Portraits: Patients and Psychiatrists

Wellcome Trust Arts Award 2009

Drawing Patient C

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Patient C lives in the community, she has not seen her psychiatrist for a number of years. She is incredibly aware of her own mind and described to me how she has learnt to cope with her psychiatric condition. As an adolescent and young adult she suffered from anxiety and depression, she was extremely talented at the piano, but lacked confidence and ambition. She described panic attacks as colours becoming blindingly bright and shapes merging into one another, feeling that there was no space left in her brain and losing consciousness. During her experience as a psychiatric patient she refused medication as she knew that she needed to deal with the underlying causes  of her illness through therapy. After some years of sporadic periods spent as an in-patient at the Maudsley Hospital she visited a friends mother there and remembers saying to herself “you don’t belong here” which felt like a real turning point for her. She remembers keeping herself to herself in hospital and bonding with some patients while finding others intimidating. After many years she met a psychiatrist with whom she “clicked”. This is where her recovery began.  when asked how she felt, she remembers saying “I feel like all of my body parts are dis-jointed” to which her psychiatrist replied ” lets put them back together again”. After a number of years of working with this Dr she now lives and works in the community and values her freedom and health more than anything.

Below are some images showing the process of drawing the symbolic objects associated with her personal and medical history.


Here is a drawing I made directly after talking with her,


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Written by gemmaanderson

12/11/2009 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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