Tuesday, July 29, 2008

OCD Windex Carousel - what does OCD feels like?

Ever asked yourself "Do I have OCD"? If not, have you ever wondered what having obsessive compulsive disorder feels like?

Well, if you have to wonder then you are blessed to be free from the constant agonizing, intrusive thoughts that come standard with OCD. If you don't know how you can tell if you, your loved one or your child have obsessive compulsive disorder, then maybe I can help with the following content.

A few symbolic points to my example are:
  • As far as I know, the thoughts and compulsions never go away
  • The obsessiveness may change from one form to another (e.g. cleaning to checking to counting) but always exists. Its like trying to fill a bottomless pit
  • Some moments the thought patterns will be less intrusive and less intense than others
  • Initial rituals or compulsive acts are exhaustively completed before moving on to another act. Even if the second act is a normal everyday occurrence like getting out of bed
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder wastes extraordinary amounts of time, but the sufferer cannot move on (with comfort and ease of mind) until the ritual is complete - no matter how illogical the actions may be
For example, try to focus on one Windex bottle as they spin. Then count it as it goes around 5 times. And, by the way, do not move on and read the rest of the post until you are done.

You can move your cursor over the bottles to increase the speed and the complication of the counting.

Now times this feeling by 100 and do it every day! Welcome to the world of a typical OCD suffer.

The above example tries to demonstrate how mentally exhausting dealing with just one "C" of the (4) notorious C(s) of this disorder can be: counting.

The four C(s) of OCD are Cleaning, Counting, Checking and Canceling. Even though you may think it is nonsense and a waste of time to count the single bottle as it spins around, you have to do it before you can move on. You have to do it because your mind tells you that you must!

Once I asked a psychiatrist which out of all the metal disorders, in her opinion, would be the worst to have and live with... you guessed it, she said obsessive compulsive disorder. Her main reasoning was that it just never stops. OCD is always gnawing at the brain. Also, that the sufferer is conscious and perfectly aware of the behaviors he or she is doing unlike some of the other painful metal disorders like bi-polar, schizophrenia and manic depression.

Without the functional healthy balance of Serotonin in the brain, easy-to-do normal everyday happenings like reading a page of text in normal order become enormous time consuming tasks.

In my fine artwork I try to represent this dichotomy of simplicity in everyday normality with the painful complications the unbalanced mind can manufacture.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dennis Ryan - Fine Art Studies from Pennsylvania School of Art & Design

A few years before Pennsylvania School of Art & Design (PSA&D) changed from a three year associates degree school to a four year college, now known as Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (PCA&D), I studied there. It was from 1994-1997. I lived very close to the school on Prince Street in Lancaster, PA.
Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (PCA&D)
I found the school to be strongest on the level of fine art. I actually excelled in the second and third year when I had to choose a focus study of either fine art, illustration or interior and environmental design; needless-to-say I chose fine art. In 1997 I received the Fine Art Award at graduation.

I had a few great instructors, but most influential to me was Dave Snyder. He was one of the founders of the school back when it was in York, PA. I also worked with Dave as his associate gallery coordinator. Ruth Bernard was also a big influence on my gallery coordination skills and my growth as a fine artist, specifically with her in-depth color study classes.

The school also has a great photography program and printmaking room and classes.

I also worked (under the work study program) as the school closer. In other words I locked up at night. The main benefit of this for me was that since I was at the school late to lock up I put in many extra hours of painting, drawing and printmaking.

Upon graduation and leaving the school in 1997 I had a firm direction on my series 1 and series 2 style.