Unexpected Loss

Today I spent the morning in another hospital for tutorials on psychiatry. When I returned to the Mason clinic where I am based, I saw one of the patients there leaving, surrounded by police. I waved and said hi to him as I usually do. He smiled back at me. I wondered where he was going and resolved to ask him later. I assumed he was leaving to a court hearing. 

Later while I was updating myself on the patient’s notes, I found that the patient (Mr. PH) had been discharged from the Mason clinic back to prison. 

I was shocked and upset. 

Mr. PH was the first patient I had met in the Mason clinic. He introduced himself to me on the first day when I seemed a bit clueless and told me that I would learn a lot there. He was the first patient I had taken a psychiatric history from. He knew it was my first history taking session and was patient and cooperative throughout the 1h it took me to take the entire history. Mr. PH shared many of his life stories and we found we had a few things in common. 

From then on he had always greeted me and asked how I was. He offered to teach me how to play jazz style on the guitar and wanted to have a jam session together. 

Mr. PH has bipolar disorder and had committed a theft during one of his manic episodes. He was facing 7 years in prison. He told me of how scared he was of returning to prison and his worries that he may not get the bail he was moving towards. I had tried to encourage him to keep positive. 

He was a really sweet person who I became quite fond of. So much so that seeing him around everyday was almost comforting. I had no idea he would be sent back to prison so quickly. Apparently, neither did he. He was the reason I first realised how vulnerable patients at the Mason clinic were. Sure, they were big scary criminals to the outside world, but this was mostly due to their mental illness. When treated, they were all just very simple, regular people who had talents and hopes for the future. 

If I had known I had been walking past Mr. PH as he was leaving, I probably would have said goodbye or wished him all the best. I am sad that I wasn’t able to do this.

Every so often, you’ll lose contact with someone you know abruptly. And when that happens, you’ll feel a pang of loss. And a regret. That you didn’t get a chance to tell them you’re grateful to have known them, and for all they had taught you and that you’ll miss them. Well, that’s how I feel anyway. 

I didn’t get a chance to say thanks and goodbye to Mr. PH and I didn’t get to have a guitar jam with him. Both of which I’m deeply upset about. I wish Mr. PH all the best. I hope he gets bail. I hope his life is happier from now on. And I’ll miss seeing him around. 

Sigh. 

Passion 

Some days are hard. You can’t go through a 6 year degree without stopping somewhere and wondering if you’re really cut out for this and if the decision you made in choosing your career path was the right one.

For me, it’s on long days. The dreaded 8am-10(sometimes 11)pm shift spent following a registrar around on their long day that they’re getting paid for, that they really look like they’re enjoying. I’m the little student following them around, counting the hours down ’till they say “hey why don’t you head home?”. I am low on sleep and food, having missed dinner because the nurse on the other side of the hospital was in a predicament that needed immediate attention (a signature from the registrar). 

I am envious of my registrar who has all the energy in the world, and I am annoyed at myself for not having that passion for my job. Granted, being a student is not much of a job, but at the time I wouldn’t have wanted to be my registrar either. I was fantasising about my bed at home and whatever food was left over to eat. At this point, I realised that this is what my life will consist of from next year onwards. I didn’t know if I was up for it. I began to wonder why I hadn’t taken accounting or business as my subjects in highschool… (Probably because I was no good at statistics, but you know.)

It was heading up to the end of the shift. 15 minutes to handover. If I leave now, I would miss out on the pointless half an hour that a group of doctors and nurses share going through the list if patients. In which I have no part at all, so will most likely be falling asleep. 

But I never got to leave. 

There was a phone call about a new admission. An interesting/difficult patient to manage. The registrar asked me to accompany her, and I did. As the history was being taken, I was impressed. The registrar diagnosed the patient with a condition I had never heard of. And started her on the appropriate treatment. The patient was so grateful. Suddenly, I was full of curiosity and fully awake. I asked my registrar lots of questions about the disease and its management, etc. I was no longer hungry or tired. I suddenly had the energy to write notes, chase the nurse down to explain the diagnosis and treatment, and order tests she needed. 

By then, we had both missed handover, and she finally told me to go home. But it didn’t matter to me. It was super late, but I was buzzing with excitement. I was glad to be there. 

I may not always have the energy or the enthusiasm within me for my job, but I think I know that I atleast have the passion. The passion to learn something new and help someone in need. The passion that makes me forget about being tired/hungry or any other difficulties I was having. That’s what my life will consist of in the years to come.

Thank goodness for that. 

The Voices 

“you’re pathetic” said Jona as he loomed over me in the corner behind the dumpster at the back of the school. I could smell the chocolate and chips on his breath. He shoved his hand in my pocket and pulled out my 3 cookies I had for lunch. I tried to grab his arm and take them back, but Jona’s other arm came crashing into my chest and knocked the wind out of me as I fell back onto the concrete. My back aching from the force and my arms burning from where they scraped the ground. I looked up. I couldn’t see Jona as my eyes filled with tears. But I heard his voice. “you’re a loser!”

“Do as you’re told. You stupid dickhead” said the man that was my new dad. I looked up at him. His clothes had the stink of cigarettes and vinegary smell of alcohol. “eat it” he said. Shoving the orange ends of his smoked cigarettes into my small mouth. I turned my head away and squirmed to run. But his hand was holding my thin arm with a grip that was as strong as a vice and just as deadly. “eat it!” he repeated, successfully stuffing a handful of the cigarette butts into my mouth. They tasted of ash and poison. I choked and spat them out, feeling a warmth spread in my pants where I had peed myself. “you pathetic mess! Look at the mess you’ve made!!” said the man as he raised his hand above my head. I couldn’t see him as my eyes filled with tears. “you’re nothing but a loser” his voice rang in my ears.

“you loser. Why don’t you just go kill yourself?” I woke with a start from my bed. I sat up and saw only darkness. As my eyes adjusted to the dim flickering tubelight in the hallway, I saw that I was alone. “you stupid useless idiot” the Voice rang in my ears and I pressed my hands to the side of my head. I told myself It’s in my head. The doctor with the kind eyes told me it’s just Voices in my head. Before he gave me the pills to put me to sleep. Now I’m awake. “yeah you’re awake, dickhead”. I can still hear their Voices…. Then what’s real? “you’re crazy. That’s what’s real. Loser.” I looked down at my arms. Even in the dark I could see the linear gashes and scars criss-crossing all the way down on my forearm. Some still raw, bandaged by the doctor. Marks I had given myself. “see that? Loser scars.” I smiled to myself. They’re not. I slid my hand under the pillow of my bed and extracted the lone object that lay there. The paperclip that Steve from the room opposite my own had given me. The one that I had bent out of shape until it was a thin rod and sharpened on one end by the dinner cutlery. I pulled off the bandage that was wrapped just below my elbow. I felt the air touch the still healing wound. I pressed the sharp end of the paperclip at the top of the wound and ran it down the length of the old cut. I savoured the burning pain that shot through my arm. The sound of my heart in my chest as it began to beat rapidly. The cool sensation of the blood leaking out of the wound. I did it again and again. As I did, the Voices got quieter and quieter. And then they stopped. 

Pain is good. I don’t know what’s real. But atleast I know I’m alive. 

What’s Your Drug?

You learn some weird things in psychiatry. In any other specialty, you learn anatomy and physiology and pharmacology. In psychiatry… you have to learn the different ways people can kill themselves. You need to learn the different possible things people can hear or see. You need to learn the different types of thoughts people can have.

And, you need to know about all the drugs out there. The illegal ones. You gotta speak their language.

I had to take a drug and alcohol history from a patient today with my consultant. In every other specialty I’ve taken this history in the past 4 years, the results are always the same. “Have you ever been a smoker?” “How much would you smoke in a day, when did you start, etc.” “Do you drink alcohol?” “How much in a week, etc.” And the “do you use any other drugs” question generally results in pretty mundane response of either “no” or “smoked cannabis once when I was 15”.

But in this particular specialty, all patients are on every drug you can think of, and all the ones you can’t think of. As you can imagine, my knowledge on the subject was very minimal.

Me: So Mr. S, how much cannabis were you smoking a day?

Patient: Oh just a tinny’s worth aye

Me: Oh okay, how long have you been smoking for?

…….

Me: How much methamphetamine were you smoking daily?

Patient: Oh about half a gram

Me: Oh okay. When did you start smoking the meth?

Later, my consultant asked me how much a ‘tinny’s’ worth of cannabis was. I blinked for 10 seconds and replied with “ummmm”.

He then asked me if 0.5g of methamphetamine was a large amount. I blinked for 30 seconds this time and offered a very quiet “no”.

Both were very wrong answers. A “tinny” is a word used only in NZ apparently. It amounts to 1g of cannabis. It’s the standard amount you can buy on the market. And it’s a pretty substantial amount to smoke in a day. With methamphetamine, the standard amount you can buy is called a “point” which is 0.1g of methamphetamine. Mr. S was smoking the equivalent of 5 ‘points’. This was a very high amount of methamphetamine. Apparently.

I did not know any of this. My consultant expected me to know that he was smoking quite high amounts of both drugs and to have asked him about his thoughts regarding this high amount and the possibility of cutting down.

For the first time in my life, I felt that not knowing about illegal drugs was a bad thing. And it really was. My consultant definitely gave me the ‘look’. I’m used to getting the ‘look’ from consultants for not being able to answer questions in courseguides and textbooks about medicine. It was the funniest thing to get the ‘look’ for something like this. Only in psychiatry would this be the case.

The problem is, when I get a question wrong in other specialties, I can go read the textbook or do research to learn about the thing I got wrong. But in this case, how on Earth do I learn more about illegal drugs?! Seriously. Google ‘illegal drugs in NZ’? I actually did do this, but I ended up on the government website with details about offences. Which is interesting, but not exactly what I’m looking for. Sigh. I’m just not Street enough for this. What a strange feeling of being ‘too’ normal.

Man. Psychiatry is weird.

A Leaf On The Road

There was a leaf on the road. It was just an autumn leaf. It was dry yet vibrant; its stem holding proud. It was just an autumn leaf… that landed in the middle of my path; lightly, before my feet. My eyes fell on it. It was just like every other autumn leaf; it was unique. It spoke to me. It spoke of summertime. Of hope and happiness. The gentle breeze that would caress it and the winds that challenged it. It spoke of the rains that  cleansed it and helped it grow stronger still. It spoke of its roots. That connected it to every other soul around it. 

It spoke of change. The leaf braved the seasons. It knew not of the changes to come. Only that everyday it was protected under the eternal piercing sun. It spoke of the gentle cooling of autumn. The final change before it was time to let go. No longer would it be held together, no longer connected. It would not know what lay beneath on the earth. But the leaf knew it was time. It let go. It landed in the middle of my path. It told me it’s story. It brought a change within me. But as I knelt down to pick it up, the cool breeze took it away from my reach. 

Change. 

I mourned its absence. The corner of my eyes, my spirit searched for that little piece of change. As I walk the same path everyday. Would I see it again? What feeling would it invoke? Happiness? Hope? The way it spoke to me? Or the way it eluded me? 

Or would it remind me of

Change?

I long for the leaf that lay in the middle of the road.

Aussie Trails

So. Two weeks down of psychiatry! And as I am already over this rotation, I’ve started to look ahead to my last rotation of the year (before my final summer holidays of all time! T.T) 

What is this final rotation? Well I’m glad you asked!

In 5th year, students have the opportunity to carry out a 6 week selective in any speciality they desire. I suppose it’s a way to try one of the subjects you don’t necessarily get taught very well in med school. Or it’s a chance to try something you’re really passionate about to see if that is your calling! Anyway, some students get to do this overseas, some in Australia, and some in NZ. I decided to go “across the ditch”, as they say, to Australia! 

And my goodness was it a fiasco to organise. 

First it was finding a good place to go in Australia. So I emailed all the cities I could think of. Melbourne being on top of the list because I have friends there who adore the city and doctors I know who had a lot to say about the hospitals. But I had also emailed Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast and Brisbane. 

That’s when I found out how useless universities are at replying. I mean, my own university is extremely useless in responding to students about their own screw-ups but the universities in Australia took it to a new level. I had emailed all of these places midway last year and some still haven’t replied. Some replied initially, but then wouldn’t respond when I asked further questions, and one university completely lost my application and the deposit I had paid for it! Not gonna mention who ahemcanberraahem, but it was a pretty tiring process. In the end it was okay because I wasn’t super keen on any other places ‘cept Melbourne and there was a point where I became completely apathetic about this whole selective organising process. Lack of replies can really kill enthusiasm. 

So. There were two places in Melbourne that I was interested in going to. One was the royal hospital of Melbourne who replied ages later to tell me that they aren’t accepting applications from my university “as they are unable to fulfil the assessment requirements” which is completely crazy because the “assessment requirements” is literally a one-page checklist to grade me on things like “clinical knowledge” please tick one of the boxes: “major deficiencies, some reservations, satisfactory, excellent” or something to that effect. Come on RMH. The other place was Alfred health through Monash university. Now these people were pretty okay. Replied fairly promptly given the fact that I only contacted them early this year. But they had a tonne of paperwork to do for the application. 

I had to request my 3 top speciality choices. I had no particular inclination to any speciality I wanted to do for sure. No “passion”. So I thought I would do the the smart thing and try to improve my knowledge in an area I am beyond useless in. That being radiology. Honestly I can’t tell a CXR from an AXR. I’m the kind of person that would look at a normal chest X-ray and point out consolidation, cysts and a bronchial tumour. Sooo I figured radiology would be a pretty safe bet for me to improve my skills and it would be pretty chill. Besides we get next to no teaching on radiology in med school. Win win. My next option was gastroenterology. This is the only subject I seem to have excelled in since highschool. I think I might be good at it and so maybe it’s something I’ll specialise in. So I thought I’d put it down. Lastly, cardiology. Because I can’t read an ecg to save my life and because some med students raved about how interesting it is. 

Funnily enough, I got accepted for gastroenterology. Must have been fate. Apparently their radiology department doesn’t have any room for a student. There were a lot of issues around this but mostly a lot of forms and taking passport size photos (there was no place that could do it decently for under $40 for 10 copies, so I had to do it myself using my canon. Actually turned out pretty well), getting a police background check, sending all of it hard copy to Australia depending only on NZpost (who were hugely unhelpful about my previous missing application, which made me anxious) and doing and online course for a certificate in hand hygiene. Eugh. 

Thankfully everything ended well. My documents were delivered, I am qualified in hand hygiene, and I just booked my tickets to Melbourne today!

Pretty excited for this! Never been to Melbourne. I shall be staying by myself and doing the adult thing. Hopefully it shall be a good experience! 

“It’s Been One Of Those Days” Days

It’s been one of those days.

Do you ever have days you wake up to and more or less have a plan that you’re mentally prepared for on that day? But then as you go through the day you realise not ONE part of it went to your plan?

Yeah. 

This morning I traded a sleep-in for a morning family meeting that my consultant promised would be useful to attend, (when the other med students had opted to come in late by saying they were at a tutorial that was cancelled earlier) only to get there early and find out that the consultant had to be in high court to testify for a case and the family meeting was not in the morning and was actually late in the afternoon. 

Meanwhile my other consultant (who, on the previous day, had said not much was going to happen today so she would have time to go through some teaching with me), actually had a consultants meeting all morning. 

So. I had nothing to do other than paperwork all morning. 

During which time I received some bad news from a friend which made me feel helpless and frustrated, sitting alone in front of a computer. 

Followed by the event of receiving the marks for my most recent progress test which were disappointing in themselves also. Then came the cycle of thoughts of how I should have studied more, but then what’s the point, but it doesn’t matter, etc. Naturally I felt even better. 

And THEN, I received news from home about something I’ve been quite anxious and worried about that reached its conclusion very quickly and not in a good way. But it’s one of those things that I can’t do anything about so I have to put on a “strong face” for everyone else. Anxiety building quite a bit by this point. 

The morning came and went and my consultants were still not back. A bit later in the afternoon one of the consultants returned and said “hey you missed the department teaching!! It was really interesting!! Would have been a great learning point for you”………. I’m sure it would have. If I had known about it or if you had told me that’s where you were when I texted you. Eugh. Irritability creeping in now. 

And the other consultant was apparently “stuck at high court” and will not be able to attend the family meeting. Fabulous. Should have gone home when I had the chance. Actually, should have decided to stay in bed.

But because my anxiety was building I asked the consultant who was present if she would teach me now and maybe supervise me taking a psychiatric history. Thankfully she said yes. Unfortunately, she picked a patient with an extensive history of schizophrenia who she deemed was “a good patient”, but actually he was reluctant to talk about his forensic history and would rather tell me about the black magic rites he took part in as a child. 

So. Taking a psychiatric history: Fail. 

To end the day, I went back to observing my consultant taking a 1.5h history and quietly falling asleep in the corner. Only this time I was all worked up from the uselessness of the day that I couldn’t fall asleep. That’s a good thing in a way I guess.

On the drive home I kept chanting some mantras to myself “hard things have to be faced” “this too shall pass” 

When I finally got home (was driving extra slowly with a few stops to get my headspace right) I had some tea and thought that everything that happened today was meant to happen exactly the way it happened. Eventually I reached acceptance. After spiralling through denial, bargaining, anger and depression. 

It’s just been one of those days. 

I’m Over Psychiatry 

Yup. It’s been one week. And yup. I’m already tired of my new rotation. I kind of knew I didn’t want to be a psychiatrist but this feeling of being underwhelmed seems to be a recurrent theme for me. I’m worried I’m not going to find any specialisation that I really enjoy. Sigh.

But anyway back to psychiatry. I’ll tell you why I’m already over it on here so I can decide whether it’s just me jumping the gun and disliking a run straight away after one week or whether I’m justified in my unimpressed-ness on this rotation.

So. Reasons I’m ready to fast-forward the next 6 weeks:

1. Taking a psychiatric history has a minimum duration of 1 hour. This includes patients who are already admitted and whose progress needs to be monitored. And this is by the consultant. Not just an entry level house officer.

2. The pauses within the history taking.

Doctor: So how has your mood been?

Patient: …………………………………………………….. Yeah

Doctor:……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. How are the medications?

Patient:………………………………………………………………………………………………………..*shrugs*

I mean, come on! I admire the psychiatrist and their patience but as the observer, I was dying. Of sleep.

3. The 50 million unnecessary labels for conditions.

  • schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective
  • Schizoid
  • Schizofreniform

Omg. And you know what the funniest part is? There was a patient whose regular psychiatrist had diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and who was being treated with Lithium. At the Mason clinic, another psychiatrist spent 1.5 hours with the patient taking a history (while I was falling asleep in the corner) and concluded that the patient had Schizoaffective disorder instead. I asked what that was. Apparently it is a combination of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, AND depression. The psychiatrist spent a further 15 minutes explaining to me how to distinguish between schizoaffective and plain old bipolar.

I then asked her what the management was for this. She replied: “Oh there’s not difference. We just need to change a lithium to Sodium Valproate because Lithium isn’t working for him. Otherwise it’s just treating the bipolar”

-_____________________-

I felt like I had been trolled. The treatment is no different, yet it has a scary name distinguished only by “affect”.

Why.

Just why.

4. There are only about 5 treatment options for all psychiatric illnesses. You’re either on an antipsychotic, an antidepressant, a mood stabiliser, given cognitive behavioural therapy, or electroconvulsive therapy. For literally EVERY psychiatric condition. And it does not cure them, unfortunately. So then why is there so much hoopla about the psychiatric history. One of my consultants actually asks patients such specific questions like “Do you see spirits rising up out of the ground?” and “Do you believe that any of us here are working for the secret service and spying on you to pull the thoughts from your head?”. I failed to see how this was relevant. Because he had asked these questions after the patient had described the nature of his delusions/hallucinations. What exactly was the psychiatrist intending to do with the specifics of his hallucinations once it had been established that he was having hallucinations? Was the treatment going to be any different? Nope. Were we going to help change or rid him of the hallucinations? Nope. Then why these leading questions that may have in fact put such hallucinatory ideas in the patient’s head?? For their entertainment?

I just don’t get it.

And those are the reasons why I’m over psychiatry. I just don’t think I have the patience to be a psychiatrist. I admire them though. Such patient people with great listening skills. The consultants are actually lovely people which is great. But yeah I’m not really cut out for psychiatry I don’t think. I think psychiatry is really interesting and I’ll probably enjoy seeing a psych patient in ED (where it’ll be a short history with a quick referral. xD) but that’s about it.

Well. 1 week down. 5 to go. Hopefully it gets better. Or goes by quickly. Whichever. 

Forensic Psychiatry 

Day 1 of psychiatry. The first day of rotations are always really lame because it’s a new place with new people and there’s the awkward tour where you’re trying to remember everything you see but all the hallways look the same and you gotta introduce yourself 15 times to everyone you walk past, and and sigh.

Plus on the first day there’s never much to do. You just pretend to do some study or look mildly interested while thinking about the 6 weeks to come and the daunting assignments/assessments that need completing.

Today was no different in that respect. But this placement is very interesting for me. As the title suggests, I’ve been placed in forensic psychiatry. Where mental health meets the law. I’m in a relatively small practice known as Mason clinic in Auckland. It’s an extremely high security clinic for offenders with mental illnesses.

Apparently this is a scary place. When you google Mason clinic, some of the phrases that come up include “where the mentally insane killers are protected in the most secure mental clinic in Auckland” and that it is “home to some of the country’s most dangerous offenders”.

During orientation, the first thing the students received were these:

 
The rectangular thing on the left is a “personal alarm”. It is essentially a distress call that will have staff running your way in “about 10 seconds” in case you’re being attacked or held hostage or something. In addition, all hallways have reflective glass near doorways so you may see if someone is tracking behind you. Every door is swipe and fingerprint protected. I was also given a heavy iron key that opens certain doors in the high security areas. Oh and no lanyards as they pose a significant safety risk in case someone wanted to strangle you. No messing about in this place.

I knew I was placed in Mason clinic. The idea didn’t scare me much. But some of my colleagues were clearly spooked and were discussing ways to hide their ID cards and thinking up fake names to give to patients during history taking sessions. Oh and we’re also not allowed to carry out patient interviews alone. Always have a staff member present for your own safety.

Psychiatry has such a stigma. It’s kind of borderline funny for me. We always having teaching that tells us to position ourselves in the room with a psychiatry patient such that we are close to the door and can run away if any problems arise. Yes, I know,  safety first and all that but still. From the patient’s point of view, won’t that make them feel suspicious and as though we’re scared of them? Honestly these bulky personal alarms. I’m worried the patients will see them and think that we find them a significant threat. This is the 21st century people! Can’t we get smaller, more discreet alarms? How am I supposed to build rapport with a patient if I’m walking in going “yeah watch yourself pal, I’ve got an alarm and I’m not afraid to use it”. 

It can’t be easy having a mental illness as it is. But then with the added feeling that you’re a danger to others? That kind of thing might distress some people I think. 

But hey. They’ve been using these things for ages, so I might be the only one who thinks it might be weird for patients. I also wonder if they’ve ever had issues with patients with paranoid schizophrenia thinking that we’re using these personal alarms to spy on them or something. 

Okay now I’m just pushing it.

Oh and someone’s personal alarm went off today. It was a false alarm, but we’re supposed to treat every alarm call as genuine and go running. I’m so scared I’m going to accidentally set mine off. Eugh. They’re just too big and bulky. 

Well that’s day 1. I think psychiatry is going to be really challenging for me. We’ve had next to no teaching at all on this subject in the last 4 years. Except yesterday when a couple of psychiatrists attempted to conduct a crash course in psychiatry. Which was extremely overwhelming. Did you know that there’s a DSM 5 now?! These DSM people need to stop and take a breather. The criteria keeps getting thicker and thicker. And to be honest I feel like it’s including more and more normal people characteristics to diagnose a person with mental illness. 

It makes me question my own sanity. Sigh. This should be interesting. 

Mindfulness Painting 

I’ve just had a two week break after my GP rotation and before the final two rotations of the year. Those being psychiatry (starting tomorrow) and my selective in Melbourne (more on this soon. Watch this space) 

The two weeks went by way too quickly for my liking and I had a lot to do. Catching up on sleep was a main project of course. But so was my portfolio (that I am yet to complete), an essay, a pathology assignment, and studying for my progress test. 

There’s always room for procrastination though! So I thought I’d do some painting. To pick up an old hobby of mine using some blank canvas I’ve had lying around. Well, actually my mum said if I didn’t use the canvas right now she was going to chuck it out. But it was something I had been wanting to do. 

Have you heard of mindfulness colouring? I didn’t know this was a thing until I was a couple of years into med school and some of the med students were using this as a stress-buster. For those of you who don’t know what mindfulness colouring is, it’s a book of pictures you can colour in. But not like the ones you had when you were 4 years old with the zoo animals that had a maximum of 6 spaces you could colour in. These are elaborate drawings of sceneries and kaleidoscope type patterns, and even the Mona Lisa. With over 100 tiny spaces to colour in with different colours. Apparently working through these teeny-weeny spaces is supposed to be equivalent to practising mindfulness. Personally I’d rather just eat some chocolate or something. But apparently it works for people. 

Anyway, back to painting. I had a relatively small canvas so I thought I’d try a more intricate painting with different parts and textures. I’m no artist. I use standard acrylic paints with a pallet I’ve had since age 5. It took a whole two weeks but I think it turned out pretty okay and I think I understand mindfulness colouring a bit more. Very relaxing and very rewarding in the end. 

Et Voila! Mindfulness Painting. Again, I’m not the best artist so in case you were wondering, that’s a peacock. The face doesn’t look very natural and the feathers are a bit all over the place but I think overall it looks okay! It took a very long time to get the feathers right and every line in, but it was fun. Therapeutic actually. 

Well, onward to psychiatry!