My name is Patrick Samuel. I’m an emerging artist diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder (Asperger’s Syndrome), marked anxiety and low mood. I’m also on a very long waiting list for an ADHD assessment, treatments for PTSD and CBT.
I got into art as therapy in December last year as I was finding it difficult to manage my Asperger’s. Following a suicide attempt and losing my job as a trainee teacher, it was a really bad time, and my carer got me started with daily art as a way to communicate and express my emotions and thoughts as I became non-verbal and was regularly self-harming when I got overwhelmed. Up until then my condition was quite challenging and complex, but art has reduced a lot of that stress.
I’ve managed to turn my life around, engaging with others, speaking about my experiences and sharing my work at group exhibitions, art fairs, festivals and autism shows around the country since June this year.
Coming up, I have my first solo exhibition ‘Escape and Return’, following a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund art materials for it. The exhibition, at the Dugdale Centre in Enfield from November 7th to December 2nd, will feature paintings that dig deep down to show what it’s like living with Asperger’s, focusing on sensory issues, relationships, family and employment, as well as more abstract themes such as sensory issues such as synesthesia and visually representing what that phenomenon is like. This will be followed by another exhibition at Genesis Cinema in December through to January, with a third to be confirmed soon.
There have been a few published interviews online, including one with the Enfield Independent and a BBC feature. My journey has been turbulent, but over these past 8 months I’ve found much peace in myself through Art Therapy. My aim now is to talk openly about these struggles and triumphs with the hope of inspiring and motivating others.
I wrote about how Art Therapy as a coping mechanism on my website at http://patricksamuel.net/art-therapy-as-a-coping-mechanism/