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Project Blue is a Wave

One evening, someone that once meant a lot to me, asked: 'What do you think of when you think of the colour blue?'

Two days before that event, I wrote on an envelope addressed to this same person: open when you think of the colour blue. It was a fun little synchronicity. During this time I was obsessed with the concept of synchronicity: the simultaneous occurrence of causally unrelated events and the belief that the simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence.

Back then, we decided to approach the concept with science after we started to experience a lot of synchronicities. We started documenting them: every synchronicity received a timestamp and date, description, and number from 1 to 10, measuring the chance and likeliness of the synchronicity being a coincidence. We weren't vocal about what we were doing, because we knew it would look insane. Still, it was fun side-project to do.

Me being agnostic, and my partner in this being a nihilist, caused a good balance in researching and discussing the concept of synchronicity. Our thought was: there's either something behind it, or nothing. Not researching it while being presented with many synchronicities was no option, due to our own curiosity. 

Finding patterns and meaning in data is a human thing (Interesting link: The Library of Babel). Not everything has meaning though, and we were very aware of this. Still, we spent many nights coming up with hypothesises regarding synchronicity, to the point where I even started to feel very strongly about it having something to do with the electromagnetic spectrum, and writing endless ideas about how it could be connected. We didn't just 'work' on this research together, but also decided to collaborate on other projects.

Then, all the synchronicities disappeared, after a series of events between October and December happened. The result of these events was that life, the universe and everything, suddenly became less meaningful for me. I started to turn into a nihilist myself.

When someone you trust and work together with does unforgivable things to you, it's hard not to lose all hope when it comes to humanity. Strangers doing bad things to you, is something I can logically comprehend, for strangers have no reason to protect you, and care for you. When someone who supposedly loves you does these bad things, that's a tough one. How do you continue to trust humans after you've been betrayed and both physically and mentally hurt by someone you trusted? It's a long road, I'm sure you will agree, since most people have experienced trust issues of some kind.

June 2016. Flying back from Bulgaria to the Netherlands after meeting the person I would be working with the months after.

June 2016. Flying back from Bulgaria to the Netherlands after meeting the person I would be working with the months after.

Months of hypothesises later, and synchronicity disappearing from my life and with that also my interest in it, one evening I was talking about memory and the brain with my mother. I threw random words her way, and she had to describe what she visually saw when I named a subject. Her response to knife for example, was 'sharp, cutting.' With many things, she described the function or visual look of a word.

When my mother threw words my way, we noticed that I described words by linking them to memories. For example: roses. A girl in high-school receiving a full bouquet from her boyfriend on Valentine's day, and she seemed quite embarrassed because of the size of the bouquet (most people received just one rose). I remember her red cheeks, and her trying to hide the flowers while walking through school. And, that she once sang in a singing competition in school, and did quite well.

Lemon. The smell of a scented candle to distract insects. Wasps on the table, attracted to the marmelade. It was a warm day.

Dress. Standing on a rooftop on the fifteenth floor, looking over the city of Sofia, not knowing what to believe in anymore. Standing on the edge, knowing death was just a jump away.

What do you think of when you think of the colour blue?

'Blue is a wave', I replied.

For some reason, this line stuck with me. I like words and sentences, and I especially like this one, because you can interpret it in many different ways, especially symbolically, with or without context.

In January, I made a playlist on Spotify called Blue is a Wave. It's been my playlist on repeat these last few months.

Depression can feel like a wave suffocating you. Linking blue to a wave, is also a personal interpretation and feeling. It's what the colour blue looks like in my mind; even though the wave I see is not coloured blue at all. It's a dark shade of green/black. 

Association can sometimes change. For a few months after the conversation about the colour blue, I started linking it to my conversation partner also. 

Now, blue is a wave again. For me, this sentence represents how people experience life, the truth, and consciousness. Memory even. The way our brain tries to make sense of the world, and how it organises and processes things.

Blue is a Wave is the working title of my newest project. It's about capturing mental health, and stories from people battling mental diseases. And, especially, the accountability we can put on society, for the way we treat each other, and how sometimes people don't just end up inside the system due to their own mind, but (also) due to the bad experiences they've had with other people, and the harm inflicted by them.

I've started this project by writing about it on my blog called Inside the System. Behind this blog, I've also been documenting things by filming events. When I met the person I was researching synchronicities with, we planned for me to make a documentary about him and his anonymous youtube career also (and, start a podcast).

June 2016. Talking about YouTube, the documentary, and art.

June 2016. Talking about YouTube, the documentary, and art.

Six months later, I found myself voluntarily committed at a psychiatric ward for depression. Even though I was committed, I realised that I never lost the filmmaker inside of me, and never stopped documenting. I now have a folder full of videos, showing the development of a relationship that ended in a horrible way, to me having conversations with fellow patients inside a hospital, and capturing their thoughts and emotions, in an anonymous way. I'm still filming. Patients who've become my friends, have given me permission to follow them in their journey.

December 2016. A still from a not very flattering video diary while hospitalised, after waking up from the seemingly endless nightmares I had in this period. I kept documenting things to make sense of the days, and to remember where I never wanted to be again.

December 2016. A still from a not very flattering video diary while hospitalised, after waking up from the seemingly endless nightmares I had in this period. I kept documenting things to make sense of the days, and to remember where I never wanted to be again.

Blue is a wave is becoming a story about mental health, literally shot from my own point of view. It's not just my story anymore. I has become something bigger than that; I'm just the line connecting all the dots. Without the dots though, there wouldn't be a story.

January 2017. Playing ping-pong with a fellow patient to pass the time.

January 2017. Playing ping-pong with a fellow patient to pass the time.

When everything that happened these last few months happened, I thought: if my friends and I had and still have to go through all of this, at least let me try to turn it into something good. Let me find meaning in my experiences. I don't want to be a nihilist anymore, and believe nothing means anything. Believing in nihilism for months was not a great experience, to put it lightly. So instead, I'm turning to humanism. A system of thought that focuses on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.

I know I'm not a wave. I barely feel like a drop inside an ocean at all. However, we live in a time where mental health is finally taken serious more by our governments and societies, and before a great wave of change, ripples appear. So I've decided to play my part as a human and become part of the ripples before the wave, through kicking off this documentary, and joining and stimulating the conversation about mental health, through activism. Not just as a filmmaker, but also as a mental health patient, a person with Asperger's syndrome, a mother of an autistic son, and as a friend of many psychiatric patients. If you want to support Blue is a Wave by sharing your (mental health) story, or in any other way, feel free to contact me or leave a comment.

November 2016. My son accompanying my father and I to England, where I went to pay my last respects at the funeral of my friend Christian, who suffered from mental illness, and passed away in October after ending his own life.

November 2016. My son accompanying my father and I to England, where I went to pay my last respects at the funeral of my friend Christian, who suffered from mental illness, and passed away in October after ending his own life.

I'll end this blog with some food for thought, and a nice quote about humanism:

 "I am a human: I regard nothing human as foreign to me." 
                                                       - Publius Terentius After

Updates, footage and images regarding Blue is a Wave will be posted on my Subscribers Only blog. Subscribing is free, and only takes a minute.