“I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The kind of difficulties I experience include tremors, double incontinence, memory loss, not being able to articulate the right words, getting words mixed up and imbalance. But when I’m less stressed I don’t have so much trouble with these.

I need to be less stressed and then I’m better – then I don’t have trouble with my words. I need to be less stressed – and coming here provides me with a bit of space. This is a godsend. I’ve got qualities I didn’t know about till I experienced things here. I’ve done different things I’d never tried before – it makes me want to come here.

I’m in the middle of doing papier mache at the moment – it makes my toes tingle – it’s addictive – helps me physically and mentally. My hands sometimes go into rigour but then I just stop for a while. If you’re well mentally, you’re well physically. If I’m pretty low there’s always somebody here you can talk to without it going out of the place – or without them thinking you’re in a strange mood. You can come in here and lose your temper and still be accepted. It’s about trust and sharing with like-minded people.”
Woman in her fifties, participant/volunteer in a community arts project.

Courtesy of the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University, and published in: Arts, Health and Community – A study of five arts in community health projects by Angela Everitt and Ruth Hamilton, part of the Arts in Health National Evaluation Programme funded by the King’s Fund, the Northern Rock Foundation and the Nuffield Trust.

Please note: the individual quoted was a participant in a community arts project which had specific health or community development aims. See Valley and Vale Community Arts’ website for a useful definition of community arts.

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Originally posted: September 28th, 2010

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Categories: Other conditions, Other conditions - stories

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