Our Time to Talk Champions Discuss Their Experiences of Mental Health (Part 4)

This week, some of our Time to Talk Champions are discussing their experiences of mental health and why they wanted to get involved in the project to help to tackle stigma and discrimination. Here is the fourth blog post in our series!

“What Experiences of Mental Health Problems Have You Had in the Past?” 

I am an artist and I have also been diagnosed with an acute and transient psychotic disorder. ‘Acute’ means it can happen suddenly; ‘transient’ means it doesn’t last very long – up to 17 days.  ‘Psychotic’ means I always suffer from psychosis.

Since 2005, I have suffered from four psychotic relapses and a few minor episodes. I have been lucky enough to be looked after by my husband and family. During these episodes, I forget how to eat and lose all track of time but I’m highly creative. I get obsessive in mark making, my senses are heightened, colour and sound become brighter and intense. I draw and record every moment with photography and in a doodle diary.

For me, drawing and creating is a release process. When I’m extremely poorly, I talk using single letters. I draw pictures with food. I do carvings on the soap in the bath. When I got an intrusive thought, I scribble it down. I sit and draw in the back garden. Or I’ll sit in the car while my husband goes to the supermarket and draw the traffic and the people walking past.

Teardrops (opens as a PDF document)

An example of my work when I’m poorly is included in the link above . The teardrops (in the tulip drawing) are a common feature. I started to draw teardrops when I was admitted Hospital someone had left a bottle of Vosene shampoo in my room, which featured a yellow teardrop on the bottle. I used that to start to get better – drawing the teardrop and re-drawing it.

I volunteer and facilitate art creative workshops for service users of the NHS Mental Health Services. I want to do more of this type of work. I get so much from helping others and I want to pass on what I have learnt through having this mental health condition to others. And I want to give something back as a thank you as I’ve been overwhelmed with the support the NHS services have given me.

“What Have Your Experiences of the Project Been Like?

 Being part of the Time to Change Training has helped me with my confidence and I have learned a lot about my self in a  very short space of time. I talked to the group about my personal artwork that I do when I suffer from Psychosis.

I have found encouragement and loved being among people with similar problems as myself. I  have made new friends and I can just me myself with them. Our tutor was thoughtful, considerate and always delivered outstanding workshops. I was disappointed when our training was completed, but delighted when I got my Time to Change T-Shirt.

I  would like to use this opportunity to thank our tutor and everyone at Time to Change to make it possible for me to become a Time To Change Champion and looking forward to attend some events. In the meantime, I will continue to talk to people where ever possible to help reduce the stigma of Mental Health.