My story

“My name is Zlatan. Actually, it’s my nickname. My real name is Jöran, but people say I look a lot like Zlatan Ibrahimović. You can’t blame him for that.”

“I suffer from a bipolar disorder, which makes me vulnerable to episodes of depression, mania and psychosis. I have been down and out completely, but I have also experienced spectacular heights. At the moment, I’m coping quite well with my disorder and most of the time I’m fairly content with my life. This is not the case, however, for every bipolar person. During one of my psychiatric hospitalizations one of the other patients committed suicide; I, too, was close to taking my own life. Bipolarity can be a fatal illness, and it has already claimed many victims. To these victims I would like to dedicate this project and I hope it will make a crucial difference to the lives of others.”

“What is my plan? Well, I would like to make a documentary film. About myself, and in a sense, for myself as well. Presenting myself as an example, I would like to shed some light on bipolarity from different perspectives, to break the bipolar disorder taboo and generate awareness among various target groups (patients, nurses, psychiatrists, family, friends, etc.). It’s going to be an inspiring story, with which people will be able to identify; a story in which I’m going to confront myself with my dark past, but which will also offer hope: how to deal with this illness?”

“A mania feels like trying to squeeze 10 GB onto a 256 MB USB stick. You can really feel it “crackling”.

“Nowadays I’m not afraid anymore to be frank about my illness. This hasn’t always been the case. The last time I denied that I was ill and didn’t take my medication I ended up in a police cell, which to me seemed like a room full of cameras. From that moment on I thought that everything was being filmed, and my life felt like a big reality show. I can understand that not everyone is able to wrap their heads around what this must have been like. In this documentary film I want to show what a person with this illness sees, feels, thinks and hears. I want to show how my delusional state of mind compares to reality.

Last year I requested copies of all my medical records concerning my various periods of hospitalization. When reading them, I saw myself and the locations of the past again. I would like to discuss what happened to me with the nurses, psychiatrists and the people close to me who helped me during those times of crisis. Almost everybody that has been involved with me and my illness over the past few years has expressed their willingness to participate in this project. It would be a shame not to grasp such a unique opportunity. However, it’s crucial to go about in a professional way: we only have one chance to do it right and make an impact.

When preparing for this project, I experienced how valuable it is to be open about my illness. And fortunately the people close to me agreed. Many people are now dedicating themselves to make it a successful film project without being paid. Really good conversations have ensued and I already feel I have made a small contribution to breaking the mental illness taboo. This fills me with even more energy to press on with my project.

In order to be able to move to the next step, your support would be most welcome, too. I hope you will help me to make my dream come true by making a donation. With your financial help we can make a fine documentary film. In this way, we can also help other people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder and the people close to them.”

Jöran Moerkens