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13 November 2014

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You are in: Leeds > People > Your Stories > A path to recovery

Picture by Tricia Thorpe

Sunset: One of Tricia's photos

A path to recovery

I was 18 years old when I was told I was being sent to a place named High Royds. It was a very large hospital and it wasn’t good news that I was going there.

When I stepped out of the ambulance, I felt as if I’d gone back in time. I saw a huge, looming clock tower, which seemed to watch over the place. I felt as if I’m been removed from society. The world I knew was a million miles away. 


I’ve been involved in the mental health services since the age of 18, at present I’m a member of the Arts and Mind steering group. I’m also a governor for the Leeds Partnership Foundation Trust representing service-users’ views and opinions. But it hasn’t always been this easy...

I remember people lying in the corridor and others in tatty pyjamas, were making sounds at me, pointing, staring, faces everywhere. I was taken to a locked ward. I heard keys turning and was forced into a large room. The patients talking, shouting, screaming, locked.

I was misdiagnosed many times, once it was suggested that I suffered from schizophrenia. I was given many different types of medication. Some with quite severe side effects.  After 10 years, I was later diagnosed with manic depression.

I had always been interested in the arts and dabbled in drawing and painting. At the age of 28, I then decide to go on to college to study Art as I had received the right diagnosis with the correct medication and emotional encouragement and support. I then went on to achieve a degree in multi media!

High Royds clock (Tricia Thorpe)

The clock

In 2003 I went back to High Royds with a camera to take photographs after it closed. The long drive down was taking me closer to experiences I hoped to forget. The Memories were painful. I wondered if I could look through my camera and make sense of those days. I tried to see buildings as an example of Victorian architecture. A beautiful building in a beautiful setting.

The clock tower was still watching and moving time along. I must admit I saw things I’d never appreciated as a patient, the amazing tiled mosaic floor, archways in corridors and the incredible colours of a stained glass window.

High Royds corridor (Tricia Thorpe)

A corridor in the hospital

The care of people who experience mental health problems has changed. Service-users are respected as individuals with hopes and dreams.

I think, even if you experience mental health problems, you can still achieve personal goals. For me it was perusing my creative side.  I’m so grateful to be able to pass on my enthusiasm and to share enjoyment in creative arts now I’m teaching service users, computers and art at an acute day service, I help staff to help break the barriers in a creative way.

Tricia Thorpe

Tricia and her book

When people are engaged in the creative process they have a focus, an interest, a purpose and a time away from day to day challenges.

I think creativity can bring feelings of hope, help some one to move on with their lives- a path to recovery.

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Tricia Thorpe

last updated: 10/09/2008 at 11:30
created: 10/09/2008

You are in: Leeds > People > Your Stories > A path to recovery


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