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Behind Grey Walls | One Model One Story

To see the original prints from our #Moodlab bipolar disorder series, meet photographer Pere and mingle with Beijing’s mental health community, come to Camera Stylo on Saturday from 6:30 pm for our #Moodlab Launch Party. Scan the code in the poster to buy a ticket – or just turn up!

Below you’ll find the latest story and picture from the campaign aiming to raise awareness of bipolar disorder.

Name: Katharina Qi

Country of Origin: China

Occupation: Policy Advisor

Time in Beijing: 2010-2016

Our Assumptions from the Outside

I thought my ex-boyfriend just could not pull himself together. I remember the first time I went to his place, and it was like I entered a disaster site. He had tried to clean it up but everywhere was dusty and dirty. It was the messiest place I had ever been to. There were leaves in the living room, soil from his shoes on the bed, snacks on the bedsheets.

He did not take care of himself and had no concept of time. We would agree to meet at a specific time but after an hour he still had not shown up. I would go to his apartment and he would still be sleeping because he had been out drinking. On the face of it, it just seems like another irresponsible young guy.

Now that I had learnt about what depression was, I understand that many of his behaviours were only expressions of his depression.

I did not have enough awareness when I was with him, and I did not know what mental health issues could do to people, and it could send emotions out of a spiral and drastically affect behaviours.

We broke up because he had drinking problems, and he would become verbally aggressive. Now I know that the drinking problem could have been another dimension of his depression.

His mother had bipolar as well, and afterwards he shared with me that she had tried to commit suicide while we were still together.

I thought depression was an excuse, just for him to defend himself and an unreasonable reason for his irrational behavior.

Now that I have learnt about how depression could be so debilitating, I realize I was not very good at giving support or helping him. I wish I could have listened to him more. I wish I was more aware and supportive. Although I would not be able to cure him, but at least I could have shown more understanding.

In the photoshoot, I was trying to imagine how he felt, and how scary it must have been for him as a little boy, when his mum was not stable and had told him that she had bipolar because of the birth of the children.

It is more common than we think. Someone always know someone with bipolar. Someone around me could be bipolar. We just do not talk about it.

Story by Enoch and Katerina

The fundraiser continues for the photo-album, which will be the most important result of the Moodlab Project. This book will feature all the photos and stories of the models, in addition to key facts about bipolar disorder. We appreciate any amount of money given. Read more about it and donate here:

Our partner from Bearapy (Founder: Enoch Li) is the magic behind the “One Model One Story” series. She conducted interviews with the models and created a narrative from their words and experiences. You can follow Bearapy by scanning the QR code below.

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