Another important day for self-acceptance


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If I have learned nothing else about my bipolar II today, it is that I am certainly not the only one in similar circumstances who has found photography to be a healing past-time. Facebook is teeming today with some of the creative works of the bipolar support community.

Scrolling through various blogs and web sites I have also seen confirmed that we face many of the same risks to ourselves as my fellow survivors of childhood abuse, sexual and otherwise, most pointedly suicide. Which doesn’t make me suicidal. Just so you know. It’s just one of those options I have kept in my back pocket since it seemed clear, however wrong, that I would be dead of AIDS-related illness before the 90s were finished. Of course it’s also a tragic reality among those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as we have heard about too often in connection with soldiers returning from Afghanistan or other battle-weary countries.

To be frank I am feeling very optimistic about my process right now. My p-doc is closely monitoring me as I add another “head med”, as I call them, to my cocktail of HIV, diabetes and bipolar medications. Spring has, for many years, been a time of hypomania which I used to refer to simply as an absence of depression. But it got much worse than a passive absence. When the cat (or black dog) is away, well…I played alot. Absent of depression, present with feelings I thought I could control, a deception of self that alcoholics often talk about, too.

I have often described the feeling of hearing the Bipolar II diagnosis, and the ways it fits me, as a day of sweet relief.  It was difficult enough to live with a lifetime of, let’s say, ultimately poor decisions; I was glad to hear a biological explanation for them  It doesn’t absolve me of everything but I have more compassion for myself and others.

Anyway the new med seems to be helping a lot. There are fewer sleepless nights, especially deliberately sleepless nights and I’m back on an even keel that I have experienced many times before on this journey.

Here is a series of three recent photographs taken here in Toronto, Canada, which I call Walking past colours

 

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My 3 entries in “Touched By Fire” 2012


I’ve just entered three photographs in Touched By Fire, a non-profit program “to celebrate, support, and inspire the work of artists with mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. An initiative of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, the project includes a non-juried, inclusive on-line gallery and a juried annual gala ‘the art show you have to be crazy to enter.’”

Digital Monet

Sunrise-Cathedral Bluffs, Scarborough

Different But Equal

For a young peoples’ video look at the history of the Tay Canal please click the link below, by which I mean…


this one!

I am so proud! Not that I had anything to do with this (and I didn’t) but because the video shows how the appreciation of Perth (Lanark County, Ontario, Canada) history is, and will continue to be, alive and well!

Congratulations to everyone, particularly the young people and their mentors, who made this possible.

Cathedral Bluffs, Scarborough (Toronto), sunrise, June 27


Hopped up on sugar and caffeine early this morning I had the bright idea of seeing if I could get to the Scarborough Bluffs in time for some sunrise photos.  I won’t disclose how I got there other than to say that it involved the kindness of neither stranger nor friend!

I’ll let the pictures speak as to how well I walked!  I note that Mother Nature has made very critical, unfortunate structural changes to the Abbey since I first saw it about forty years ago (another ice age intervened, I grant you!)

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A school trip to London with a Kodak Instamatic camera


I think I’ve posted these scanned photos before, but today’s festivities along the River Thames brought back wonderful memories of a class trip to London which took place during March Break in 1976. The camera was a Kodak Instamatic – not very sophisticated – and the prints have not fared well in the ensuing years, stuck – literally – in photo albums which featured a lot of plastic and glue as I recall.

How fortunate I was – what a privilege – to have been able to go on such a voyage as a high school student! We flew out of the then-brand new airport, formerly known as Mirabel, just a few months before Montréal was to host the Olympic Games, as a much different London is now preparing to do in mere weeks.

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The mystique of Montréal’s magnolias


Have I mentioned that I love magnolias…and Montréal?

One of my favourite spring walks around Toronto is in search of the beautiful flowering tree and, with Montréal on my itinerary every May, there are wonderful opportunities to see magnolias at all stages of blooming there.

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“Neuf couleurs au vent” by Daniel Buren


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Montréal’s steadfast, enviable care for public art, as a community (elected and unelected alike), is no better exemplified than in what flaps gloriously in the breeze just off the south-west corner of Parc La Fontaine in another little park unto itself – Place Urbain-Baudreau-Graveline.

Nine rectangular banners are fixed on individual brushed aluminum poles with vertical stripes of green, red, yellow, blue and black.

Originally commissioned by the Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal (CWC) the work, by Daniel Buren (1938-), originally from les Hauts-de-Seine, France, was presented in Québec City during festivities held to mark the 450th anniversary of the arrival of Jacques Cartier in 1984. It then made its way to Montréal in September of 1996.

Neuf couleurs au vent is known as a sculpture in situ, and on a gusty day I can state from personal experience that it makes a gentle, almost nautical-seeming, alarm clock – should you be staying close by as I do when in Montréal!

The sun shines again on my final day in Montréal


I`ll soon be aboard an evennig train home. Oh, but I love Montréal!