Mental illness is real, and it hurts. My name is Emily Katherine Harrington, I’m thirty-two years old and live with multiple mental illnesses, including bipolar II disorder. I want to share my story and my paintings with you in the hope that you can benefit from my struggle, either by learning how I cope or simply finding out that you’re not alone in your struggle.
I express myself through writing and symbolic watercolor-and-oil-pastel paintings. I have always loved to write, and I started painting when I was eighteen, one year before my bipolar initially presented. The messages I’ve hidden from myself in my own art are still surprising to me when I find them. The deep end of the brain is a fascinating place.
Living with mental illness demands strength, grace, and hard work. I have fought to acquire the skills it takes to survive multiple diagnoses of mental illness. I want to share my hard-won coping tools with you and anyone who is struggling to stay alive. It gets easier, but you need skills. I hope my insight can give you hope, or even strength.
I paint because I have brutally intense emotions. I need to put those feelings down on paper and then hang them up in my room to study until I decipher what the symbols mean. I write because part of the purpose I have chosen for my life is to share knowledge about mental illness with others. I created this site as a way to display my writing and paintings and explain how I live with a “broken” brain. I’ve struggled tremendously in order to acquire my knowledge of self and self-care. If I can give anyone a shortcut to feeling some relief from any kind of mental illness or psychological distress, this site will have been worth building.
If you live with mental illness or are trying to better understand a loved one who does, please read my blog. I hope what I’ve learned can help you. We each deserve a chance to find peace.
By Emily Harrington, The Goldfish Painter
I am not a doctor or any sort of mental health professional. I am a psychiatric patient with multiple mental illnesses that I have survived for 12 years now. My secondhand knowledge comes from doctors, psychologists, therapists, books, college courses in psychology, and the internet. My firsthand knowledge comes from the feelings, experiences, thoughts, symptoms, problems, and solutions that I have lived through. I know myself well, but again, I am not a professional. The information on this site is not a replacement for getting an actual diagnosis or professional help. Coping skills are fantastic, and I hope you learn some here and that they help you, but please seek and continue real medical treatment if you are struggling with mental illness. I wish you the best. You can do hard things.