Bipolar: Painting By Dr Taha Malasi

Manic/depressive- representation

People suffer from their mental illness. The painting represent the mood cycle , the suffering and my feelings for them.

Bipolar: Painting by Dr Taha H Malasi   

 I came to study mental illness (Psychiatry) in England 1973. I worked with great consultants one of them Denis Leigh in the Maudsley Hospital  (Denmark Hill, London). He enjoyed having overseas students and always supported me. I also worked with Professor Lodge Patch in Springfield’s hospital  for a period of time. The painting was inspired by my first Bipolar case in England. I was in a way lucky! (from a student’s point of view) to witness the strange and massive mood swing from depression to Mania. From hopelessness and despair to being on top of the world. The patient suddenly became hyperactive, elated and very happy and with grandiose ideas. She believed she was rich with diamonds and pearls. She thought she is a film star, trying to help all of us to be film stars and get  rich. The reality unfortunately was bleak. She was very poor physically mentally, and  financially.   

 People suffer from their mental illnesses in many ways and at different levels. Many of them take their own life when depressed. They can ruin theirs and their families finances totally when in a manic state, lack insight and believe they are millionaire. They also can endanger their lives and those of others by driving extremely fast or on the opposite side of the road. As if it is not enough to suffer the disorder itself, mentally ill people and their families suffer from the stigma all their lives.   

The painting represents the two poles of the illness. The (three figures) represents the  same suffering person in the depressive phase, the manic phase  and  the last figure symbolically  and (surrealistically)represent the (essence) of the person suffering the illness - represented  by the strange beggar . When I first painted the picture in my room in Princess Marina House in the Maudsley, Grove lane , London)  I was thinking of Freud.   

Bipolar, also known as manic depressive disorder is an Affective disorder because it is essentially  a  Disorder of Mood. The Dove in the painting, symbolically represent the affect (mood) of the patient and (my feelings) toward my patients. The Wing on the left , wide spread over the (Manic) side and  fully extended , expansive to the full. The Manic (happy)  person, is also expansive with extended open arms. The wing over the depressive figure is a broken wing. Bipolar is (cyclical) disorder and in the painting the cycle represented as s emanating from the (mood)  i.e. Dove tail that represent the mood and the affect.

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