From creating to survive, to creating to thrive

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

My Story so far...

Photo by Hello I'm Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

When the world turns upside down

Like many people, anxiety and depression has been a feature of my life for as long as I can remember, and was a big part of why I became a Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) Nurse

Back in 2018 life was going great; I had a career I was really passionate about, a great group of friends and big plans for the future. I had learned how to be the boss of my depression, rather than depression being the boss of me

And then I experienced a severe period of depression, that I just couldn’t shake. All the techniques and treatments that have worked for me before, had no effect.

Until suddenly, after around 6 months of depression, the fog lifted and overnight I felt better. The contrast couldn’t have been starker and I felt great!

Until I started to feel too good; I would later be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, and because of the symptoms I was experiencing I wasn’t able to work anymore and had to move back to my parents to be looked after. Being a nurse means I’m used to being the person who looks after people, so being the one who needed looking after did not come easily

As anyone who has experienced mental illness will know, it can be a bleak and scary place to be

And yes, nurses really do make the worst patients!

Creating My Way Through Mental Health Illness

I’ve always enjoyed creative hobbies as a way to relax and wind down from the stress of life; during this period of depression some days it was the only thing I could do. Even on days when I couldn’t get up and dressed, and making something healthy to eat was too much to contemplate, I could always turn to colouring books

The beautiful magical worlds that Johanna Basford creates in her colouring books are out of this world. I spent so long colouring-in her books that I lost sensation in my thumb for a while (apparently this is common for us hardcore colouring-in fanatics!)

As the fog began to lift and I started at long last to feel more like myself I was lucky enough to be offered a place on a 6 week art course in the local area, for people recovering from mental health problems

For a while it was the only thing that got me out of the house (other than doctors appointments, which weren't nearly as much fun!)

It gave me purpose to my days, and a sense of achievement I hadn’t felt in many months. It gave me the confidence to show my artwork to other people (I still cringe at this sometimes). I couldn’t get enough of creating!

I couldn’t be an artist….could I?

Life sends your curveballs from time to time, and you can either fight it or roll with the punches. I started to wonder if, maybe, this mental health crisis was my mind's way of telling me to make some life changes. There was only one way to find out...

Background Photo by Andreas Strandman on Unsplash

So in 2020 I made the huge decision to really focus on my own well-being, and despite not having an art degree and not really knowing what I was doing I decided I was going to be an artist

Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith, and create your own path

Sharing the joy of the creative everyday

So here I am, putting myself and my artwork out into with the world, and I’d love for you lovely folks to follow along with my journey and share in the joy of creativity

Sign up to my monthly newsletter to hear about the latest blog posts, where I’ll be sharing my knowledge, tips and tricks for great mental wellbeing and activities to spark your own creative joy

And of course you’ll be the first to know my latest projects and creative endeavours, as well as sneaky peaks behind the scenes in my studio (aka mum’s spare room!) and freebies that aren’t to be missed!

Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash

Get Creative This Christmas

Courtesy of Johanna Basford's Inky Art School- check it out here

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