“I carried on drawing. Slowly, I was noticing the world and finding the beauty in it – not seeing the beauty but actively finding it.

A lot of that beauty was in the churches where I stopped to sit down – particularly Holy Trinity, Sloane Square decorated by the Pre-Raphaelites William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. I drew that. I drew myself kneeling in prayer. I drew myself bathed in the fragmented, colourful light cast by the stained-glass windows.

The churches were mostly empty, but occasionally I met people who were friendly, without being all over me (I hadn’t been brought up religious). I picked up leaflets containing prayers, and found that by reciting them again and again I could silence the self-critical thoughts. I flicked through the Bibles on lecterns and enjoyed reading the Psalms, in which King David addresses to God his various, shifting moods of ecstasy and gnashing of teeth.”

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I checked myself in to a psychiatric hospital – now, I’m grateful for my breakdown


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