Warning: I'm going to be quite explicit here for a bit. I plan to share my anger with you today. If the idea of intense feelings, mental illness, feminism, or Jesus make you uncomfortable - feel free to come back and visit tomorrow - no judgement from over here. It is Monday, after all, there's only so much a person can take when Friday is so far away.
If you do feel up for it - I'm happy to have you here to stick around for a bit and let me know what you think!
Guys. I'm angry. Really angry.
As some of you may know, I have my fair share of mental imperfections. About a year ago I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, as well as a generalized anxiety disorder. Typing these things is not easy for me. I have no problem sharing my feelings with you all, the things that cause me stress or sadness, and how that drives my artwork. But spelling things out so clearly, tying myself to terms like OCD is not a simple task. But I feel that what I'm going to share with you is more important than my insecurities.
I think it's imperative that those of you who struggle with any type of illness; mental, emotional, physical - that you know that you deserve respect from those who treat you.
I spend a lot of my time on a rather high horse, declaring without hesitation that I am indeed a feminist, a fighter for equality, demanding respect in just about every aspect of my life. Yet, in one setting, I become weak.
The doctor's office.
There's something about being on the other side of a psychiatrists desk, staring at their wall of awards and certificates, that makes me forget my bravery. Maybe it's the fact that I'm sharing the darkest parts of my mind with this stranger, that I need their expertise to fix me, but I immediately stop expecting respect. I deal with the lack of eye contact, the texting while I confess my flaws. For more months than I'd care to admit I allowed this behavior to continue as prescription after prescription were pushed across the desk of a man who frequently forgot the diagnosis he had branded me with.
I just let this shit keep happening. I assumed the pills would help me eventually. I assumed this guy knew what he was talking about. I knew it would be months before I could see any other psychiatrist and everyone I talked to said the same thing - "unfortunately, that behavior is not outside the norm".
Well I finally had enough. I've ended it. I received my last incorrect prescription from this man. Fortunately I have a fantastic primary care that I can see in the meantime as my name sits on a waiting list for a recommended alternative.
Where am I going with all of this? Well, besides the fact that it's inspired a painting - I just want to make sure you know that there is never an excuse for someone to treat you like you're just a science experiment. You deserve to be treated like a human being. Maybe, just maybe, if we all demanded respect from those in positions of power - they'd be forced to listen.
So for a long time now I've had this idea to create a painting centered around these failed treatments. I've wanted to show how it feels when I visit a doctor's office, and what it's like when that doctor doesn't quite see me.
When I was brainstorming how to make a painting that could show what this feels like - a Baroque painting kept popping into my head. "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" by Caravaggio:
For those of you that don't know the backstory of this painting, here's the gist:
1) Jesus comes back from the dead
2) His apostle Thomas is all like, "nope! don't believe you!"
3) Jesus is all like, "feel this wound on my chest and then you'll believe me"
4) Tom goes all "oooooh you were telling the truth! dang!"
5) Jesus tells everybody that they shouldn't have to see to believe.
The painting is all about having faith.
More than the story itself (which holds up in my painting concept as well - trusting others, believing that there's a reason that God made my brain all whack attack), it was really the pose of the apostles that kept coming to mind when I was mapping out my painting. For my version, I wanted a group of specialists to be gathered around me, poking and prodding at my head, pouring pills into it. I'm hoping that this shows that it's okay to not trust a doctor. It's okay to shop around and find someone that will treat you the way you deserve to be treated, so that you aren't left looking like this:
Quite a backstory for a painting that isn't even halfway done yet. But I felt it needed to be shared.
I'd love to hear your thoughts - and how you've dealt with disrespectful professionals in your life. Comment below! Let's be angry at mean people together :)
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Hi friends! Welcome to the blog! I'm Mandy and I'm an artist, blogger & founder of the "Artists to Know" interview series. Here you'll find photos of my latest art adventures, furniture makeover projects & advice from successful artists!
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