Friday, September 29, 2017

Ronda Richardson: Sketch Journals in Crisis and Beyond

I saw this presentation at the 9th World Hearing Voices Congress in Boston on August 18, 2017. The images captured for me the alienation and desperation of the psychiatric survivor experience like nothing ever had. What was so validating for me was how openly Ronda described and portrayed the horror of being trapped (as so many of us still are) in systems that have feel little, if any, obligation to recognize our personhood and therefore feel little, if any, obligation to listen.

It also describes how much change can happen in a relatively little time once our personhood is recognized and our basic needs are supported. Contrary to medical model prophecy, being viewed by professionals as 'chronic' or 'treatment resistant' is not a bar to liberation - as Ronda's work so beautifully illustrates.

A Preface by Ronda

Throughout psychiatric treatment I have secretly kept sketch journals. This year I began revisiting them. There is so much truth in these pages about how treatment as it stands now feels and often hurts. In images is also captured how it felt to find supports and tools that worked. I am always surprised how different the empowered images are from the images done during coercive inpatient treatment. I have made a Powerpoint combining images with my story. As a patient there was no hope for recovery, only risk management. I was hospitalized over 20 times and tried more than 40 different medications. I believed in the medical system, but almost died from treatment. It was the push I needed to try a different approach and the results have been more than I ever imagined possible. The aims and intentions of this presentation are to illustrate in a medium stronger than words the pain many of us experience from treatment as it is administered now. I also want to show how dramatically my life changed with a different approach. It is clearly reflected in the way my work intensified in color and boldness. I will cover the approaches and shifts that made a life possible for me within months after struggling to find a cure within mainstream mental health for decades. Turns out there wasn’t anything to cure.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible and moving story, and wonderful art. How amazing she is!


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