8 March 2017
When Marnie Higgs sought help for her anxiety and depression
at Epworth Clinic, she never expected to tap into a well of undiscovered creativity
in the process.
But it was during her time as an inpatient receiving treatment
that she felt compelled to pick up a paintbrush — resulting in a newfound love
for creating meaningful art that Marnie has since shared with others.
Developing post-natal depression with the birth of her
second son, and then facing the news of the same son’s diagnosis of kidney
cancer when he was just a year old, Marnie struggled with severe depression and
anxiety for years, trying various forms of treatment on and off, including
At Epworth Clinic, it was recommended Marnie undergo a course
of TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) — a treatment option involving a
series of small electrical pulses transmitted through the brain via a coil
placed on the scalp. It is a painless procedure with few side effects and has
been found to be an effective form of treatment in depression, particularly for
patients who have not responded well to medication.
For Marnie, TMS has certainly produced positive results.
“It’s worked absolute wonders for me,” she
says. “I am very healthy and feel better than I have
for a long time.”
As part of her program, Marnie received treatment daily as
an inpatient over a course of 20 days, returning after a one-week break for a further
course of treatment. During this time, Marnie found herself searching for a way
to pass the time outside of her TMS program and quieten her often-busy mind. It
was then she decided to focus her efforts on creating art.
“At night after an early dinner I would still
be wide awake and thinking, so I asked the nurses if I could use the group
room,” says Marnie. Joined by others who took up their own hobbies each night,
Marnie began to paint.
“The painting came quite naturally. In a way,
it’s the real therapy. I can let emotions out and communicate things I may not
be able to talk about,” she says.
Marnie’s passion for painting grew, she channelled her emotions into themes
which then became a distinct series of works. And with the encouragement of
friends and family, she’s now printed and sold copies of her art — something
that has given Marnie a deep sense of accomplishment and worth.
“It has made me feel that what I am doing has
meant something to others and could touch other people in a significant way. It’s
made me feel on top of the world and that I am doing something truly creative
and worthwhile,” says Marnie.
“Ever since I started treatment at Epworth, I
now have the bravery to put paintbrush to paper. My perfectionist traits take a
back seat to my desire to let go,” she says. “Receiving TMS along with a few
changes to my medication and the painting have come together to form a
beautiful change in my condition.”
more about Marnie’s story and see her artwork on her website, marniehiggs.com.