We often talk about mental illness as a thing. Like an object we can quantify, diagnose and put in neat little boxes. But mental illness is an experience that is personal, unique, individual and yet somehow a part of the continuum of mental health and thus, relatable to us all. In this short film documentary, Dorothy Allen-Pickard shows us an intimate look inside bipolar disorder through the eyes of Ellice Stevens who suffers from the disorder.
An intimate, very visual exploration of the harrowing cycle of bipolar disorder
For Ellice Stevens, bipolar disorder is a constant, cyclical struggle that leaves her abruptly shifting between her ‘real’, rational self, her mania and her extreme depressive states. In her lowest periods, she’s unable to carry out even the most routine tasks, such as throwing away rubbish or picking up clothes off her floor. The London-based filmmaker Dorothy Allen-Pickard’s short The Mess uses interviews, disorienting figurative imagery and special effects to bring Stevens’s subjective experience of the complex and often debilitating disorder to life.