Liverpool CAMHS: Expressions of Emotions

When: Saturday 31st October – Monday 2nd November, 12-4pm

Where: Tate Liverpool, Studio

Exhibitions at the Tate tend to go over my head, like that blue canvas by an artist who was dead proud he’d invented a new shade of blue.

However, CAMHS is an organization close to my heart. The Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services helped me until the age of 18. I had an undiagnosed disorder and relied on self harm to get through the day, and clearly remember sitting under the stairwell crying during a free period. I would harm my stomach where nobody could see, and remember the agony of having to jump about in PE and trying not to raise my arms too high so my midriff wasn’t exposed.

Robin, late 20s, would spend half the session indulging me by talking about whatever I felt like. Music was common ground, and he was appalled that 17 year old me hadn’t been that interested in Radiohead at Leeds festival. Eventually he could get me to talking about all them feelz. I told him about my deceased grandma and cried, and he spoke about his grandma and cried. CAMHS were technically meant to cast you out into the world after turning 18, but he kept seeing me until I went off to university. I cried my heart out as if I’d lost my best friend. Each Christmas I would write to prove I was still alive and thanking him.

CAMHS isn’t something I let myself think about often, but I visited http://www.liverpoolfyi.com in preparation for this article and this gorgeous ‘Inspire Card’ legit filled my eyes with tears:

camhs

Coinciding with mental illness slowly becoming acknowledged as “an actual thing”, mental health services are also being stretched to breaking point. I want to express how grateful I am; I honestly think Robin saved my life, and it would be wonderful if you would support the people CAMHS are helping now.

Expressions of Emotions contains artwork produced by young people from the Liverpool branch, through a partnership which provided a six week summer programme at the Tate. Art is an incredible way of expressing emotion, and I still use the analogy I drew for Robin to express my state of mind to show people what it’s like to have borderline personality disorder. Please come along and show your support – you never know when your loved one may rely on CAMHS.

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