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.
I’ve decided to make this a public post, for the sake of raising more awareness on how damaging poor mental health can be to someone. If you find any of it distressing, please forgive me, and if you are open to talking please comment. The hardest thing about mental illness is that it’s incredibly difficult to communicate, and I believe we can only get better at this by trying; if you have any thoughts or feelings on this, I’d love to hear from you.
This post is about hope, or more, me trying for hope. I haven’t been feeling very hopeful at all these last few weeks, but I’m trying now to find more pieces to what feels like a very messy head.
To get the bad stuff over with: I’ve been paranoid, to the point I’ve isolated myself from everyone and given up on the thought that I’m not perceived as some kind of freak; I’ve only thought about negatives and dwindled in a cycle of self-loathing, while the world moves on. I’ve shunned anyone who has told me that if I want to talk, they’re there for me, because I wouldn’t know where to begin and I struggle to get past the thought that there isn’t a person worth talking to behind these eyes.
I like the idea of the heart being a bond between others, but if anything I’ve been running away from my own heart, scared by the thought of feeling more alone than I already do. I haven’t enjoyed much these last few weeks, and I have to remind myself to eat and get outside to breath fresh air.
As I said, though, this post is about hope. I’m trying to find peace, however that comes, by doing the little things right again. I rearranged my bedroom, I bought some new clothes, and I picked up my guitar for the first time in months, because I never used to worry what I was going to play. Things I never used to worry about that I stopped doing, basically. And while I can’t face trying to make amends with everyone I tried to hide from, I’m here talking on the blog I started with my best friend many years ago.
I always used to be scared of people, because since as long ago as I can remember I’ve struggled to relax when I’m around lots of people. I tended to play out adventures in my own head growing up. I taught myself to read and draw and play music and play videogames and write fiction in my spare time, because through those outlets I didn’t feel exposed or out of breath, and eventually people began to talk to me about these things I enjoyed doing. I learnt to get used to other people and talk back, but it’s never been easy. When my mood drops, I hide.
Except I’ve never been able to hide from HH. Soppy as it is, we promised each other that we would always listen if the other had something to say, and even when I’ve tried to reject him he’s stuck by me- I can condemn myself all I want, but I’ve never been able to entirely give up on HH. I’m not sure what that says about either of us. We made a promise, I think because we felt that’s what friends should do, and for my part the conversations we end up having are still something very much worth sticking around for.
It’s easy to think that everyone else has it easier when you’re struggling alone. No one is perfect, and no one has all the answers, no matter how much they might try to convince you. We are just as stupid as everyone else; just as capable, just as endearing, just as easy to break or to trust.
What we decide is what we do with that. For me, I’m trying to live happy again, because I hit a dead end living alone. I’m trying to be W again. Being W worked, mostly.
It’s worth a shot. Stay tuned.