There’s something about colouring that soothes the soul.
It could even save your life.
Behind the colourful pencil strokes, Kaleidoscope Adult Colouring Group organiser Bron Clarke has been fighting a blackened past.
Her battle with mental illness began in 1988. She suffered from post natal depression after her son was born.
His death in the same year compounded her condition.
“I was born in Wagga but was living in a small village in Victoria at the time,” Ms Clarke said.
“People thought I killed him.
“I went to a doctor and he said ‘you have depression, go home and deal with it’.”
You have to take control of the illness – not let it control you.- Bron Clarke
Ms Clarke moved back to Wagga in 1993 and had her third child.
She relapsed into post natal depression, which led to psychosis.
She has been in and out of medical care for more than 20 years, with her most recent admission in May this year, and was discharged in July.
Her daughter, Bek, suggested starting the colouring group, and it got off the ground in September.
“I said if it’s helped me, it will help others – let’s go for it.”
The community-run group meets every Friday from 9.30am to 12.30pm at Wagga Church of Christ on the corner of Fernleigh Road and Heath Street.
Cost is $5, which covers hall hire, tea, coffee and biscuits.
All adults who like to colour are welcome.
“Especially anyone with a mental illness that would like to socialise in a safe environment,” Ms Clarke said.
“We’d love for anyone to come along and relate to each other.
“We can’t offer professional advice, but we are here as a support group.
Ms Clarke said organising this group allowed her to get in control.
“I found colouring therapeutic – it takes your mind off your issues,” Ms Clarke said.
She said she sometimes found herself awake at 1am colouring, not realising time had gotten away.
“I was colouring before it was cool.”
Ms Clarke was told by a community health worker the meditative effects of putting pencil to paper stopped her thinking too deeply about things.
“The important thing for anyone suffering from a mental illness is to not be isolated – it is an important step in a person’s recovery,” she said.
“You have to take control of the illness – not let it control you.”
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