Art allowed me to express myself in a way I had never done before. I’ve come so far since my desperate suicide attempt

Writing in The Guardian, Debbie Taylor:

“When I was growing up in the 1970s, mental health issues were not widely understood or discussed.

One morning when I was eight-years-old, I woke up in bed and felt funny, I was shaking. It had come out of the blue. I was terrified and didn’t know what was going on. I was diagnosed with a case of “bad nerves” and prescribed a few days off school. I now know this was my first panic attack, but I would not get a proper diagnosis of my mental health problems for more than 20 years.

“With depression there were no words or answers. Art allowed me to get rid of any confusion.”

When I was in my 30s I was diagnosed with bipolar, anxiety disorder and depressive disorder with paranoid tendencies. I went through some very traumatic life events and was at an all-time low and in a period of severe depression. At this point I was on 21 tablets a day, my children were my carers and I was often bed bound.

I made a desperate suicide attempt, overdosing on medication. Somehow I survived and was seen by a crisis team who referred me to psychological services. Eventually I got an appointment. While sat waiting for the assessment, I picked up a leaflet by chance titled Art for wellbeing. I had never done art before and do not know to this day why I picked it up. I rang the number on the leaflet and was told about a taster session: “Come along and have a go” the man said. I did and that’s the day my life began …”

Read more here.

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