Impact on Adult Life

Deborah Sowerby: Covering Up

Deborah was born in 1949 in London. She spent some time in hospital as a young child and then was sent to a residential special school in East Sussex at the age of five, staying there until she was sixteen and then going on to Art School.

Here Deborah describes keeping her past and herself secret after school.

  • Deborah Sowerby
  • Deborah Sowerby
  • Deborah Sowerby
  • Deborah Sowerby


In fact that theme of adults, particularly in authority, being of no use to me whatsoever continued, because I when I went to art school, again nobody talked to me, about what I could expect, nobody made any reference to the fact that I had this weird upbringing, that I had a condition, so, I'd learnt by then, I decided that I didn't have it, that it was somehow something that happened in the past.

It is very weird what happened I went into a kind of - there's two things: I went into the kind of denial, kept secret my entire childhood and education, everything that happened before, I wouldn't talk about it, I tried to keep it secret and not let anybody find out, and I also tried not to let anybody find out that I had this body that wasn't quite right. So a lot of my energy went into covering things up and pretending to be normal, that was what I wanted to be.

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