Mental Health can be a b*tch!


I’m just back from a lovely holiday, a couple of weeks of completely switching off from work. First time in years, and much needed! Lots of time for relaxing and reflection; sometimes we don’t allow enough time in our busy lives to just sit and do nothing. It’s not lazy, it’s needed to allow your mind to repair.

This is a slightly risky post. It’s not something that usually gets spoken about, especially as colleagues and clients will see it. But more and more of us are talking, it’s hugely important to do so and I thought it was probably my turn. #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek was last week so it seemed like a ‘safe’ opportunity.

Let’s face it, being a creative or a freelancer who is creating and running a small business.. it’s tough. There’s so much pressure to succeed and we are constantly bombarded with stories and social media clips on how well everyone else is doing. The reality for many of us is that it is really, really hard! Not just the business of ‘being in business’ but on the impact that it has on our mental health too.

Most of the time we feel like we’re alone and not doing the right thing!

While some of these feelings are standard for anyone trying to set up something new, for some of us it runs deeper; feelings of despair, anxiety or depression.. these negatively impact what is already a challenge in a dramatic way.

My name is Rob. I run a small Design Sprint and Branding studio. We host meet-ups locally, and many of you may have met me in the area, or at one of our meet ups. I am an expert in pretending everything is ok! In reality, I fight a daily battle to get out of bed and into the studio. I am anxious about meeting new people. I constantly worry about whether I am doing the right thing and if I am good enough to succeed, and I dip into periods of paralysing inactivity that can be hard to break out of.

The beginning of 2019 was particularly dark, I’d been running from it for years and it eventually caught up with me! To be honest, I am lucky to have made it out. But here I am. Ready for another day :)

At the moment, it’s a good patch. I’m getting loads done; spending time with family, exercising, making new connections and reconnecting with old ones. I am learning not to be too hard on myself, not to compare myself to other people and I am taking it one day at a time.

Reading stories from others and hearing comments, I know I’m not the only one with these struggles, so I thought it would be worth being honest about it and trying to work with other people so we can all support each other.

Here’s my first step. As part of our studio, we’ve set up community and social initiatives. Our meet-up was our first and this is the next..

Mind Jam — Using elements of the design sprint, this will be an interactive workshop for creatives & business owners; centred around acknowledging & supporting those with mental health issues and setting up a safe environment where we can all work on it together.

As the lovely folks @sanctus say “we all have mental health”. Let’s be honest about it and work on it together.

Always happy to connect, chat, meet for a coffee and share stories.

Rob :)

#designsprint #mentalhealth #business #wellness #mindjam #design ##MHAW2019