In a theme sometimes forgotten by society.
sadder and happier
it is like having a nail
in my brain
that I cannot take it out
having bipolar disorder
is not painful,
more painful is the label
that people put on us
“That’s Life” is a 9 min long dance movie directed, choreographed, videographed and written by Sara Pizzi and performed by Aika Takeshima. In the duration of the movie, we see the dancer going through different emotions, we feel the duration of time, we meet scenes full of dance movements and symbolism. This dance movie has been created in honor of mood swings and bipolar disorder. This dance is a social action to normalize mental health care and awaken the spirit of the audience in a theme sometimes forgotten by society. This to meet the director’s artistic mission of normalizing art and empowering minorities with a non-activist documentary of this world to explain what it should be changed, to give some possibilities of change and create space of reflection.
During Covid-19 pandemic, my(Sara Pizzi) attention fell into the “mood swings”.
I saw it following me during the day affecting my normal actions and emotions. More and more as I was digging into these sensations I discovered how much this affects not only my day and thoughts, but also people close to me. How powerful the mind is to be able to determine our day and relationships. By the way, this is part of our daily life, something that we have to deal with, it is considered normal.
Soon, I reflected on a similar subject who is not considered normal by most of the people and society.
Five years ago, I had a chance to work in a mental health care house dealing everyday with people affected by mental disorders. Something that really broke my heart was hanging out after work and hearing comments like “Be careful to work with ‘weirdos’ so you don’t become weird too”. This was really painful to hear, most of all to acknowledge that this is the common sense of people regarding individuals affected by mental disorders.
Coming back to my primary thought, while I was thinking what could be associated to my interpretation of “mood swings”, I reconnected my memories to some people I worked with affected by Bipolar Mental Disorder, a disease characterized by periods of depression and periods of abnormally elevated mood that last from days to weeks each. Of course, I’m aware that for many reasons these two elements cannot be associated, like the length of these extreme emotional states: mood swings are characterized by quick change of mood, while bipolar disorder defines a mental condition for a long period of time.
But something I felt wrong in this was “Why are people allowed to have mood swings and not be judged, while someone affected by long periods of depression and elevated mood are?”.
In both cases, we are speaking about a condition that affects our daily actions and thoughts, but this does not change the status of humanity and social cohesion. We are still speaking about people with a life, dreams, work, relationships.
Starting from it, I recovered my old notes and journal of patients affected by bipolar disease who I worked with. Few sentences I found interesting that were agreeing with my thoughts were:
This was my starting point for my research. I decided to make a dance movie using quick transitions, music and movement to be able to make people feel a different range of emotions in a few minutes to underline the density of each emotion and how they can change drastically during the day. Rawness of the camera work to elevate the private contest of life and daily life. In this, I wanted to honor the words and people that inspired me, including some elements that patients shared with me.
Director’s thoughts in symbols.
Mental condition or state are not defining our value and personality, being in conflict with emotions and unknown is not the correct way to interpret acceptance and solidarity.
Openness, listening and acceptance of yourself and others are going to make this path easier for everyone.