Vasculitis UK News

Art Inflammation and the Illness Experience - Shanali Perera

09 Jan 2018

Shanali Perera gave a presentation at the Spring Vasculitis Education Day March 2017

Shanali says "I have used Digital Art to cope with pain, illness experience and adjust to living with vasculitis, a long term condition (LTC). Living with a long term condition is a challenge on its own. I am trying to generate wider awareness on the use of creative expression as a tool to face some of the challenges imposed by chronic illnsses by sharing my personal experience and insights as both a medic and patient. I am keen to tell others of my experiences as they might benefit from incorporating art or similar ways into their own healing.

Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal diseases are the largest growing burden of long term disability in the UK, affecting over 10million adults. The concept of empowering patients to better engage with self-management of their long-term conditions is changing the world at an ever-increasing pace. Incorporating creativity can enhance interpersonal well-being.

I am currently a patient under the care of Rheumatology at the Manchester Royal infirmary. Prior to ill health retirement in 2012, I was a Rheumatology specialist trainee attached to the West Midlands Deanery. In 2009, I embarked on an unexpected journey during my 2nd year of training by becoming a patient in my own specialty. This was a transformative experience both professionally and personally. 7 years of numerous A&E and hospital admissions, multiple consultations from various disciplines have given me some valuable insights into a patient’s journey.

Chronic diseases can turn one's lives upside down gradually changing the landscape of daily living. Art can be a refuge for coping with the dynamic shifts in daily routine - accepting role limitations, altering perceptions and regaining level of control. Creativity gives something to take control of and construct a positive identity. From my experience, adapting to find ways around limitations plays a key role in rebuilding confidence and progressing forward."

Digital Art by Shanali Perera

Link to Shanali's website

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