Men’s Health Month November 2022 – Peter’s experience

by | Nov 21, 2022 | News

Create Well participant, 2022

Peter was referred to our Create Well Artlift Mental health support course. We spoke with Peter about how he found his Artlift experience. He attended two Artlift courses, one in Stroud (painting, photography and drawing), then a second in Cirencester (altered books). Here Peter describes how it felt getting to the courses:

‘On the day of the course it could be a challenge to get out of the house, as I will avoid going out if I can, but if I’ve made a commitment to do something, I will go, even if it feels a bit more difficult. I knew the regularity and routine of attending an Artlift course would make a helpful anchor point in my week.’

He goes on to explain how Artlift helped him:

‘Artlift helped to reduce my feelings of isolation; I got to speak to other people, which in turn helped to build my confidence. It’s improved my mood, it felt good to be doing something. It undoubtedly helped with managing my anxiety & depression, and also improved my sleep patterns.’

‘Attending Artlift certainly encouraged me to do things I haven’t done for a long time, if ever. I was committed to the course, and started to look forward to it, even buying additional arts materials with the intention of continuing at home and during the week between each Artlift session (though tutors were already very supportive in providing loans of equipment, without which the impact of the course would have been significantly lessened). Carrying on with art during the week gave a focus for my attention which helped to regulate my anxiety. Artlift also gave me something positive to talk about in phone calls with my family, which made these conversations easier for me.’

Peter continued:

‘Having participated in Artlift, I now feel more confident to engage with other social activities for which, happily, there is now greater opportunity, following the lifting of covid restrictions. I recently attended a reunion meet-up with other participants from my Artlift course, and am hoping that we will have more of these in future. I feel that Artlift has improved my mental health and has made life easier for me.’

As we chatted Peter told us:

‘Artlift was transformative; I felt able to breathe again. I was glad to have been given a place on the course, and felt a commitment to it.’

Peter also explained how attending Artlift helped him to feel better alongside using CBT and mindfulness practice skills:

‘The approaches in an Artlift course are much less direct and are of lower intensity than those in counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (both of which have been helpful to me in the past). At Artlift I was enabled to engage with an activity that has no direct focus on my health condition, in a low pressure, supportive environment. This made Artlift a more enjoyable, and less challenging experience, although having the confidence to expose my creative skills (or lack thereof) to others, some of whom had rather greater ability, was a challenge in itself!’

‘Artlift gave me a focus through which I could reflect on, and apply, some of the tools I had received from CBT as well as “Mindfulness” practice. I am still dealing with anxiety on a daily basis, but things have improved. I try to set myself achievable challenges, to recognise that sometimes the greatest benefit is to be had by tackling them even when I feel least like doing so, and to forgive myself when I do not manage to do so.’

Finally Peter said:

‘If I was talking to someone thinking about attending Artlift, I would say: If you think that this is something that you might enjoy, then give it a go. If you decide to do so, then the more you engage with it, the greater the likely benefit you will experience. It has been very helpful to me.’

To book onto one of our FREE creative health courses contact referrals@artlift.org or visit: CREATE WELL

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