A while ago I discovered a great resource for those interested in alternative ways of thinking about mental health. The Icarus Project is a group of artists, writers and activists who have all been diagnosed as mentally ill (for lack of a better term). Their goal is to move away from the idea of mental and emotional turmoil being an “illness” and to instead see it in a more existential and humane lens. They pose the question, “How sane is it to be well adjusted in a world that is clearly out of balance?” I find myself tending to agree with their perspective and have a lot of respect for the work and culture they are trying to promote.
There are even Icarus Chapters throughout the world that meet periodically for social and group events. I first learned about this group when film maker Ken Rosenthal visited and guest lectured in a class I took during graduate school. During his visit we even got to watch parts of his film “Crooked Beauty,” which I also highly recommend to the artsy types looking to learn more about the authentically dark experience of having a mental illness.
Since then I have had the great pleasure of attending and participating in the East Bay Icarus Chapter on multiple occasions. I would highly recommend visiting the chapter for those of you interested in joining an alternative therapy group. Meetings are free and held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month at 7:30 pm at the Rock, Paper Scissors Art Collective, which is located at 2278 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. You can also visit their facebook page to learn a bit more about the meetings and post questions. Full disclosure: this is not an official “therapy group.” There are no guides or mediators. It is a non-authoritative group of people who gather about every other week to provide a safe and open space for others to hear and be heard. Feel free to contact me for some more information.