Again, the representation of depression in both the drawings and voice uses metaphor to describe the division of your souls and emotions happening when you are in a state of depression. “In the lows it is if nothing is gonna hang together… whereas in the highs it feels like everything fix together…” is a verbal representation that sounds while the screen shows the other two drawings. There is the same metaphor in these drawings that it is found in the previous drawing, however the verbal representation does not use metaphors instead the narrator plainly and accurately explains the feeling of division.
How am I feeling after watching that? The metaphor of the separation of the soul and generally the depression is depicted visually with two or three heads and two glasses that makes an obvious and clear representation while the same applies for the verbal representation. It is an artistic approach with a playful and creative attitude that gives the viewer a bittersweet taste of depression. In the last verbal representation though the narrator does not use metaphor instead he plainly explains how he feels, which leaves the viewer with a heavier feeling. Overall this representation gives to me a bittersweet feeling with remotely hinds of hope, a touch of wonder and nostalgia.
Next, at 2:00 in the video a female voice starts to perform a poem about depression by using some powerful words and metaphors : “…talking endlessly… walking to much… becoming tired… the universe spins me of the outer edge… chaos becomes my world… my room… me”, these are some quotes of her poem which I find intense the most. Again, this verbal representation of depression is accurate in it’s content where it presents the mental and physical exhaustion happening by the thoughts and the constant talk with your self. The poem uses some powerful words like “chaos” and “tired” with an intense and mildly aggressive tone at some points by the narrator making a great impact to the audience. However, her words “…my room… me” are the ones that made the greatest impact to me because of their simplicity and plain nature that could not be more accurate with other words, suggesting that depression is just you, alone in a room that feels like poisonous nest.
How am I feeling after watching that? My feelings are similar enough with the verbal representation that I have mentioned above. Plain words and sometimes metaphors describe depression by giving you an accurate taste of the mental illness, however you find your self feeling trapped and suffocated by the bitter honesty and intensity found in those words.
Next, at 3:04 in the video a male voice starts to perform a poem about depression accompanied with relevant photography. Some of the poem’s quotes that made a strong impact to me are: “Full moon, Luna moon, lunatic moon, like Dracula I rise silently from the bed, crippling out into the restless night…”. First of all, I could’t not to smile and have a laugh or two when the narrator jumped from the “Full moon” to “Luna moon” and “lunatic moon”, there is just something about these words, their very nature that makes you smile. The poem uses verbal metaphors like in the representations that are mentioned above, however there is a different tone, atmosphere and approach in this verbal representation. The narrator describes himself as Dracula that silently rises from the bed and goes out into the night that never rests. Accordingly, the “restless night” is a reference of depression, dark as the night and full of terror that never rests and never leaves you to rest. His voice sounds deep, strong and creepy like if he is in a bathroom with no other sounds but just his voice against a complete silence. However, there is a touch of humour in it’s content but also in it’s manner, the narrator’s tone is somehow playful and mischievous.
How am I feeling after watching that? My feelings and reactions differ a lot from those of the representations that I have mentioned above. The verbal metaphors are more complex and suggest that you have a decent perception to understand and relate them with the mental illness. However, not as plain and clear as the other metaphors they sure are more playful, colourful and light. They urge you to think of a narrative, one with Dracula and the moon… and the night… and suddenly it feels more interesting and warm that any of the representations that are mentioned above. It is artistic and accurate enough once you are able to make the connection between the metaphors and the mental illness. It is humorous enough to make you smile when the narrator uses different adjectives to describe the moon like “Luna moon” and “lunatic moon”. Overall, after watching that, I would ask my self if this is the kind of verbal representation of mental illness that I would like to see or make in an animation… and the answer would be yes. Why? Because it feels light and because it makes me smile at some points. The seriousness of the subject is still there of course, but it is the approach that the poem uses that makes the difference… To present you some of the bad aspects of depression, but to be noble enough to warm your heart a little bit using humour and playfulness.
Next, at 4:20 in the video, a narrator with a female voice starts to describe her experience when she slowly started to feel like loosing her mind. There is a verbal representation which is her words describing the feeling and the visual representation shown in the background while she speaks. Some of her quotes that made a great impact to me are: “…Please don’t make them feel am mad again… the inside of my head is a maze… I was uncleanly losing my mind… I don’t know what to say anymore… I said to my mum call the doctor…” Like in the first two representations that are mentioned in the post, this verbal representation is plain and honest, giving an accurate explanation of her feelings. What is worth mentioning is the soundtrack that sounds along with her words. Compare to the other representations that are mentioned in the post, this one uses music, an energetic and dynamic bit that actually do achieve to lighten up the atmosphere and add a playful sense in her narrating. As far as the visual representation is concerned, there is a puppet-like doll shown in the background that represents her self as a metaphor. The doll goes there and there, siting alone in playgrounds and benches… shopping… walking. The doll is made with colourful bits of fabric as a metaphor for her mixed, unmatched emotions he feels. Even though it is visually colourful it feels dead insight, with no soul, with no life as a metaphor of her own existence.
How am I feeling after watching that? The narrator uses honest and powerful words that give an accurate verbal representation of her mental state in contrast with the energetic music bit at the background as well as the creative and playful visual representation. Overall, like in the second representation that is mentioned in the post, it gives you a bittersweet taste of the mental state that makes you to crave more light and less intensity.
Finally, the last part that made the greatest impact to me comes at 17:57 in the video where two men show up on the screen and start to perform a poem. They simply start to say some single word adjectives, starting alphabetically and go on until they finally reach the last letter of the alphabet. Their words are single word adjectives of mental illness and mental states, however some of them are in serious form while others are humorous. Some of their quotes are: “Bongos… booby… crazy… clanky… clocked… cracked… diagnosed… doofy… depressed… deranged… gity… hallucinating… loony… loonacrus… loopy… mentally ill… moronic… obsessed… paranoid…” In the video you see the two men somewhere in Nottingham’s City centre performing that series of words clearly in a playful, mischievous, weird and funny manner. I could’t react in any other way than to smile and even laugh out loud at some points. In a way, all of those adjectives can be used to describe someone who suffers from mental illness, serious or funny manner, formal or informal. Notably, the ones that make you laugh are those mentioned in my first research as the ones that stigmatise people like “lunatic”, “crazy” or “loopy”. Astonishingly, the men who have used those words in the video are people who used to or currently suffer from mental illness.
So, what does this say? What really works in a verbal and visual representation about mental illness? Do accuracy and honesty entertain? Are words like “lunatic” or “nuts” a necessary medium to add humour in representations about mental illness and therefore to entertain but also to lighten up people’s heart? I believe that all of these questions may lead to the quote I have given in my Christmas presentation : “Does it not feel better when you lighten up serious matters?” It certainly does. I have watched every representation in this video, each one of course with it’s own artistic and respectable approach and choices, however the ones that had at least a touch of humour are the ones that entertained the most. Those are the ones that have used playful and creative metaphors to depict some ugly aspects of depression in contrast with others that plainly and honestly represented those aspects leaving you heavy and sad. My conclusion is that I have might exaggerated in my first research when I mentioned specific ways of depiction of visual and verbal representations of mental illness.
If I, who had experienced depression and currently has O.C.D and Restless led syndrome don’t get offended by the type of humour that includes “lunatic” and “loopy” words… if those men in the video who are sufferers don’t get offended… if the parts with that kind of representations made me smile and pass to me positiveness… then it is fair to say that there is no right or wrong visual and verbal representation of mental illness, but maybe one that entertains, one that makes you smile, one that informs you the most, one that leaves you with bittersweet feelings and so on.
D. Saul & P. Arnold. (2002). Insight in Mind. United Kingdom: Swings and Roundabouts