Gonepteryx rhamni


Is this how the world feels to others? I've been slightly naughty, and not taken my medication in a few days. Never fear! By the time you read this I will, of course, be dutifully taking my tablets morning and evening. In this new mind-space that is enriched with a clarity I've been exploring my memories.

The Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) has a most exquisite wing shape, perfectly matching a leaf when roosting overnight or hibernating within foliage. This is one of the few species that hibernates as an adult and, as such, spends the majority of its life as an adult butterfly.

I've been reading Infinity Net - The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusamaand when confronted with such successful artists (see: Munch, Van Gogh, Pollock, et al) who have channelled and embraced their neurosis' I wonder how, and if indeed I do this, and if it is necessary. There are a variety of artists who have worked in the realm of 'tell-all' and 'confessional' art (see Emin, Bourgeois) and I am aware of the similarities of my practice and theirs.

I saw Dr Ahmed over a week ago, and he has allowed me, under his watchful eye, to begin the retraction of Quetiapine, which has been used since 1985 to quieten, and lessen manic-symptoms in those with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. There is a long and well documented history of the 'shuffle'. The 'thick-as-shit' feeling is persistent. My ultimate goal is to be discharged from CMHT to my GP with 'depression', and not with the debilitating and stigma-inducing BPD. A lofty goal I'm sure.

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Gonepteryx rhamni lives in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Across much of its range, it is the only species of its genus, and is therefore simply known locally as the brimstone. The name "butterfly" is believed to have originated from the brimstone.

I have been building a structure, slowly, due to the nature of it's material. Each week I have to collect my medication from Boots, and each week I get four medication boxes. It is not uncommon to see these boxes littered around the flat, in the bedroom, the kitchen, kicking about on the floor (the cats do love to play with them).

I stood on a piece of paper and drew a circle around myself, and began building, the tower that ate me, using the medication boxes like bricks and enclosing myself. Reaching my knees. When I begun this idea, this fledgling work, I had forgotten the ultimate goal, to be medication free. How is it possible to forget something that means so much to me?

I want my mind back, and moments like this, when I am clear of sedatives and the fuzzy feeling has lifted I remember, and my fight comes back.

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Gonepteryx rhamni is one of the longest lived butterflies, living up to thirteen months, although most of this time is spent in hibernation. As it is often the first butterfly to be seen in the spring, sometimes as early as January when hibernating adults are awoken on a sunny day, there is a popular myth that it is this butterfly which gave us the word butterfly, a corruption of butter-coloured fly.