Affinity Magazine – Winter 2014 – Mental Health

This is my biggest self portrait I have ever created of myself. I used 4 pieces of 8 x 10 white paper and filled in the edges with scrap paper. I used soft pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, acrylic paint, and puffy paint. My Mama loves it so much she has it on the mantel above our fireplace. 

Read article here:

“Waupaca teen Braxton Verner has bipolar disorder, but he also has a raw talent. Art gives him a reason to focus, an outlet for his frustration, and something to be proud of. Research indicates that bipolar affects the brain differently in the way it sends communications and processes information. In most cases, that translates into creativity. History has been shaped by creativity of individuals with bipolar disorder, such as Vincent Van Gough, Virginia Woolf, and Martin Luther King JR.” By Alison Fiebig Mayer (inside cover)

I was seeing a psychiatrist at Catalpa Health in Appleton, Wisconsin. “When I first saw him, he was shy, hesitant, and his speech was pretty difficult to understand, ” Dr. Rovick shares. “My suspicion was more along the lines of an autistic disorder” (Page 13)

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2009. However in the Spring of 2014, I received an official diagnosis of Autism from a Psychiatrist at Shorehaven Behavioral Health Clinic in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. Mama had a feeling since I was knee high that I was different. She suspected Autism because of the way I played with my toys. I would line them up in a row or line them up around my carpet road map. If anyone moved them I would completely loose it and that was very scary to witness. When I got really excited I would start flapping my hands. Mama said she was just waiting for me to up and fly away. I learned how to make eye contact but very fleetingly especially with new people. I try to take a quite look because I have been taught to make eye contact or people may thing I am being rude but then avert my eyes quickly.  When I talk I mostly look upwards and mama says it looks like I am scanning my brain. Things started making more sense to Mama after she received my official Autism diagnosis and she was better able to parent me as well as help me be the person I am today. I love her very much and am so glad she never gave up on me. Thanks for that Mama, Love your only son Braxton