BEHIND THE

               MASK

My journey in New York has been unusual due to a situation that left me torn emotionally. The catalyst for my decision to return to Ireland was to pro actively check myself into hospital and deal with my mental health head on (both literally and emotionally). Three months later I was faced with a daunting decision: To stay within my comfort zone and recover in Ireland or to return to the adventure in New York City. Initially I was torn, but I felt there was a crazy creative energy in America that would fuel me and steer my creativity in ways that staying in Ireland could never achieve. ‘Torn’ for me encapsulates the personal emotions I experienced during depression, anxiety, and ADD, showcasing something mental in a physical form.

 

My piece is a wearable coat, viewed aesthetically as a regular item. No obvious flaws, just your average coat - very similar to a person trying to conceal their daily struggle with their mental health.

Once you wear the coat, the art tells a different story. I hope you are able to grasp the feeling of pain and the loss of focus. You can add another dimension to the piece by pulling the hood over your head - this will add the sensation of a heavy head, your view restricted, just a few things those experiencing depression suffer with on a daily basis. All the meanwhile, the soundtrack you are listening to is designed to dominate your attention and overpower your senses, distracting you continuously - just like those with ADD who battle to concentrate with distractions surrounding their every move.

The top of the coat features a neck band: a physical representation of anxiety causing short breath and a scratching sensation around the neck. Further down the coat is a studded waistband to physically represent the stomach churning pain.

 

Whilst wearing the coat and torn between all the physical emotions, I ask you to do a simple mundane task such as drawing or writing a sentence to highlight the deep focus and concentration that is needed by those with depression, anxiety and ADD.