Neami in South Australia runs a series of art groups that support consumers to create art in a variety of mediums. Cecelia participates the Murray Bridge Comet Arts program.
I am Cecelia and I live in Murray Bridge, which is a country town in South Australia, about an hour away from Adelaide.
We have people that travel an hour and a quarter to come to Murray Bridge to do art work. It’s really been a wonderful program here and it really only started because Neami believed that art is a great therapy.
There are some days that I can't leave the house but I am able to leave the house for art. I get panic attacks and stuff with depression, anxiety, which tends to make me quite protective about how I live. I think that's one thing about the Neami art group - is that it is very safe.
You actually learn a lot of life skills I think, when you're an artist, because there is lots of decision making that you have to, from deciding what medium you're going to use, to what is your picture going to be about, what tools to use, what colours to use, and then at the end you've got to start to think about a name. Then also the cost, what would you sell it for?
You have to be pretty brave too, because if you put your artwork in an exhibition what you have created is on display. It's actually a big thrill when you sell something and I have sold several pieces over the many years. It is really so exciting.
The Neami workers are careful of not intruding and being there as a support and we have art teachers. The teacher doesn't actually touch your artwork but she does give you an insight into how things are actually done. It's really outstanding.
Art is the only thing I do for me. Because I do some volunteer work and I do some babysitting of my granddaughter. This is something just for me, and it's fun and it's relaxing and it's those things that you spoil yourself a bit by doing something nice for you.
Overall it gives you a bit of hope that things can be okay, which is really a nice thing to know. I think in my mind, art is giving hope, and I think that that's a huge thing for anyone. Hope is so vital in life really, and quite often that is not really apparent in your normal life. You have a bit of hope that maybe this will touch someone else. Maybe I am doing it okay. Maybe I can do some more. Hope is there and that's an important thing to have.
The other thing is, I think that really, when you have a mental illness, you get labelled that and then everyone stays away from you and thinks that you're weird. It's really nice to do something normal and it is okay to sometimes be sad.