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The Hypergraphia Project is an online hybrid text looking at mental health and creativity. Over the next six months the story of Thomas and Azra will be released, one part a month.

Panel 1

Introduction

I am a state of mind.

No.

I am a state of madness in a mind. I am something inside a person. The Person. I am a facet of has a name that I don’t know. She won’t let me know about the others either, the other parts of The Person which we all build up to. This makes me frustrated. Sometimes this makes me outright mad. Yeah. Why not use that word? I am exactly what it means. I AM MAD. Ok? Madness isn’t just a label, it is in my personality. It is my everything. My name is Azra. And Azra is madness.

Should I tell you about when I first emerged? I had burnt away for years in the background of the mind of The Person (The Person I am one of but do not know). Then one day I saw a crack of light. A possible escape tunnel. A way out. A path to freedom. Maybe even the freedom to expand myself, become a real personality. The crack was a shift in The Person’s sanity. Our body was maybe eleven years old. She couldn’t reconcile the person she longed to be, with the hatred she felt was coming from everyone around her. I took the opportunity to worm myself into the crack. As more problems bashed against The Person, the crack got wider. The crack became a split; and through the split I emerged. At first I pushed myself through as a mushy mass of madness. Quite bulbous at first, I ballooned out of our body like an insanity foetus.

My foetus grew. My foetus became me. The Madness.

When I am free I don’t not need The Person; she is only scaffolding. I control her brain. Right now I am free. I was free during all of the writing.

I am growing up quickly; every day I take over more of The Person. I reign all-powerful over her body. When I’m in charge our body fights back. It flees mental hospitals. It paints on walls.

I admit that sometimes The Person drifts away from me. They get her on these pills. Sometimes she begins to worship at the pharmacy altar, praying for strength against me. I try to call her back, be she shoves me away into some dark place. But there is a good view from in here. I always know I will be back. There will always be another crack to wedge open soon.

Panel 2

PART ONE: AZRA

“I write ugly poetry because I am an ugly person.”- Azra.

 

 

“I feel insanity

crawl around inside of me

with her claws out

 

I watch her

love/hate

sex life, with

The Creativity.”

  • Sarah Gonnet

 

 

 ***

 

Confidential Confessions #1

Psychiatrist: So last week we talked about your childhood. Can you remember that?

Azra: No.

Psychiatrist: Childhood or the conversation?

Azra: No.

Psychiatrist: Either?

Azra: Neither.

Psychiatrist: Ok, well, a quick recap- we talked a bit about your father. And then about the possible start of your illness…

Azra: That I used to see ghosts?

Psychologist: Yes. I wanted to take a look at that again.

Azra: I thought everyone saw ghosts.

Psychiatrist: It is common among children but…

Azra: I can’t really remember any of it.

Psychiatrist: Ok…ok.

Azra: Ok.

Psychiatrist: It is possible that your natural childhood imaginary friends developed into the psychosis you experience now.

Azra: They were never friends.

Psychiatrist: And that could have something to do with the way you felt that other people felt about you around that time.

Azra: Huh?

Psychiatrist: Your fears become embodied.

Azra: You mean my parents fucking hating me?

Psychiatrist: Yes. In your words.

Azra: They did fucking hate me.

Psychiatrist: Maybe we should leave that alone for a little bit. You also said last week that your creativity started around the same time as those early psychotic experiences.

Azra: When I was first manic I wrote a 500 page novel.

Psychiatrist: You said that it has a lot to do with why you refuse to take medication at the moment.

Azra: It makes my brain run too slow.

Psychiatrist: Can we discuss that? You know that medication is important.

 

 

***

 

 

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Manic-Depressive

So here I am again. Blog time!

This week has been ok. Started a lot of projects; finished none. A little bit hyper the whole time.

Watched that Jim Carrey film, the 23 thing (it was pants) and ended up researching Hypergraphia. It’s what the main character has, and after asking the internet I reckon I might too. It often comes alongside my long-term friend Bipolar. I feel like since I’ve been on meds (well on and off them) it’s just got worse. Like when I’m on them I get this pressure of writing instead of the usual pressure of speech. I HAVE to be writing or drawing ALL OF THE TIME. Which is actually pretty good since I have a thesis to write. I’m determined to get it done this year; no more part-time bollocks for me. I am full-time, fully committed. I’m still making art as well, but I’m going to move it into a more “spare time” category, rather than the “taking over my life” category.

My idea has to be original; so I’ve been looking into Cognitive Poetics. It’s a brand new field so it has space for new ideas and if anyone is creative enough to take it on I am.

 

 

***

 

 

This is my friend’s art studio (she’s in Art College). I like to work in here when I’m really focusing on a project. I mostly go in after all the proper students have gone home (not that late actually- about five) and work until the building closes. It keeps my creative work away from my academic work, which is good because they both require very different brains!

hyper 4

 

 

***

 

 

Project One The Eyes

 

 

***

 

 

Confidential Conversations #2

Silence.

Psychiatrist: How is your concentration?

Azra: I keep spacing out.

Psychiatrist: I know.

Azra: Sorry.

Psychiatrist: No need. Has it been happening regularly?

Azra: Yeah. The last few weeks. Yes.

Psychiatrist: But you’ve stuck with the meds?

Silence.

Psychiatrist: Hmmm?

Azra: I don’t like them.

Psychiatrist: What about them?

Azra: We’ve talked about this hundreds of times…

Psychiatrist: And yet…?

Azra: I’m not…doing this again. I hate them. I take them, and then I’m counting all the time until I next take them.

Psychiatrist: You’re worried they’re addictive?

Azra: They are.

Psychiatrist: Actually there is little evidence to suggest…

Azra: I know they are.

Psychiatrist: So your concentration. You seem to be able to focus right now, on this conversation.

Azra: It only happens sometimes. Anyway…I was before… I can’t do my thesis properly.

Psychiatrist: Why not?

Azra: I end up drawing.

Psychiatrist: Drawing is good.

Azra: Not when I need to work.

Psychiatrist: You should be less harsh on yourself.

Azra: Right.

 

 

***

 

Drawings

 

 

***

 

 

Psychosomatic.

A word that eats itself.

Ice cubes press hard,

up from in my stomach.

My leg has an ache in

the veins like a

tree pattern all down

the bridge of bone.

Blue stones in my eyes,

swell out like sleep,

but in pebbles. Growing,

sticking, falling out

of my eyelashes.

 

 

 

 

Am I ill?

How can she “just know” I’m not.

Like declaring a baby’s gender;

before its born.

 

 

 

I’m being held up,

at home.

A hole in my foot,

so I can’t walk.

My stomach empties,

easy but painful.

I could plug the hole with pills,

or would that just make it worse?

Pebbles again. This time in my toes,

swollen out of place

and hard.

But smooth too,

and nice to touch.

 

 

***

 

 

Project Two: Life Drawing Class

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

Project Three The Starry Night

 

 

***

 

 

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Manic Depressive

I’ve been trying to write poems. At least I can actually finish them! I’m running out of energy for the thesis or the novels.

They’re saying I might be Bipolar again. They gave me this stupid leaflet so I cut it up and made the poems from the bits. I looked it up and it’s called “found” poetry: Kurt Cobain used it to write his lyrics. Only he cut up his journals not leaflets (before journals were online).

I’ve been put on new meds and I’m mostly sticking to them. They make me so fucking tired and hungry. I have a craving for sugar so bad that I keep finding myself sat eating jam.

I bought a copy of Finnegans Wake and I’ve been trying to read it. Apparently it’s about James Joyce’s Schizophrenic sister. Somehow reading it when I’m like this makes so much sense. I think I might be going mad.

I mean madder.

 

 

***

 

 

Project Four Found Poetry

 

 

***

 

 

Confidential Confessions #3

Azra: No.

Psychiatrist: I think it’s just interesting that you refuse to talk about him.

Azra: No.

Psychiatrist: But surely you can empathize with his position?

Azra: I can’t.

Psychiatrist: But haven’t you attempted suicide yourself?

Azra: I don’t have kids.

Psychiatrist: But…

Azra leaves.

 

 

***

 

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Manic Depressive

Can’t. It’s a word I’ve learnt a new meaning for. I try to study; I can’t study. I try to write; I can’t write. I try to watch films; I can’t watch films. I try to watch TV; I can’t watch TV.

Apart from fucking quiz shows…I think the dramatic music helps keep my brain moving.

 

 

***

 

Days are

tiny Nervous

Breakdowns

and each finishes

Me. Off.

 

 

 

Out onto the Floor

The tension

in this room

comes from my wrists

and the peach bandage,

that tries to cover it up…

…paint the marks the same

colour that the others are.

But the truth is beneath it:

I have embossed stripes of smooth skin,

itching over crevices an

bubbles of fat growing out of it all.

Because all the blood has already drained

out

onto the floor.

 

 

 

A Joke

I was on drugs

and it got fucking repetitive.

Now I’m on books

And it’s not so bad.

 

 

***

 

Dad,

I’m still having those dreams. They make me feel like a crazy person. I wake up and they’re still fucking there. I know that you’d know what to do.

Come back for me.

I dream that I have something growing in my head that isn’t right; then I wake up and know it’s true.

I’ve started writing poems again like when I was a little girl. I’m writing them for you. I want to jolt you into moving. Or at least for you to admit you understand my suffering.

You do understand right?

 

 

***

 

 

A Dream Play

 

 

***

 

 

Azra Page Year Two Assignment 08

 

 

***

 

 

I am Bipolar?

Is my nose Bipolar?

Are my hands Bipolar?

Are my eyes Bipolar?

Are my feet Bipolar?

Are my tits Bipolar?

Is my arse Bipolar?

Are my fingernails Bipolar?

Is every hair on my head Bipolar?

Is my vagina Bipolar?

What about my eyelashes?