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Apr 7, 2017

Artist Debuts “Panic Poems”

As you heard earlier, depression comes in many forms and affects persons in many ways. To bring further awareness to the topic, artist Katie Usher, expressed the condition through Panic. It is an exhibit of poetry in which she captures what triggers her own anxiety.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The conversation today, it being World Health Day, is all about depression.  The psychiatric disorder afflicts many, including creatives like Katie Usher.  She suffers from anxiety disorder but has successfully managed to channel her experiences into art.  Today’s exhibit is called Panic.

 

Katie Usher

Katie Usher, Artist/Poet

“It’s a deconstruction, it’s just an experience.  So it’s called Panic.  I have generalized anxiety disorder and I also have panic attacks.  So what I did is I borrowed the Image Factory space and I emptied it out completely and I filled it with elements of panic, which for me are triggers.  They seem very innocuous, they’re just ordinary items but they are things that would put me in a position of panic.  I think the most important thing for me is for people to get an idea of what anxiety is.  Like you said, it’s a widely misused term, like, “Oh my God! That gives me such anxiety, or I’m having a panic attack.”  I’ve had many panic attacks.  You feel as if you’re dying, like you’re a fish on land.  It’s not a pleasant experience.  But what I want people to know more than that, the ugly side of anxiety, is the creative aspect.”

 

That creativity has led Usher to write poetry which speaks directly to those feelings, since, in her opinion, a real discussion on depression is still being ignored.

 

Katie Usher

“I was diagnosed in 2009 and I’m a very creative element.  Like I’ve figured out how to manage my anxiety and that in itself is its own creativity and the most important thing for me is that people realize that they need to treat people who have mental illness with a certain level of dignity that I feel is not the case right now.  Today is World Health Day and the theme is, ‘Depression: Let’s talk’.  There’s not a conversation because people don’t feel respected.  I’ve lost relationships, friendships and even jobs because of being honest about my anxiety.”

 

Inside the art gallery the walls are adorned with various pieces, some in color, others in text.  There’s even a bed with a set of sheets that carry a specific message.

 

Isani Cayetano

“How have you been able to draw interest and creativity from this particular mental state in order to be able to put on a show like this?”

 

Katie Usher

“Well basically I just wanted to have people get like a little peek into what it’s like.  I have some little, like Dario’s Meat Pie bags, that’s where I put some poems I’ve been writing from January until March and it’s called Panic.  And it’s just a poetic view of the experience.”

 

Panic is presently on display at the Image Factory. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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