“I am creative.” the Journey of A.S.

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The journey of A.S. 58years old from Nuneaton suffering with chronic health conditions and Psychosis,

A.S. was referred to Art for Wellbeing by HealthExchange Social Prescribing. We were informed that A.S. has a smart phone but has never used online platforms before. We called A.S. who also confirmed that “I am not arty at all. I haven’t done anything since school and I wasn’t good at drawing even then but I’m willing to give anything a go. I haven’t spoken to anyone for days and I’m wondering what the point of me being here is.”

We helped A.S. enrol on ‘A Passion for Plants’ 6-week painting course and we gave her a Zoom trial run before the course started. She completed a questionnaire that highlighted she was feeling very low indeed. Arty-Folks personal coach called her for a 1:1 discussion to gain a better understanding of her mental health needs and the support she is currently receiving.

“My prescriptions had stopped suddenly and I became very ill. I had absolutely horrendous hallucinations and horrible intrusive voices and thoughts. I had lost interest in everything, didn’t get dressed, didn’t shower, didn’t bother with eating, I laid on the settee and left the back door open for the dogs. I used to feel numb, no emotion, dead on the inside. I felt I was better off dead and my voices agreed, and so I took an overdose, but just couldn’t abandon my dogs and my mum.

I had never used Zoom before but Arty-Folks staff helped me and now art has become a big part of my life. Gradually over the weeks the blackness started to lift and positive emotions came back. I enjoy my life now and I’ve made new friends and we do things together, positive and healthy things like walking and Tai-Chi. I hadn’t been in Nuneaton town centre for 2 years but now I meet my arty friends at a café and it has lifted my self-esteem. I am creative and I’m enjoying it, and that’s all that matters. When I’m stressed the voices come back but I have a few art projects on the go that distract. I’ve never done so much art in my life! ”

Course tutor: “A.S. always attended and did her best but she was very conscious that her artwork was not as experienced as other participants’. It took her a while to appreciate that everyone has a different starting point and that what mattered was the openness to learning. The peer group was fantastic and I still remember the day when it finally clicked and A.S. visibly enjoyed being creative, being herself. She has since created some really quirky and original pieces of work!”

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