Hello, can you tell the readers about yourself?
I’m a graphic designer and wall painter, comedy lover and cyclist. Before moving to London I lived in the mountains for 6 years and I still try and spend as much of my time outside as possible.
What are your own experiences with Mental Health?
I don’t think I have suffered serious depression though I’ve had periods of feeling very low, hopeless and disconnected from my life.
How has Survival Techniques helped you with your recovery?
It began as a list of things I made for myself to remind me what to do when I was feeling really low; things that always made me feel a bit better. They were always super simple things like ‘talk to someone, anyone, about anything’ which came from me chatting to the guy in my local shop for just a few minutes. I started to realise that I would leave the shop feeling much more a part of the world again.
Do you think there is a stigma towards Mental Health?
Definitely. I still find it hard to admit that I’m sometimes feeling terrible, though I’ve got so much better at it. Just telling a friend about the Survival Techniques list in my notebook felt like a bold step, but every time I’ve opened myself up and been honest about how I’m feeling the response has always been positive, and is often followed by the other person telling me about their own mental health experiences.
How do you look after your Well-being?
Things on my list of Survival Techniques include getting out of the house, chatting to people, spending time in a park and doing some exercise. I also listen to lectures by Alan Watts, which gives me the feeling that I’m both an integral part of the world but also insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It’s a balance that makes me feel like I can just get on with life, being myself and doing my thing.
What projects do you have coming up?
I’m hoping to run a collaborative workshop with a poet in a school, introducing the idea of Survival Techniques, encouraging the children to make their own lists and poems about what makes them feel good, and culminating in a mural.
Do you think Creativity can be a great tool to explore suffering and relieve Mental Health Illness?
I think we need new ways of exploring and dealing with mental health and creativity is the necessary starting place for that.
Has Creativity ever helped you through a difficult time?
Transforming Survival Techniques from a list in my notebook to large scale paintings existing out in the world has really helped me to be more open and be more authentic to myself, which has definitely made me feel like a happier person. Each time I’ve painted a wall, the words I’ve put there have become permanently settled in my thoughts, encouraging me to live by their message.
What do you think managers can do in the workplace to enhance people’s day to de-stress?
I think taking breaks from work is really important, but so many people feel they don’t have the time to even take a lunch break and will eat at their desk. Perhaps if companies fostered a culture of making lunch a regular period of stopping work and socializing with colleagues the workplace would be a much happier and connected place.
What would you say to someone who is suffering from anxiety or depression?
I understand how awful you’re feeling and how debilitating it can be.
Thank you so much Naomi!