4 May 2021

Breaking the Silence: Kazuki Terizawa's Story

Glass Artist
Kazuki Takizawa
2 minutes read time

How do you give shape to something formless?

Growing up, our family didn’t speak about depression. We spoke about emotions and communicated with each other about how we felt, but depression wasn’t really a ‘thing’.

As a glass artist, giving shape to my mental health challenges began in my early twenties. Based on a friend’s recommendation, I went to therapy for the first time for depression, and though I had a good overall experience in therapy, each day was different. Some days felt like there was no progress and others were better, but overall I learned many lessons.

A few years down the road, I learned that I had Type II bipolar disorder, characterized by episodes of depressions and hypomania. When I found out, I remember feeling mixed emotions: anger, sadness, relief, and frustration.

At first I felt like it was a sign of weakness to go to therapy, but as I found out more, I was thankful for being led in this direction.

There have been many defining experiences along my journey; in 2015, I had a crucial change in my approach to my thinking and career after a trip in Japan involved caring for a family member with suicidal ideation, which deeply affected our whole family.

As a glass artist, I started making art in school as a form of self-empowerment and therapeutic release, and I continue to do so as a way to cope with bipolar disorder and to de-stigmatize mental illness. Though there are challenges, the ups and downs are an important inspiration for the art I make today.

In 2015 and 2017, my “Breaking the Silence” exhibitions aimed to do just that – break the silence and stigmas around bipolar disorder, suicide and mental health challenges.

When you are bipolar, suffering from depression or any other mental health challenges, it’s easy to think you are alone. As a glass artist and working person, I remember learning about my bipolar diagnosis and thinking “ What will everyone else think? Am I going to lose my job?”

For me, the challenge with bipolar disorder is a constant battle; every time I open an exhibit with new artwork, with a new crowd of people, or with running KT Glassworks studio, there are different stages to managing my mental health.

So, how do you give shape to the formless? Naming emotions and struggles is the first step; the rest of the process is a constant journey of molding, breaking, building and learning.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, or needs emotional support we urge you to head to for crisis support options. To speak with someone immediately, contact your local 24-hour support service.