To keep up to date with the poster series, keep an eye on the Facebook event page.
Etsy: Merry Notes Designs
Just because you cannot see mental health like you can a broken leg or a physical disability, does not mean that it isn’t there. In Britain, about a quarter of the population suffer from mental health problems. I, myself, have suffered form varying forms of anxiety and depression throughout my life so know first-hand how difficult and degenerating these disorders can be. In September 2014, I opened an online poster shop on etsy.com and now I am happy to say that I have used my self-learnt poster-making skills to design and create something that will help raise awareness for mental health. This poster is aimed at helping people with mental health problems realise that they are not alone. I know that is hard to believe sometimes, but there are so many people like me and you that have experienced similar problems and hundreds have devoted their lives to helping, whether through counselling, charity work, and more. If you are struggling at university, take my advice and tell someone. There are people who can help, use them.
Website: Megan’s Art Space
A negative feeling, one hopes this is fleeting. These negative feelings have at times taken me to a place where I never want to go. I have been learning to channel this into my art as a way of dealing with it. I have created process drawings which deal with these feelings of anxiety and help me regain control and clarity. I use repetitive mark making as a way of regaining order and familiarity. This could be interpreted as a kind of ritual as a lot of the time I am lost for words with how to explain to people how I feel so I turn to my practice to channel this. I lose myself in this process of repetitive mark making to remind myself that these feelings are temporary. These drawings also resemble a period in time as each mark can be seen by the viewer. I hope that these pieces of work give people more of a insight into the meaning of mark-making and repetition within work. My work also deals with the idea of containing marks within shapes as a way of organising these chaotic feelings. A common theme being a circle as this resembles the idea of completion. However it has multiple meanings of which includes life and the idea of peace.
My influences come from the outside environment, the patterns and repetitive marks found on trees, stones and the shapes within the landscape. I try and recreate these patterns through texture, colour and mark-making.
The question of “normality” is one that plagues us every day. Striving for an incomprehensible and unreachable ideal of the perfectly flawed “normal” human being is a futile aim. The poisonous thoughts that cloud my brain and showers of doubt that affect my judgement make me frustrated, the hatred that bubbles up inside me spills over and soaks the people I love. Concentrating on work, passions, loved ones, becomes impossible. Reaching a point so low I never thought it existed, I chose to try. Mental illness is not a choice, but recovery is. Admitting the feelings that push you down is the first step toward pushing them away. Separating the mind and the mental illness is vital; I am not defined by my mental illness. Now I strive not to be “normal”, but to be the best version of myself. Acknowledge those feelings, draw all over textbooks and journals, expressing yourself and your feelings any way you can. I matter, you matter, mental health matters.
The idea is that there isn’t just one thing. When you look around, you will notice that there is never just one thing. A lot of the time I feel anxious or paranoid based on my fear of how I talk or look to people. There can be days when I feel like everyone else feels and thinks completely differently to me and I wonder if it is because I am not ‘normal’. I realised how helpful and reassuring it can be to talk to people to realise that it is not just me but rather it is an element of being human. People can feel anxious at times because they feel judged, isolated or ‘different’ and that can result in overthinking and stress. It is important to remember that we are never alone and that we all have our own beautiful individuality because being different is part of being human. Be proud and have faith in who you are. Take notice of how you feel and what colour you would express your thoughts and feelings with each day. If you feel that you want to talk to someone or have someone there to help with how you feel or just anything there is always someone there. These links are just some of the many people that are out there who you can talk to about anything. We all experience different levels of emotion and thoughts. That’s ok! But remember you don’t have to deal with anything alone; speak to someone, there is always someone there to help and remind us that it is just part of who we all are. Let’s look out for one another and try to understand the beauty of our differences.
Everything in life boils down to maths and science, at least in my mind. When things begin to get too hectic, it has always been a great help to me to just sit down and think about why things are the way they are. Chemical reactions and hormones within your body can lead to an abundance of emotions, and yes that means you can’t stop it from happening, but understanding that it won’t last forever is important. As a science student I feel a great societal pressure to perform well in my studies. I meet people all the time who say to me “You study physics? You must be really intelligent!”. When I begin to feel stressed and anxious, it’s these words and feelings that resurface and have the strongest affect on me – what if I’m not intelligent enough to be a scientist? But it’s these ties to science that keep me on track. My mental health has played a huge part in my degree progress, and has been a constant barrier to battle against. Some days it has been the very thing that has made me want to give up, but it also serves as a constant reminder that I am better and stronger than I give myself credit for, and I am more than the chemicals in my brain.
Facebook: Mental Health Group UKC
Mental health is an increasingly common issue amongst young people, with over a quarter of us here at university experiencing a mental health problem each year. Being away from home and in a stressful environment in which we are constantly faced with deadlines can mean we often feel we are overwhelmed with everything that is going on. The Mental Health Group was established here at UKC last year in order to raise awareness of the issues that us students face with our mental health on campus, and to participate in events that highlight the importance of access to help that is available at University to those who may otherwise feel they have nowhere to turn.