Artwork title: Be the best version of you
Artist: Charlotte Dunn
The hidden nature of a mental illness, such as PTSD, means we always find it hard to discuss our conditions with others. If we had a picture or a physical representation of what is going on our brains, we could explain to many what happens when we feel a certain way. We could show what happens when something that brings back memories of an experience and how this alters our brain inside, which might make things all that more easier to explain to ourselves and to others.PET scans and other forms of medical imagery of the brain can show this visual representation of how our brain changes when it experiences the stress and anxiety of the results of PTSD. A recent study by Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation in 2015, looked into the physical health and genetics of 300 Australian Vietnam veterans. Of the 300, half had PTSD, and half did not; and in a sub-study, 100 of the veterans (50 sufferers and an equal control group of non- sufferers) underwent brain imaging, showing the differences in the images between sufferers of PTSD and not. Although these scans are not commonly used in treatment and diagnosis of PTSD, having this physical image for a sufferer to see how the brain changes with their symptoms, may allow them and their peers to understand the changes the disorder causes and make talking about the disease a lot easier, a lot like a broken leg or bone.
As a past sufferer of PTSD as well as a number of hidden illnesses myself, I know that having something visible to others makes it a lot easier to speak about an illness or mental health illness. I know if I had been shown a scan of my brain every time a trigger for my PTSD came along I would feel better about talking about the issues with others.
Next stop: Cathedral Square