A Trinity of Isolation, Taboo and Love

THE INTERVIEW HAS ENGLISH SUBTITLES. PLEASE FIND THE SUBTITLE BUTTON AND PRESS ON NORWEGIAN SUBTITLES. THE SUBTITLES ARE IN ENGLISH EVEN THOUGH IT SAYS NORWEGIAN.

“We all have mental health and everyone has experienced tough times in life. Whether it has been grief, loneliness, anxiety, divorce, or mental illness. So openness about mental health is essential and we want to help remove prejudice in mental health,” express three photographers, who have a traveling exhibition with a focus on mental health. Each with a strong story and their respective expressions, they convey Isolation – Taboo – Love.

Nils K. Johansen as an observer. Nils’s story is about his mother’s old age in isolation and loneliness after his father’s death. He shows the big difference in the everyday lives of active, committed older people and those who cannot or will not participate for various reasons.

Martine B Mjelde wants to remove the taboo. Martine has lived with mental illness for 15 years, and she experienced how stigma and taboo result in isolation and fear of being labeled “sick.” With her openness, she wants to break the taboo around mental health.

And Geir Hareide Andersen as a relative. Geir grew up with a mother who struggled with mental illness. In her good times, she made beautiful art with cheerful colors and appreciated joy and love. Geir carries this further in his photographs. Geir’s mother committed suicide 35 years ago.

While visiting the exhibition (at Ullensaker Art Association), I had the pleasure of meeting two of the three photographers. And I interviewed one of them, Geir. When I asked Geir how he had dealt with childhood traumas, growing up with a mother who struggled with mental illness, he replied rapidly:

– I cannot remember so much trauma concerning my mother. Of course, she had her bad periods, and we had to deal with that. We had sibling quarrels, and we argued with our mother when there were things we disagreed on. I think we had it pretty standard that way. I remember much more painful episodes from the school. There I had three problems; my mother was divorced, and it was not common in the ’60s and ’70s. Besides, she was hospitalized periodically in a mental hospital, and society did not accept it. And I was good at school and got bullied because of that. So, for me, it was much harder to go to school than to deal with my mother’s problems at home.

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