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Approach to Journaling – Creative life writing using artistic approaches, interpretive poetics, as a cycle of reflection (through Gardner cycle) exploring how bipolar depressive disorder influences and affirms the authentic values of a teacher within a HEI.
I have always been a meek, shy and awkward person and as a child I was painfully shy and even in school I would sit in a class and not put my hand up even though I knew the answer. I remember a story my mum told me when I six my mum was called into the school to speak to the headmistress who asked my mum if I had hearing problems (the inference was I was partially deaf). My mum made it clear I was not deaf just very quiet and reserved. I know this caused my mum difficulty and this even caused us problems in her later life as she wanted to chat and I was not always engaging. I find it difficult to engage in small talk and as someone who is introverted I find social interactions draining. This is complicated by being bipolar.
Don’t walk away
(Source: Atmosphere by Joy Division, 1981)
As a quiet and unassuming child I found solace in reading and music, I was never musical however music resonates with me it allowed me to make sense and as I matured into adulthood I could start to see why particular pieces of literature, poetry, music and films gave me meaning. This was where I explored my own politics and I suppose I struggled and wrestle with this as with a lack of understanding I considered myself to be a Marxist, a Socialist, an anti-capitalist. However my values were more attuned to Liberalism and as I explored this I saw I was positioned as a Liberal Humanist.
Maurice Cranston says, “A liberal is a man who believes in liberty” (1967: 459). In two ways, liberals accord liberty primacy as a political value (Source: Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy).
By considering my values as a Liberal Humanist and trying to makes sense of my bipolar I could see how my values of kindness, generosity and respect for others was not always seen by others.
You flicker like a mile high neon sign
Hot and cold so no one knows your mind
I was going to let you win
But I won’t break
For an hour I held the moon on a string
Now there’s moments left til the world begins
Everything is possible it’s beautiful
(Source: Target by Embrace, 2006)
As I can be confusing to those who do not know me I can be seen as cold and distant and as someone who has never believed they belong anywhere is due to my introversion and my biography. I have few close friends, I find trusting people difficult and it takes time because true friendship to me is a form of love.
A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself (Jim Morrison)
(Source: extracted from http://bit.ly/2HtDnzG, accessed 15th March 2019)
So as I consider how this impacts upon how I am perceived and how I behave I can start to make sense of how my bipolar has impacted upon how I teach and the frustration I feel when those around me do not consider as an introvert I require time and space to consider my ideas and when people do not listen to me or respect my ability I find it difficult to deal with this. So as I become more in tune with my bipolar and how it manifest I find ways and coping mechanisms to allow me to function. I do this as I have deep values based around being authentic and true to who I am.
today i want the darkness
fatigued with life’s
fictitious smilesthe forest
to melt within itdisappearing
in the windi could dance on lightning
fall off a cloud
and become raini’d mold down your face
as i fall on it
and be one with you
(Source: Becoming Rain by Jane Taylor, 2016)
So as someone who has been a teacher in a HEI for over twenty years I still struggle to understand how I belong and I have never felt comfortable with being a teacher. I have won awards for my research into teaching, I became a VC Teaching Fellow in 2018 and to this day I drift into thinking how was I chosen for this. I find it difficult to express myself and articulate my meaning as for me it is obvious if you read and create a space to consider. Reading, education and learning are transformative and this therefore means it requires effort. As I enter into the final stages of my professional life I start to consider whether I have made any difference in my life and this may be my mask of self-hate speaking, it may be because I am dealing with a series of traumas or it could be due to my lack of self-belief that I have a place in this world.
Within this short creative writing journaling approach I have enter into emotional recall (looking at how my bipolar makes me feel) and systematic sociological introspection (how my bipolar manif…
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(USA, AUS, UK & CA PhD. Writers)