Renfrew woman is using art to fight her neurological disorder

An artist is tackling her Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) by painting amazing art pieces.

FND is a medical condition in which there is a problem with the functioning of the nervous system and how the brain and body sends and receives messages and signals.

Mhairi Chambers was diagnosed with the disorder in 2019 and since then, has faced declining mental health.

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However, to combat this, Mhairi turned to art and has credited it for saving her life and has created a large 5x6ft abstract piece called Beauty from the Beast which is currently on display at The Big Art Show in Paisley.

Mhairi, 40 and lives in Birch Way, said: “I am incredibly proactive around my mental health and my condition. I have learned to accept it and I have learned loads about it.

“There are a lot of symptoms that go along with the disorder and due to all of that, I collapsed trying to keep myself well so I became very dark and I happened to be working away with paintings.

“Within Beauty from the Beast, the large work, I actually have written down the side ‘this is not going to kill me.’ Art work has literally saved my life and it has continued to do so. If it wasn’t for this art, I would not feel like I had a purpose.”

Mhairi saw submissions for The Big Art Show at a time where she was already planning on getting her art submitted into the show.

Beauty from the Beast is Mhairi’s big art piece
(Image: Steven Thomson)

FND has made Mhairi’s everyday life fairly difficult and there are times where she cannot get out of bed and the disorder can leave her feeling strange sensations and can sometimes result in her having to learn to walk again, but art has helped her verbalise her issues.

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Mhairi added: “The art has helped me deal with the emotional trauma that I am not able to verbalise. A lot of the smaller pieces have helped me work through my trauma and I have then abstracted them together to form this bigger piece of work.

“It is pulling me out of the house because I can count on both hands the number of times I have been out of the house.”

The Beauty from the Beast painting is going to be on exhibition until the end of November and Mhairi has a big plan to build a bit of hype about what this piece is and wants to tell her story and reassure people that it is okay to feel down at times.

There is also hope that money made from the art will be donated to mental health and art organisations in the Renfrewshire community.

Mhairi Chambers is using art to help with her diagnosis
(Image: Steven Thomson)

Mhairi also feels that the art community has really helped support her through her difficult times.

She added: “I think it is very important to reiterate the support I’ve received and continue to receive from the local art community they are going a long way in helping me rehabilitate from this exacerbation of my FND .

“I believe they deserve at least recognition for there unconditional compassion and support shown and I’m excited to be moving forward.”

For more information about The Big Art Show, visit their website:

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Daily Record – Paisley