Pink flower unfolding against a blue background

Katrina's story

The story may contain themes of a sensitive nature. See our guidance on viewing the exhibition.

Katrina wanted to be involved in Inside:Out  because she was aware that some people from the BAME community are reluctant to speak up. She hopes that her involvement will encourage others to seek help.

Katrina describes her experience as generational trauma:

Something that becomes so ingrained that you don't realise, but it affects the way you see the world and how you perceive interactions around you.

The effects of her trauma first became apparent when she was in secondary school:

There were little things that I realised that probably were not necessarily normal, the way I reacted to things. I'd get really anxious whenever the school bell rang. And whenever a schoolteacher asked me about family life as well. I would just be like, Yeah, it's fine. Even though that gave me a lot of anxiety.

My family is very religious, and I'm not. They were really keen to be quite religious and it didn't agree with my personal values, and I was struggling with making myself align with those values. It just created a massive inner conflict with trying to fit in with my family and their values.

That anxiety got worse when she went to university, ultimately spiralling into dissociative episodes, intense intrusive thoughts, and panic attacks. Feelings that she was not fully inside her body, not fully in control. Sleep also became a challenge:

I just lay there crying, forcing myself to cry towards the end hoping that if I get all of the harm out of myself, I'll be able to sleep.

Eventually, she did seek help and believes that opening up has saved her life. As she says:

I find it nice to look back and think, wow, you're not really getting that anymore.

Katrina described her recovery as a kind of blooming:

As a flower opens you see there is more on the inside that you haven't seen before. The person I am now was already there, and has already been there as a small child, but got covered by everybody else's expectations”.

The Lotus flower’s particular significance derives from the way they grow out of the mud and murk into a beautiful flower. Even though she is not religious:

There is still a part of me that still kind of holds the religious values that I grew up with, the ones that I see in every other religion, make sure you look after fellow human beings. Religion is not a bad thing if it brings you peace.

The Lotus flower growing out if the darkness is a powerful metaphor because as Katrina says:

Growth can happen anywhere and anytime. And there's something beautiful about it.

Commenting on the painting Katrina said

I felt really seen. The painting represents my journey and what I hope to be. The darker edges are what I've gone through as I kind of centre in on myself. To find myself and my light. The flower is still opening too and that really fits on with what I believe. That this journey isn't ever over. Things get easier to manage but you keep pushing for the light and to become more of yourself and that this continues throughout life. 

The painting captures the essence of the cycle of getting better and having trauma pop up and overcoming it.



Click or tap to see another painting.


See the full image and read Rani's story
See the full image and read Josh's story
See the full image and read Kainaat's story
Faded image of pink flower unfolding against a blue background and the words "Current painting" over the top
See the full image and read Mustak's story
See the full image and read Peem's story
See the full image and read Sarah's story
See the full image and read Susan's story
See the full image and read Sharm's story

Back to exhibition homepage