Facing the memories of ICU through open conversation and art/video art


I am an ex-patient of ICU ( May- June 2015) and an art student currently studying at the Glasgow School of Art. I recovered physically much quicker than expected through grit and determination to be 'better'. The only issue was I back tracked the mental aspect of my recovery- I was not given much mental support leaving me feeling empty and at loss. Now just over a year down the line I have found that, in looking back over my recovery period, the way I have learned to overcome my PTSD has been through my artwork itself; in dealing with my dreams and memories from ICU it has enabled me to come face to face with them and almost hold a conversation with them. I feel that the method and distribution process of the work I produced earlier this year could be used by other people in their recovery process. In basic terms the work I produced was part of my own self initiated therapy. My work itself became a series of videos that people received via emailed links when they signed up to a 'fictional' company I created. Through merging the reality and the fiction of my dreams in a visual way I became much more confident to step past them.

The videos themselves, although initially distressing, helped me to face my 'fears' as such and has allowed me to progress with my life ( I can't say it has been easy but I have been learning). After reading about the treatments I could have received, such as CBT, I realised that I had almost been doing that for myself.

I have been thinking that this method I developed could be modified and used to help other people who are in the situation I was in ( and in some aspects still currently am.) I could work with past patients of ICU to open up a conversations about the delirium they experienced and by doing this aid them in their own personal physiological recovery, and dealing with the symptoms of PTSD.

Just wanted to get the idea out there and see what people think, any comments, ideas or queries would be so helpful,

Thank you

Kate Frances Lingard

10 Replies

  • Dear Kate,

    I hope you don't mind me messaging you.I was intrigued to read your post! I'm a critical care researcher based in Edinburgh, and I'd be really,really interested in hearing more about your work. As you say, many people struggle to articulate or share their dreams, hallucinations and nightmares. Feel free to drop me an email at p.ramsay@napier.ac.uk. You might be interested in a website we've developed, based on over 120 interviews with patients and families in NHS Lothian criticalcarerecovery.com I'll look forward to hearing from you!Best wishes for your continued recovery.


  • Dear Pam, I also find Kate's post intriguing. I worked through my PT experience by writing my dreams in the form of a story. I can email you a copy if you're interested.

    Regards, Steve

  • Hi, Steve

    Thanks so much for your message. I'd be delighted to read your story!Kindest regards,


  • Hi Steve,

    I would be interested in discussing with you about your experiences and this story you have been writing!

    Many thanks,


  • Hi Kate,

    I emailed you some Word documents a few days ago. Hopefully you've received them okay.

    Regards, Steve

  • Hi Kate! So glad you're better, and what a wonderful cathartic way to express yourself! Have you posted any of your videos on YouTube? I would like to see them. I was in ICU for two weeks and the hospital for two more months, (with some form of pneumonia), two years ago, and have been left with so many flashbacks and memories. My husband was there every visiting time, but won't talk about it, so I'm left with unanswered questions. I'm in almost perfect health now, except for stamina, but think about those months every day. I wish you the best......no one knows unless you've been there.

  • Hi there!

    I would be very interested to speak to you some more about your experience and would love to share some of my work with you! Do you have an email address? Mine is kflingardart@gmail.com

    Many thanks for your reply!

  • Hello Kate,

    My very dear family and friends have all helped me to recover from the horrendous ordeal of ICU and hospital without them I am positive the outcome could have been more slow and painful. My surgeon was and is so wonderful as was all the nursing staff and doctors I hope to go and see them before the year is out. I try and do some water colour painting to help me.

    All the very best,

    Angie angelrock1961@hotmail.com

  • Hi, I am actually putting together an art project of my own based on my husbands coma dreams. Were you comatosed while in ICU? It would be interesting to hear your dreams if you were, from another artists imagination!

  • Hi there!

    Do you have an email we can discuss further on?

    Many thanks, Kate x

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