Several years ago I keenly agreed to have art therapy with Lewisham hospital psychological services. It was held in the crypt of the historical St Mary The Virgin church which was located beside the hospital. Being keen on the macabre and intriguing, the location alone added to my willingness!
It was a great chance to simply get out of the house and indulge in letting my imagination rule. We all enjoyed several projects together as we had tea, coffee and of course, biscuits! We talked about our lives and experiences together with therapeutic discussions with the present councillor. It felt rather like a glorified coffee morning and I loved it.
We each did group projects as well as our own. I started with collages as I remembered them from art class in school and then later listening to music inspired me to draw the illustration pictured above.
As you can see I’ve drawn my mind split into two halves. My perceived dark side versus light set off by quotes from songs as usual. I’d never really thought about it until recent talking therapy at The Listening Place. That age old Borderline Personality Disorder trait of black and white thinking. Or is it Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder as I’ve just been told. I’d drawn it without realisation. Sat happily slurping coffees and drawing in a musty old crypt. And it felt good, helpful. Yet as I sat back and looked at what I’d produced I questioned that apparent black and white thinking. I realised I can see life’s grey areas with effort. I’m unfiltered yet filtered. Can I have good thinking patterns and perceptions with effort? I like to think so.
Music therapy years ago was mortifying so never again. My gardening group involved cleaning moss off old graves surrounding the same church where art therapy was held. We also created a community flower bed overlooking Ladywell train station behind the church and hospital. But art group was my favourite secondary to talking.
What types of therapy both solo and with groups have helped you? If you’ve never been given the opportunity,definitely check in with your healthcare professionals and see what’s on offer. Even non-NHS (or your area’s equivalent) services found online can be good fun. Especially walking groups now that spring is finally here. It’s a beautiful time of year and that alone can have a profoundly positive impact on your mental health.
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