Symptoms of my psychiatric disorders alter my visual perception of the world and shape my aesthetics. My bipolar moods change depth perception, contrast, visual acuity, the saturation of colors, and my sense of composition. Elevated moods increase these aspects of perception, and depressed moods diminish these aspects of perception.
In the early stages of elevated Bipolar moods, my heightened sensitivity makes everything interesting- from litter to flowers to views from the driver’s seat while stopped at stop signs or stoplights.
Anxiety-driven depersonalization and derealization alter my perception of my self and the world around me. Depersonalization typically manifests as a feeling that my head is a vast cavern with my thoughts occurring at the cavern’s roof, my feelings occurring at the cavern floor, and my sense of self floating in the space between the roof and floor.
The saturation of colors may be exaggerated, and my visual acuity is diminished because the borders between objects are fuzzy like the borders of an image viewed thru a soft-focus lens. During depersonalization, I may feel like I am floating above and outside of my body, watching what is going on like a fly on the wall.
Looking thru a viewfinder can be similar to feeling like I am a fly on the wall. But the ability to look thru the viewfinder and then at the scene in front of me counteracts feeling disconnected from reality.
Derealization makes the world seem weird and alien. I feel like I am living a movie, play, or a dream. Sometimes my visual perception is like looking through a lens of a camera (cinema and photographic). I think my interest in Observational Documentaries and photography is driven by these experiences of depersonalization and derealization.