Hi guys, gals, gents, ladies, dudes, dames, anyone and everyone!
I’m certain a good bunch of you will have never heard of me before, so first off- hello, my name is W, and thanks for checking this page out 🙂 I’m a student, a blogger and a cultural magpie (i.e. gets easily excited by anything bright and shiny).
I’m not too shabby with a pen and some paper, either, and below is the sort of thing I can do:
So far, so broody. I can draw other things, like this…
…and I’m always looking at ways to improve what I can do. The only thing I need is a Byro and some paper; everything else is made up as I go along, and I can draw like this pretty much anywhere.
Here’s the important bit: I draw like this for fun, because for the longest time drawing was my only way of fighting the anxiety I get from being around other people. I’ve spent a lot of time around mental illness, as a support worker and as a patient, and recently I’ve seen a lot more people start talking about it online. I’ve linked this post to several of them in the hope that they will help me reach more people 🙂
I believe 100% that the more we talk about mental illness, the more people are going to start listening, and the more we listen the less isolated we as individuals are going to feel. I know just how easy it is to feel worthless and forgotten, and the only reason I’m here writing this is because I was lucky enough to be reminded by other people that none of us should have to face our feelings alone. I’m well aware that other people aren’t so lucky, who deserve our respect and support as much as the next person, and I want to do something about that too.
So here’s what I’m going to do. Right now I have a piece of blank A3 paper, and I want you to help me fill it with thoughts and feelings about what it means to live with a mental illness.
Once I’ve got enough words I’ll post again with the concept I’ve come up with (if you want to know my current ideas please comment, and I’ll do my best to respond), and as soon as I’ve finished the piece I’ll take a picture (using the best means available) and upload it onto this site. I’ll also email a copy to anyone who gets in touch over email 🙂
Anything you want me to include can be as personal as you want. For now, I’m not going to include names, but if enough of you respond then I’ll include a list of everyone who contributed in the drawing itself (with everyone’s express permission). I will put down exactly what you say, but obviously nothing offensive- I’ll reply to confirm that I got the email, and if I’m unsure about anything (like, for the sake of argument, a possible spelling mistake) I’ll get back to you first before using it.
That’s it, more or less.
This is an idea, and it’s only as big as you want it to be. If no one responds, I’ll draw something entirely to do with my experience of mental illness; if five or six respond, it’ll be to do with those people (and I’ll probably spend more time planning with them to make sure it turns out alright).
If lots of you respond, who knows- I’ll do as I’ve just said, and after that it’s entirely up to you what you do with the finished drawing. I’d be grateful if you let me know before using it for anything, so I can follow things and spread the news if anything interesting comes of it. In the past I’ve made T-shirts for people, and I’d love to get charities involved to help support those suffering from mental illness, but right now I have no idea what to expect from this post. By all means share it!
Serious bit: I’m always going to be trying new things so if any of this does get intentionally misused or misappropriated, it’s not really going to impact on my end (although I’d be leery about trying this again in the future, as you’d expect). Please don’t, is all I can say. I’ll do my best to be open, considerate and clear with my ideas and views on this, so it’s not unreasonable to expect the same from everyone else 🙂
This is my message to anyone else who has suffered from mental illness, a friendly reminder that you are not alone and that the world is listening.
Who wants to shout with me?
Email to contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Apologies if anything about this has upset or offended you- it was totally unintentional, and I’m not all inclined to criticize anyone for having a different opinion. Stay honest, stay safe and stay awesome.
In the corner of a house there’s a room full of books. Big books, small books, books full of color and books full of black. No one could possibly read every book in this room full of books, surely; there are books about cooking, books about history, books about dinosaurs and books about what Sally did on holiday when she met Harry. No one could be interested in all of these books enough to read them all, cover to cover. But no one minded if no one did, because someone read some of these books and read them cover to cover. A kid.
A kid? Of course a kid, what else but a kid. Scrawny and white, all pale and shy, with dark brown hair and bespectacled eye. A kid in form, in mind and in wit, a kid whose heart and mind was lit by literature and writings, all ordered and free. For no one would push back the pages they read, and no one would pinch or say what they said, for in this room in the corner of a house this kid read alone as hushed as a mouse.
As they read alone in this room so quiet, in their mind the world was a colorful riot- what wonder, what power! What passion, what sorrow! How they smiled at the thought of what words had to follow. This is faith, this is light, this is everything right! So the kid read through each day and waited each night.
Time, though, wraps its chain onto every living soul, and as time carried on so the kid became old. Soon gone were the days that they could fill with written page- the rat race soon came forward for those of their age.
The day that it came the kid ran, feeling dread, for the world was not the way that literature had said. Right had no sway on the evil that walked, and the kid needed teaching in rules that weren’t taught. The way of kindness was hollowed with every mistrust; for every step that the kid took, their faith began to rust. Every lesson took heart until the heart gave no more. The kid wandered and stumbled and never found whatever for.
You should be more like him, but less like them, they said, in a loud and righteous cry. You should worship her and him and be grateful for their time, they said with suspicion and fire in their eye. You should be strong, they said, you should be funny. You should know all this.
Why can’t you be more like them? The kid asked themselves, unable to answer. Why couldn’t you learn? The kid asked again, still unable to answer. Why did you turn out this way? The kid cried, over and over, still unable to answer. What good has come of all the time that you spent? They all asked, again and again, and each time the kid was unable to answer.
Until the heart had enough and took everything it had. It screamed to the kid and drove the kid mad. It chased the kid back to the room full of books. It hid from the sky, and the world, and the looks.
In this room full of books, full of memory and peace, the kid found their smile, and the heart its release. Alone in this room of accordance and dreams, together they could hope, reflect and believe. The kid’s story was written and the kid had grown old, but its words can be read again, and the story re-told. Believe in this heart, wherever it may lead, the kid told themselves. Believe in all the good from the things that you read. Believe and be kind, whether you see or remain blind, for this world will forever remain empty and hollow without a song to be sung and dreams it can follow.
And with that, the kid walked into the world once, knowing nothing of strength or of love, or what for. But the words in the room that raised them remain, and what good is a hero without troubles to be slain?