Trichotillomania Lockdown Calendar by Luisa Freitas

Inspired by the challenging circumstances of the first UK 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown, I created a project titled “Trichotillomania Lockdown Calendar” consisting of a calendar with personal diary-like entries exploring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent Lockdown on my mental wellbeing, focusing on its effects on my Trichotillomania condition. This condition, also known as “hair pulling disorder”, is a mental disorder characterise by the compulsive urge to pull one’s hair, falling into the category of Body Focused Repetitive Behaviour (BFRB) disorders.The BFRB’s are common disorders that affect a significant percentage of the population, varying in different degrees of intensity and damage, but due to the shame and stigma that is followed by these practices, people suffering from these conditions are often silent, isolated and avoid reaching out to a support system. These conditions are often triggered by highly stressful and tense situations, aggravated by long periods of uncertainty in one’s life, which is precisely the case with the first Covid-19 National UK Lockdown. During this time people suffering from BFRB manifested an increase in their respective disorder effects, resulting in people damaging their bodies and psyche significantly.With this calendar project I aim towards raising awareness on these “invisible conditions” that go by unnoticed by the public, by informing the audience on the realities of living with a BFRB disorder and also reach out to people suffering from these conditions to let them know they are not alone, while also introduce them to online support systems. The calendar is presenting the condition of Trichotillomania in particular, since it is the one I suffer with and therefore the one I am most familiarised. To better illustrate the daily life of someone suffering with Trich (for short), each day of the calendar is dedicated to the circumstances that were the most prominent and which influence my hair pulling on that day. Additionally, next to each day is a synthetic hair sample representing the quantity of hair pulled on that particular day.
Disclaimer: This project is depicting my personal experience with this condition and it is in no way a representation of all Trichotillomania cases.

Artist statement
I am a Visual Artist who works mostly in Illustration and 2D/3D Animation. Although my background is Traditional Art, with emphasis in drawing and painting, lately I have been focusing more on the digital side of my practice and specially in merging both traditional and digital mediums. I believe that there is no separation between art mediums, and that they reach their highest potential when working with each other, complementing one another. I am passionate about exploring as many aesthetic possibilities as possible and creating works that culminate into eclectic pieces that celebrate colour and shape.Another key feature of my works is prioritizing the theme and overall concepts from which the visuals are then generated. Art is the primordial form of communication and storytelling, and so the question I pose myself, before doing any artwork is: “What do I want to talk about?”. From this basis I can best use my skills propose a topic to the audience and make use of the varied art mediums that will best support the message while simultaneously reaching out to the public.Lately, my approach has leaned towards the intimate, the psyche and the uncomfortable truths we live but won’t publicly display, the daily struggles we go through but are afraid to examine or talk about. Very often, these issues we face are common but escalate greatly due to the lack of transparent communication and fear of shame and judgement. Hopefully my works will inspire people to come forward with their difficulties and normalise the discussion on mental health.

Posted in C19

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