The brain is a messy, oft misunderstood, and frustrating place, especially to those struggling with mental illness–and my painting is an effort to evoke such emotions. There is constant contention between acceptance, lucidity, freedom (white) on one hand and frustration, isolation, confusion (black) on the other. When left to handle this alone one may feel the desire to throw their head back and scream; a red tension may snap within, and blackness left to take over. As students and neuroscientists in this field it is our ultimate goal to help the people that may feel enclosed in this way.
But there is another side to this story as well. Paralleling the efforts people make to clarify the suffering in their own mind is the desire to help felt by the caretakers, a responsibility for the well being of their loved ones that weighs one down. A constant need exists to keep those we love pain-free, and when we discover our powerlessness we can be left with a feeling of frustration and impotence that shadows the loved ones we strive to help.
The Struggle represents the jarring dichotomy of life with a mental illness–at some moments a black cloud that overwhelms any bright hope that the future contains. This individual is a surrogate not only for those fighting the mental illness within, but also the caretakers that want nothing more than peace of mind for those they love and care for.