Lorna Stewart: what recovery means to me

26th October 2016

Lorna Stewart, artist, musician and contributor to the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival’s Talking Heads project, tells us what recovery means to her.

Circled by confusion.

talking_heads_project_imageI start with this statement because to break my circle of confusion is a part of my road to recovery which is a constant battle for me in an episodic cyclical pattern.

I suffer from bipolar disorder but also live in a continuous obsessive psychosis that is with me my every waken moment.

I feel that for me there is no total recovery just a way of coping – through decades of being hospitalised and cared for in the community by a fabulous team of nursing, psychological and medical staff, I have found a way to cope with my illness.

As well as having very volatile highs and lows, the most difficult part of my illness is the psychosis which began 20 years ago – after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder aged 21.

I have tried to explain my experience of mania and depression through its link to nature and my desire to escape to outer space to escape from myself.

In terms of my psychosis, I have found a way in my brain to let it become part of me and accept it for what it is, as opposed to constantly battling with it and letting it take over my life. I have allowed it to be part of me. Recovery for me is trying to make sense of myself and what’s around me.


Recovery (with a slightly humorous twist)


Dissolving water, earth and fire

It’s higher than the air

A process of engulfing

This amoeba is enlarging

As it sticks

To what it’s searching for


A state of what is not

In a place where it must be

It permeates beneath the Dolphins

So to outer space

I place it


Castaway from here and now

To take me from the light

An interplanetary trip

An envelope of cosmic rays


Surrounded by this unity

A merging of solidity

Atomical transfer – mystery

To outer space I’m placed


A barren landscape lies untouched

As a cry of fear is heard

A life not formed by man


Has left a desert

No hope in sight


To outer space I place it


A position of being

United at one

Out of confusion

And into solution

I place it away

But keep it at bay

Into time

Takes my mind

Out of sight

Lies mankind

So to outer space

I’ve placed it


Dismembered from my outer shell

I’m circled by this fusion

A mystical fluidity

A cry from another galaxy


It takes me beyond my gravity

A world of chosen beauty

To outer space I place it

My outer space – I’ve found it


Read other contributions to the ‘what recovery means to me’ series.