The photograph above is of a painting that Didi finished in about 1987. It was undertaken using inks and bog-standard highlighter pens! In fact, different coloured glitters were also used but this is not apparent in the photograph other than the strange reflective bits you can see on the multi-coloured "blobs"! The painting itself is very large - too big to scan, hence the poor quality of the photograph.

The face is supposed to be a representation of Didi's, crying blood as a result of the incoming vibes (the arrows shown coming into the top of what is supposed to be her head), and trying to output those vibes in a way that doesn't do her lasting damage (the arrows going out from the left that say "ego" and those going out from the right that say "alter ego"). The various coloured and glittered blobs are meant to be the different forms of vibes - and are really simply meant to illustrate just how many different vibes, colours and how much sensory input Didi receives at a given time - and which she finds hard to process - the net disbalance between the incoming and outgoing vibes coming out as the blood that the face (of Didi) is crying as tears which have formed the puddle you can see at the bottom edge of the painting.

The painting was done nearly twenty years before Didi finally got diagnosed with bipolar disorder and the type of autism known as "Asperger's Syndrome". This is interesting because so much of what lead to those diagnoses is clearly evident in this painting.

Asperger's Syndrome lends one not to be able to deal with multiple inputs at the same time without becoming highly stressed - what in autistic circles is called "sensory overload". Certain recipes of noise, colour, body language, textures, contrasts - anything sensory in fact - can either become too much in a given moment (if one or more are above a certain threshold "volume" or there are just too many at once to process) which can lead to a panic attack or tantrum (especially in a young autistic). Or all the sensory stuff simply accumulates over a day to leave the autistic exhausted and needing much more sleep to recover than a "normal" person would. When you add a down phase of bipolar disorder to this, you can imagine that it is even worse!

Most people would separate "vibes" (feelings they get from other people that the other people may not be expressing, i.e. their moods, etc) from "sensory input" of the type discussed in the previous paragraph. Didi did not. A major diagnostic criteria of autistic spectrum conditions is what is termed "theory of mind", as in, autistic people don't have it - the ability to (i.e. from body language, facial expressions, etc) sense someone else's feelings or predict them. In fact, there is a condition called "Synaesthesia" which is when one's senses are intermingled: sounds have colour, pain can be noise, etc. One of the things that can happen with this is in fact a heightened sense of awareness - the person senses more around them than the average person. Unfortunately Didi suffered from that too - she would pick up feelings - vibes - from people around her more easily than normal people. The trouble is that her autism would not allow her to correctly predict what is causing those vibes so Didi would tend to think it was to do with her. Imagine if you found it impossible not to sense the moods of those around you and how frightening that would be if you knew someone was hiding something (i.e. pretending to be in a different mood) than they really are? It is very noisy indeed, when added to all the other sensory stuff, which is why Didi mixed with people in short doses because she found it exhausting! Anyway, this is why for her, vibes and sensory input are all intermingled - the fact that the drawing calls them "vibes" means all of it!

So the painting strongly illustrates what it is like to live in an incredibly vibe and sensory noisy world where one can't control the amount of input you receive and always end up shedding blood as a result (or at least, that is what it metaphorically felt like to Didi). She was only about 15 when she did the original version of this painting which was given away to someone - this photograph is of a rehash of that original painting based on a photo taken of the original.

Perhaps Didi's life would have been easier if she had received a diagnosis in her childhood? Perhaps this painting would have never then existed...

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