About the authors
Rory (they/them) is a non-binary artist, peer support worker, and researcher with lived/living experience of psychosis. They are also a facilitator and administrator for the BC Hearing Voices Network, and their writing on the Hearing Voices Movement recently appeared in Health and Human Rights Journal.
Beauty of Life in Psychosis
Rory and Anne, have had the pleasure of developing the Beauty of Life in Psychosis (BLIP) group, nurturing it through its infancy, and facilitating the first ever cohort over the last 3 months. It has been an amazing experience getting to know our peers in the group, whom have all brought with them a plethora of skills, experiences, stories, talents and creative ideas.
Breakthrough symptoms or relapse of psychosis are sometimes referred to as “blips.” But what is a blip, anyway? Colloquially, a blip is a minor, short-term change, like a small dip or spike on a graph. “BLIPS,” on the other hand, is a medical term that stands for “Brief Limited Intermittent Psychotic Symptoms.” Foundry’s provincial virtual services offers a youth group called BLIP using our own definition: Beauty of Life in Psychosis.
Sometimes, psychosis is talked about in stigmatizing ways that make people feel like they are broken, abnormal, or “crazy.” Foundry Virtual BC hopes to reclaim the word “blip” to mean something that- while can be frightening or upsetting– can also be a common, experience. Psychosis is complicated, and we believe it’s important to be able to speak openly about what it means for each of us individually – the good, the bad, and the beautiful! Through art and creativity, we hope to build a sense of connection and community, explore the personal meaning of our experiences, and celebrate ourselves as whole people with a unique, beautiful perspective to contribute to the world.
The BLIP youth group was born out of the idea that people who experience psychosis, hear voices, see visions, and/or have unique beliefs need a safe(r) space to socialize, get creative, and express ourselves. Our goal is to encourage participants to find beauty, hope, and community within or around these experiences. With support from Foundry Virtual BC and Vancouver Coastal Health’s Consumer Initiative Fund, that idea became a reality. Using these funds, we were able to collaborate with Paint Spot and provide free art supplies for everyone in the group.
We started each session with a short, guided exercise surrounding a specific theme. Over the course of 6 sessions, we explored self-expression, colour, movement, texture, light & dark, and lastly, space. During the final few sessions, we discussed our ideas for the final project as a group, and the theme we settled on was “transformation.” We spoke about journaling our experiences and growing through that process; imagining and pursuing futures for ourselves that we were told not to expect, the transformation of our self-perception throughout our journeys; and how media portrayals can “transform” our experiences and identities in stigmatizing ways. In that sense, we talked about both negative and positive transformations. Sub-themes of renewal, growth, uncertainty, healing, and the shattering (and rebuilding) of identity emerged.
We are thrilled to share the artwork created with the first cohort of the BLIP youth group. Click on images to expand!
To learn more about future offerings of BLIP, or to learn more about groups offered by Foundry’s provincial virtual services, please visit foundrybc.ca/virtual/youth-groups.
To learn more about psychosis read the Questioning Reality section of our website or take the Questioning Reality Self-Check. If you would like to reach out to Foundry for support, reach out to Foundry’s provincial virtual services or visit a Foundry centre near you.