A young Donegal mum has created some powerful artwork to reveal the unseen symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

Marion Mulhern was first diagnosed with MS in 2018. Her last relapse occurred after the birth of her baby boy when she suffered from the cold, tingling, dizzying and exhausting effects of the illness.

Marion turned to art to express her feelings. A digital portrait she created will now feature in an art exhibition MS Ireland in partnership with Novartis Ireland which opens in Dublin today.

The exhibition has been organised to raise awareness of MS and the wide-ranging symptoms to mark World MS Day 2022.

Marion, who lives in Donegal Town, is the daughter of David and Riona Mulhern from Glenties. As a graphic designer and branding specialist, she utilised her skills to show the many symptoms of MS she has endured.

Marion Mulhern

Marion said: “During my last relapse I lay in bed feeling like I was sleeping on a bed of medication, my symptoms were pulling me down and I’m always ‘a glass half full’ sort of person. I was a new mother, I saw flashes, I was tired, my feet felt like blocks of ice although a hot water bottle was piping hot on them. “My feet are cold, my feet are cold, did I say my feet are cold? I’m even sick of hearing myself say it, I have said it so many times. I’m not going to say that any more”. My baby needed me so how I’m feeling didn’t matter.”

Marion’s illustration recreates the memory of her feelings and the side-effects of her medication in the moment of her relapse. Descriptive words such as Guilt, Muzzy, Flat & Raw surround the heartfelt drawing of Marion and her little boy on a bed.

Marion’s art for ‘The Art of MS – Symptoms Under the Spotlight’ Exhibition

Marion’s art is one of 12 works of art that were shortlisted by a panel of judges to be on display in the MS Ireland exhibition in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute from Thursday 26 May to Wednesday 1 June 2022.

The exhibition features paintings, digital illustrations, freestanding sculptures and creative video content all of which aim to help the viewer better understand what it is like to live with MS day to day.

Ava Battles, Chief Executive of MS Ireland said:  “One of the big challenges for people living with MS is trying to articulate their symptoms to others when so much of their disease is invisible.  Without understanding, empathy is limited as people do not realise how debilitating the disease can be on all aspects of the person’s life.

“I would encourage everyone to visit The Art of MS – Symptoms Under the Spotlight exhibition and show your support for the 9,000 people in Ireland living with this disease.”

The Art of MS – Symptoms under the Spotlight is accessible to the public from Thursday 26 May to Wednesday 1 June 2022 from 9am-5pm and is located at the main foyer of Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, 152 – 160 Pearse St, Dublin 2.