My Favorite Bit of Information From The Week:
Bobby Baker and Bad Ass Art!
I discovered the incredible Bobby Baker this week. A woman who wrote a book entitled “Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me”. A book of beautiful drawings showing how she feels about her mental illness on a rolling basis, the book was created over the span of 11 years and includes 158 drawings from the 711 that she made during that time. She created the drawings to help her own mental health, and then was generous enough to share them with us.
This book – and Bobby Baker herself – has offered me a great deal of support and encouragement this week. She is an incredible woman who created her own performance art and then committed herself to a mental health institution for many years, before dealing with breast cancer and then emerging into what seems to be a thriving and happy place in her life. I think I needed to hear that narrative, this week especially.
Bobby’s story is incredible. She was originally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, a diagnosis she now rejects because it has such a stigma and such a doom and gloom prophecy associated with it (most folks diagnosed are told they will suffer with the symptoms such as paranoia, intense emotions, and depression for the rest of their life) it is usually presented to the public as very bleak. But Bobby’s story is anything from bleak. She published her book to great success and is now living a beautiful and happy life. I found this inspiring quote from her in a filmed interview.
“I challenge the idea that mental illness is a deficit, a weakness anyway. I think it’s part of the human experience, and it’s something you can live with and use and there are all sorts of ways of approaching it. But I challenge that story. And, so it’s almost like the imperative of surviving and telling new stories and being seen in a new way is very important….Also…Writing your own account of your life first is a very powerful thing, because you can’t challenge that, they can’t challenge that – those people who are out there staring.” – Bobby Baker
My Favorite Two Images Of Hers Today:
For More Drawings: To see more of the drawings and to learn more about Bobby Baker, please check out Maria Popova’s amazing blog post on her in Brain Pickings. Maria also cites a quote that stood out to me in an interview with Bobby: “I think mental illness is the worst of anything. The hierarchy of suffering is sort of bound into our society. But my personal experience is that the isolation and anguish of severe mental illness was much worse than…having something physical that people could understand better.” – Bobby Baker
Why The Controversy On Borderline Personality Disorder: For more on Borderline Personality Disorder, it’s symptoms, and why it is controversial you can check out Mind (one of my favorite Mental Health resources from England and Wales). There are two pages that are quite helpful: the “About Borderline Personality Disorder” page which gives a definition of the diagnosis and also shows a video of two people living with it and their thoughts on the matter, and the “Why Borderline Prosperity Disorder Is Controversial” page, which lists different ways you can be misdiagnosed and the added pressure that the diagnosis can add to an already trying time.
Where to Buy Bobby’s Book: I purchased a copy from Woman And Children First, one of my favorite books stores and the largest feminist book store in the country! You can learn more about them here. And you can order Bobby’s Book from them and have it shipped to you here, or you can order it online and pick it up in person if you prefer/are in the Chicagoland Area!
More On Bobby: If you are curious about Bobby, or have fallen in love with her as I have, here are a few more videos you can access:
1. Bobby On What Not To Say/How to Respond: This video is an excellent and short resource on how to chat with someone or support someone who is going through mental health struggles. The audience is a bit nonplussed (perhaps they are just British). but I think her advice and story is incredible and very helpful. It resonated with me at the very least.
2. A Clip Of Bobby’s Performance Art She mentions in the video above: Bobby decided to go around in a giant truck with a megaphone telling everyone to “buck up” and “Pull Themselves Together”, as an awareness piece on how not to talk with folks who are struggling. It really starts at 1:46 and you don’t need to watch much to get the idea, but I think it is really interesting to have as a reference.
3. A Clip Of Bobby’s Original Performance Art: Nothing to do with mental health really. I just think she is funny and smart and I enjoyed the clip, so I thought I would share.
Update On My Show:
New Content: I had an amazing brainstorming session with director Drew Shirley this week and it inspired me to create some exciting new content! I’m very much looking forward to sharing this with you all in December!
Fundraising: The project is free for audiences and therefore is completely independently funded – any support is appreciated! If you have already donated, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, you have made it possible to get this far. And if you are not in a place to give a dollar right now, thank you for being here and being a part of breaking the stigma on mental health. Much love!If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here.
Please check out the One Woman Hamlet Website: www.onewomanhamlet.com
AND! my update Video.
Many, Many thanks: Margo Siwak and Joe Siwak for the design of the logo, and to Jillian Best and Bill Best for the Website creation and Design! I feel very blessed to have such beautiful humans in my life.T
Ways to Support: If you would like to donate to my show, share this project with a friend, or find out more about it please check out my gofundme here: https://www.gofundme.com/one-woman-hamlet
Thank You: Thank you VERY much to all who have donated thus far, making this project possible.