Yessica’s Journey Animation Project
Anastacia graduated in 2008 with a first class honours degree in Animation. She gave up her job up as a Digital Media Technician in her forties to study animation and to further her career in teaching and animation. She has been working recently as a freelance illustrator and animator and has illustrated and designed a children's book called 'Harry the Hip Hop Hippo' written by Jane Finch. She is also involved in other illustrative book work.
In January 2008 she had a psychotic breakdown whilst studying for her degree. She was diagnosed in 2010 with Bipolar Disorder. Whilst feeling very unwell she came up with the idea of 'Yessica’s Journey'.
She was absolutely thrilled to receive funding from the Wellcome Trust to produce, direct and animate Yessica’s Journey. The project began in September 2010 and will be developed over the next 18 months. The animation is about a journey through mental illness, psychosis and recovery and is based on her own experience of Bipolar. She hopes this animation will enhance peoples understanding of mental illness and convey a positive view of recovery.
Anastacia's journey has been one of fear, darkness and confusion interlaced with moments of excitement and euphoria - a bizarre, yet amazing rollercoaster ride. But through that confusion she has found hope, compassion, an inner peace and an inner wisdom. As she states 'this illness has transformed 'my life, a strange gift which I have learned to accept'.
Anastacia believes she needed to accept her illness, and accept her fears in order to move on: 'Many people helped me to achieve this but in the end it was down to me, I had to make the decision to help myself. We are all different and we all have different needs, what will work for one person may be different for someone else, the key is to never give up hope, be positive and keep trying'.
The animation incorporates the New Economics Foundation, Five Ways to Wellbeing, which promotes mental wellbeing. The following organisations are supporting the project - Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, Norfolk and Waveney NHS Mental Health Trust, Rethink, Wellcome Trust and the Bipolar Disorder Research Network at Cardiff University. She would like to thank all of them for their help and support and for believing in Yessica’s Journey.
She is thrilled to be part of the important research into Bipolar Disorder at the MRC Centre at Cardiff University and would like to thank the BDRN team for their interest and support with the project. She hopes to work together in collaboration and plans to use the animation in training workshops and events in the future.
Please click on the hyperlinks for more information on the Yessica's Journey project or Anastacia's other work.