Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mental Health Awareness: Depression.



I remember coming home from school one day when I was about thirteen. As usual I went into the kitchen to talk to my mum. Mum was always quite laid back and calm.
'Mum, I'm depressed' I said

My  mum rounded on me , the ferocity in her voice shook me to my core, this is what she said:

" Don't you dare use that word in this house! Depression is a very serious illness and that is a word you don't ever want to own, don't ever wish such an illness on yourself, that is a dark, lonely, ugly place you never want to visit, it will ruin your life. You can be fed-up, very fed-up, peed off, I don't care but don't ever use the 'D' word with me.'
I had never heard such a tirade from mum before, it was almost surreal.

I have never forgotten that day and indeed I have been 'fed-up' and 'very, very, very fed-up' over the years but mum's words of warning that day have always rushed back into my brain thus keeping depression at bay.

I think it's important that we teach our young people the importance of not 'owning' a feeling. It would have been easy for my mum to take a different, more 'mum like' approach as would probably happen today but I am really glad she reacted like she did.

I have two daughters aged 30 and 27 and they have heard the 'D' word story  many times over the years- such was the impact it had on me.


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Mental Health Awareness. William & Harry.

My parents told me that 'everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing' when they heard of the death of President John F. Kennedy.  


Like a lot of people, I was in bed when I heard the news of the death of Princess Diana. I was so shocked and upset, I remember being glued to the television all day, in a sort of maudlin daze.

I clearly remember the funeral. My family were driving to a wedding. Me, my husband (at the time) and our two young daughters listened to the coverage on the radio. I cried my eyes out all through the journey, but I confess those tears were self-indulgent. I kept thinking of William and Harry and comparing them to my daughters. How would my little girls cope without me? What if that was me? (Horrible, I know but my wrenching tears were as much for me and my 'what if's' as they were for the boys and the Princess and Prince Charles, for whom my grief was also heart-breakingly sad)

I share a July 1st birthday with the late Princess and although I realise a lot of people will dismiss this, we Cancerians are 'the mothers of the zodiac' and are exceptionally loving toward our children, ultra protective, very intuitive , a bit loony but fun and very tactile.

For the boys to have enjoyed this relationship and then to have it severed in such a shocking manner and having to keep a stiff upper lip about it must have been unbearably awful.

They have chosen not only to have shared this personal grief with us but to head a charity in order to support others who are struggling with aspects of their mental health.

I totally applaud them.... and if I could, I would give them both and Kate a huge hug. Well done.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Yin and Yang. UK and US

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The referendum in Britain which has resulted in 'Brexit,' the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump in America has highlighted in no uncertain terms the yawning gap between the elite and the 'ordinary people.'
In the United Kingdom there was a sense of profound shock at the result of the referendum and let's face it, if David Cameron had had any doubts about the result would he have allowed it to go ahead?Yes, it was in the manifesto but we are used to politicians conveniently forgetting promises.
The shock took a while to wear off, there was a lot of indignant bickering and feisty arguments but the bottom line was that the politicians had misread their electorate. I think it's fair to say that the referendum provided a perfect stage on which to protest and maybe a lot of the 'Leave' campaigners used their vote as a protest against the general scheme of things.

I am still protesting.I am using my protest vote to challenge every last detail of Article 50 which I think will be detrimental to Great Britain. I feel passionately that the vote to leave the EU was absolutely the wrong decision.


The shock we felt at our referendum result pales into insignificance compared to the seismic shock waves which are still shaking the American soil. Donald Trump is the President of the US.


The Hopi people use the word 'koyaanisquatsi' to describe how they feel about the modern world- a term which roughly translates as ' a world out of balance,' a world which overuses rationality at the expense of our intuition. We have lost sight of the greater picture- the mystical ' feminine' wisdom.
Yin and Yang out of balance. Rich versus poor. Strong versus weak.  A gulf between those in power and those in the workplace. An attitude of us and them.

 Since the referendum last June the passionate feelings of the Remainers do not seem to be at all diminished. I based my vote to 'remain' on my intuition and thorough research. I feel strongly that in a world which is truly 'out of balance' a world in which the 'leaders' seem to be economical with the truth it will be ever more important that we exercise our intuition as well as our rational thought processes in order to steer are paths toward a more peaceful and harmonious future.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Follow the Dream.

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"I could tell you my adventures- beginning from this morning,' said Alice, a little timidly, ' but it's no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.'
Lewis Carroll.

When Alice disappeared down the rabbit hole, she had one goal in mind, to chase the White Rabbit. While looking for him she was forced to question all of her basic assumptions about reality- and to develop her courage, compassion and humility. She also had a great time.
Her goal wasn't important, it was the journey that mattered. Alice's desire to find the White Rabbit was just an excuse for her adventures in Wonderland.
Everyone needs a White Rabbit. Everyone needs to have dreams which inspire us to reach for the stars, to push through our fears and to explore our potential. When we chase our dreams, we are forever growing and changing, simply because our desire motivates us to keep moving on.
What if Alice had hesitated at the top of the rabbit hole, wondering whether chasing the rabbit was silly or impossible? Or whether there was something more worthy she should be doing? Or whether someone else might be much better at chasing White Rabbits? Whether she was being too unconventional and take up knitting instead? Or whether she should just be satisfied with her life and forget all about the White Rabbit?
If so, Alice would be forgotten by now- and what an adventure she would have missed.
Yet how often do we give ourselves similar excuses for not following our dreams?
We are here to learn, grow and have fun. Life is an adventure in consciousness. By following our hearts we can choose to grow through happiness. There will be many challenges along the way- from Mad Hatters to Mock Turtles- but we can see every event as an opportunity, as part of our adventure.
This doesn't mean that we all have to be wildly adventurous. White Rabbits come in many guises, from setting up a business, to bringing up a child, to committing yourself to a relationship or running a marathon.
All that matters is having the dream and throwing yourself into it. Some people, like Alice, have one White Rabbit which guides much of their life's journey. Others have a whole warren of rabbits leading them down many different holes.
It doesn't matter- all that matters is having a dream.
Think big, think without limits.
And enjoy yourself.

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Emotional Exit.

Even the word is harsh - Brexit- it sounds tough on the tongue, an ugly word, brutal in pronunciation.
A politically emotional word, one that makes me flinch while others preen.
I think of Paris, the Paris of today as well as the Paris of my past, a visit on a school exchange aged 14, a romantic trip with my first real boyfriend, bomb blasts, carnage, heartbreak, tragedy. But I feel these feelings with a sense of love, a sense of comradeship. I think of Portugal and my first paintings inspired by the colours of the cliffs, the freezing sea, the wobbly restaurant attached to a rock face.Sardines on the beach and yellow houses. The quiet of the afternoon, the clanging of church bells.
I find it hard to believe that we are going to turn our backs on something so wonderful. Our friendship and alliance with Europe has brought us so much: sumptuous food, oozing garlic, red wine drunk in pavement cafes, rich aromatic coffee, gingham tablecloths, hams, croissants, pizza.
And then there is fashion, who remembers the dull high streets of the 1970's, Shoefayre being the highlight of a rainy Saturday afternoon.
When I think of Europe I see colour, bright reds, swirling skirts, lipstick on smiling mouths, The emerald green of a silk scarf caught in the breeze, shiny hair in curls, dancing. Happy waiters, surly waiters, petite waitresses standing to attention, fishermen clinging to steep vertical cliffs, eager for a fat fresh fish to take to market.
To me Europe means art, fashion, food and wine. sunshine and sea. Glamour.

I dearly hope our European neighbours will continue to open their doors and their hearts to us brutal Brits who have rudely dismissed the hospitality offered by our cousins abroad.


@artycelia