Kaleidoscope, Wellness through Creative Expression is a magazine featuring artwork and literature by people who are affected by mental health issues. The fourth edition will be launched by the Canadian Mental Health Association on May 16.
A pencil drawing by Dawn Beirnes was chosen to be part of the magazine. "This is really exciting," she says. "I'm so proud. The most exciting thing for me is my name is on the front page, my picture's in there and I can share it with my brothers and my sisters and my friends. It doesn't say 'hello, you are mentally ill,' it says 'hello, these are 22 artists and poets that have created a wonderful thing that is going to go all over Manitoba.'"
Beirnes is bipolar. She says creating art has definitely helped her deal with her illness. "When I'm manic or depressed, that's when I draw. I write, draw or paint. The last time I was sick - or you might call it creative - I started painting and painted nine canvases," she says.
"What happens is the thoughts in my head get racing and if I have pen, pencil or a paintbrush in my hand, I can sit for hours and draw and try painstakingly to get everything perfect." Once she is feeling better, she stops drawing and the art book goes back into the drawer.
Jason Cheung plays violin to combat schizoaffective disorder (CMHA)
Jason Cheung's outlet is music. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder 11 years ago. As part of his healing process he started writing a monologue.
Then he picked up his violin that he had started learning as a child and added music to the monologue. "It just started from there and I never looked back," he says.
In his monologue he compares the violin to the brain. "They are both instruments of precision. They need to be cared for, they can be rewired and re-tuned to achieve optimal effect," he explains.
Cheung says playing the violin has made all the difference for him in his healing. He now holds down a part-time job, is involved in drama, writing and sings in a choir. "If I had to do it without the violin it would probably take a lot longer," he says. "It relaxes me. It's such a joy when I play a tune."
Cheung has presented his monologue over 100 times now. "I know it is empowering not only to me but to other people as well." He feels that sharing his experience helps others learn that recovery is possible. "The experience is so blessed and so wonderful that I want everyone who is suffering to have an opportunity to recover and to be on their journey."
Cheung will perform his monologue at the Kaleidoscope Launch and Coffee House and Beirnes will have the opportunity to tell her story to the audience as well. Comedian Big Daddy Tazz will host the event which will feature presentations by eight contributors to the magazine, and an array of musical performers.
The next project will be to record a CD to be released in 2014.
The Kaleidoscope Launch and Coffee House takes place Thursday, May 16, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the CMHA Winnipeg Regional Office, 930 Portage Ave.
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