Stereotype Storybook: Research & Directional Sketches

 

Why Am I Exploring This Topic?

I find it interesting to explore the story of people with mental health disorders because in society, they are widely misunderstood. I’ve always been curious of society’s standards and what is deemed “normal” that people with disabilities and disorders are placed at an external group in society. My desire to empathize with this group stems from the fact that I come from a family who battles disabilities and disorders.

More so, I also categorize myself in the group, battling a mild case of OCD (not diagnosed) but the symptoms are present. In the pursuit of understanding the topic more and hearing other people’s story, my personal aim is for their voices be heard in the hopes that people would also empathize and understand the situation of these individuals who are struggling mentally. 

 

Methodology & Research Findings

Kerry Ang

ADHD, ANXIETY, IMPULSE CONTROL DISORDER

Kerry first started noticing the symptoms when she was in High School. She had a Learning Disability and had trouble trouble focusing in class. Her struggles included: having bouts of panic attacks, getting distracted, getting lost in conversations and having to catch up and put more effort in her projects. She was also less inclined to participate, afraid of negative perception from her peers. 

She was going through this for the past 17 years, with no clue what was going on with her until a friend told her to go see a doctor. She only got diagnosed recently with ADHD and other mental disorders. Despite her diagnosis, she talked positively about self-perception and seeing herself in a new light while slowly finding her path towards self-acceptance. It was an internal struggle of blaming herself for her how she was, but after she got diagnosed, she realized that she is more than her behaviors and that made her more forgiving of herself.  

 

Victoria Brock

ADHD, DYSLEXIA

Victoria was diagnosed with ADHD and Dyslexia at a young age of 7 years old. She talked positively about her mental disorder, saying that she sees it as a strength that allows her to think and see things differently. With her dyslexia, she shares that it gives her the ability to see things from a three-dimensional aspect which contributes to her skills as a sculptor and aids her in prototyping. 

Having been aware of her diagnosis for a very long time, she states that she has been able to manage and live with it and that despite certain moments of struggles, she has able to find a balance within herself. Although when she was young before her diagnosis, she was conflicted and was constantly struggling to understand why she felt and seemed different from other children. Her teachers brushed off her behavior claiming that it’s not real and wasn’t as accepting and open to it. 

She also felt like she grew up fast, having been put on medication (Adderall) since she was young changed her personality and her physical condition. Albeit, she stopped taking it when she went to college because she wanted to start healing herself and accepting herself without having the notion that she needs to be fixed. When she was taking medication, she felt as if people only liked her when she was on Adderall. But as she grew up, she realized that was not the case, having friends and family who supported and was understanding of her condition. 

 

Belle Catt

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER, DEPRESSION

Belle’s journey on her mental disorder started when she got into a fatal car accident when she was staying in Big Bear. She and her friend was driving on a zigzag road in the darkness of the night when she suddenly saw the headlights coming towards them. It was a head on collision and from then on, she had a visual impact that caused her thoughts of anxiety on death and car accidents, describing it as if “somebody is killing me.” “The trauma and shock was severe.” She added. 

After physically recovering, she showed signs of PTSD on the day she got discharged from the hospital, not wanting to leave knowing she will be travelling inside a car. She recalls asking for an ambulance to take her home and having a major breakdown because of the situation. Later on, she went to therapy and slowly recovered from her mental illness. It took her a year and a half to deal with her diagnosis. However, she stated: “You never really fully recover from a mental disorder. It never goes away. Certain trigger points allows everything to start coming back, but over time you learn how to manage and live with it.”

Interview Script

  • Can you talk about your mental health and diagnosis? 
  • How did you find out about it? Can you describe the feelings and thoughts that you felt at the time?
  • What is your personal perception of your diagnosis (ADHD, Depression, OCD)? 
  • What do you think or feel is the perception of others about your diagnosis?
  • What do you think the stereotype (other’s attitudes, beliefs or facts surrounding that perception) is against someone in your situation? Have you experienced any of theses stereotypes against you? Tell me a moment where it happened.
  • Can you tell a time wherein you felt the stereotype in action and how did you respond to that event or situation? How did you feel afterwards?
  • How does it affect you in a daily manner? How do other people's attitude towards your situation affect you? How do you usually cope or deal with it? 
  • Can you tell a time wherein you felt the stereotype in action and how did you respond to that event or situation? How did you feel afterwards?
  • Do you believe that living with such disorder or diagnosis is something that you can turn into a positive experience? Why or why not?

Concept Map

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Storyboard & Story Map

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Story & Pop-Up Book Strategy

I plan to tell a story about an individual that has the theme of Me vs Inner Monsters that affects the way the person thinks, acts, decides and work. Taking inspiration from the three different stories that I gathered, I will show a transformation in self-perception from before the protagonist realized her condition and after she realized her condition. The story will be a journey of self-acceptance, battling negative beliefs and self-perception, and living with a disorder that she will come to see as a strength rather than a weakness. 

The storybook will contain different approaches of a pop-up book such as: 1) Hidden Stories & Pull, to convey misunderstandings and frustrations and to symbolize the acts of suppression of the protagonist's disorder; 2) Parallelograms, to show diagrams or levels of mental disorders and their severity; and 3) Use of Magnets and Scale, to show transformation of self and perception.