Guest Post by Fryn Lane – BPD & Creativity

Recently I’ve decided to feature some guests here on my blog to showcase some other people’s troubles with mental health. Here we have Fryn Lane who talks about having EUPD/BPD, and how she uses creativity as a way of managing it. Please check out her blog by clicking here.

fryn

Hi, I’m Fryn, I’m 22 years old and I have recurrent depression as a result of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, also known as Borderline Personality Disorder. This has quite a big impact on my daily functioning; my feelings are very intense. Relationships with me can be intense at times no matter how hard I try to curtail it. My boyfriend Joe has his own mental health problems (we click because we have good mutual understanding and empathy) and it is very tricky to manage our individual problems alongside supporting one another. I also have extreme self-loathing, and a constant stream of self-critical thoughts narrating my every day.

One of the key ways I cope with my mental illness is through creativity. I am currently recovering from a depressive episode that hit back in November 2014. It’s been a long time, and keeping me as sane as possible have been my many creative outlets. When, in November, my depression was at its worst, I could not function. I could not think, I could not cope. At this point, I was not creative. I went into Hobbycraft, my favourite shop, to find a new project. For the first time, nothing inspired me, I felt broken. Where was the creative spark I relied upon to get me through? I left the shop in tears.

It was not until a few months later, as the depression was beginning to lift, that my creative ‘spark’, or energy, came back. My creativity is a huge part of my identity and helps me define who I am in my murky sea of moving goalposts and slipping standards. I love being creative, and with a diagnosis of EUPD, with my intense emotions I have a lot of feeling to pour into what I create. I need to feel something strongly in order to create, and the EUPD helps with that! I only ever feel things strongly!

What I do creatively really varies. I go through phases and bore easily so what you see me working on one week will not be the same as what I work on the week after. I paint, I crochet, I design and sew cross stitch, I bake, I cook new things, I draw, I colour, I make things with clay, I build things and I make a mess. I get stuck in, I rip up paper for collages, I use pastels, paint, pencils, felt tips, I write I craft I create. It varies based on my mood, I never plan my future creations, and as I say I go through phases. I’m no real artist; perhaps it is my low self-esteem talking but I often make something and then wish to destroy it straight away. I often detest what I have created, but equally sometimes I feel I have created something truly beautiful.

My favourite at the moment is colouring in (the adult colouring book craze that’s hit the UK is amazing! Seriously, there are so many designs and books to choose from, it’s brilliant!) I often get frustrated with my own drawing inability, so to colour a pre-drawn design feels really therapeutic. It’s great for mindfulness, and you can really express your emotions through the colours you choose. I have stuck all my pictures on my wall to cheer me up; the images I coloured when more depressed used darker, foreboding colours yet my more recent stuff is multi coloured and fun – It’s a visual log of my progress in escaping this depressive episode. And it’s great to pick up and do when I feel a bit stressed out.

I have also been making clay figures that express my emotions from air drying clay. The process of mixing paints and decorating the models, as well as squishing the clay in my fingers is really calming. I can be making models for hours and not notice the time passing. Which is great; because I’m not able to work at the moment being creative keeps my mind active. Someday perhaps when I am better and more able I hope to embark on a creative career, too. My creativity comes hand in hand with my mental illness, and I’d never manage without the release for my emotions and the structure it provides for my day.

Free Hand, Sheffield

Today I interviewed Charly from Free Hand in Sheffield. Free Hand offers creative workshops for people struggling with anxiety and depression, as a way to help them express themselves. It’s an amazing organisation and honestly the more I’ve got to know the woman behind it, the more I want it to succeed! Regardless of where you are in the world, I would highly recommend you check out Free Hand’s blog, twitter and facebook page.

You can find the full interview below.

11020836_596937893780596_1527846450869058493_n

Ok so firstly, the dreaded question nobody likes (sorry!), tell me a little bit about you. Why did Free Hand start and where did the idea come from?
I’m Charly, I’m 27 and have lived with depression since my teens. I started the journey towards this I guess by studying A levels in subjects I didn’t really like, just because I had no idea what I was going to do with my life at 16. After a year of doing something I didn’t like a friend suggested fashion. I joined the course and fell in love, I went on to study photography and then did a degree in fashion. After I finished my degree I started to have panic attacks, while doing my MA. The creative process really helped me to work through a lot of stuff and find my confidence again. I set up my own label but after nearly two years of running it I realised it wasn’t making me happy anymore so I started to think about what I really wanted to do and that was to create a supportive community for people living with depression and anxiety. Art had always been a help to me so I believed I could use what I had learned to help other people. Wow long answer!

Good answer though – you’re like my soul sister, I love it haha! Do you think the sessions really do help people then? Have you had good feedback about them?
Yay! I do! I’ve gotten good feedback but I’m always looking for different things to do and ways to improve the workshops. It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day things and not make times for activities that are really good for your mental health. Much like exercise actually, I think creativity no matter what skill level is just as important. Even if you don’t feel like it just coming and playing around with ideas can turn a bad day into a good one.

quotesm

I couldn’t agree more – all anyone has to do when I’m having a bad day is put a paintbrush in my hand and I’m golden! It must be such a nice feeling for you as well to know that you’re doing something that can help someone else feel good even if just for a moment. Do you think it’s helped your anxiety and depression to a certain extent as well?
Yea, I was going to say it really helps me, it makes me stay motivated and creative. I love it when Wednesday rolls around I’m just excited about sharing and meeting people.

1

It’s nice that you’re so enthusiastic still after six months of doing it. It just shows that you made the right decision when you decided to do it in the first place. It does sound like a lot of work though, especially if you’re always seeking ways of improving the workshops. Is it just you that runs them or is there a team of you?
Haha, it is quite a lot of work I want to do the best I can! It’s just me but I collab with Designing Out Suicide every 6 weeks so that is really nice; I’m always looking to get people with different skills in to co run a workshop. I have amazing supportive friends that help out but sometimes it is a lot, but I love what I do so it mostly gives me energy!

2

Did I see that you come with themes and stuff for the workshops too? I think I saw something about masks – that sounds like a great way of firstly creating even more work for yourself haha, but secondly keeps it interesting and different for the people who turn up.
Well, when I first started I just had a few activity ideas and art supplies. I thought people could just work on whatever they wanted! This turned out to be a bit over-facing so the themes make it more approachable, and the option to free style is alway there.

photos

Oh ok I see what you mean, it’s a bit daunting being told you can do anything you like sometimes without anybody giving you any ideas! Do you have any cool projects or themes lined up then?
Nothing set in stone, but I’m hoping to get an exhibition of works together that’s a snapshot of mental health. I’ve also been talking to people involved in an environmental project about doing a photography trip there. I’d also love to go back and further explore escapism as a theme.

3

It all sounds really exciting – I’ll be definitely keeping track of your journey. If you could sum up Free Hand in three words, what would they be?
Supportive, creative and judgement free!

Just one last question and I’m done! Do you regret any of it? If you could back to the beginning and focus on the fashion instead, would you?
No, everything that has happened has resulted in who I am and that door is always open.

Please click on the links below to be taken to Charly’s social media pages and if you’re in or around Sheffield – go and check Free Hand out!
www.freehandcreative.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/freehandsheffield?fref=ts
www.twitter.com/FreeHandSheff/

Bye wedding dress! Hello cushion!

So this July, mum and her husband have been married for three years. And for three whole years since, her wedding dress has been hanging on the curtain pole in her bedroom (because it won’t fit in her wardrobe!), collecting dust and getting in the way.

It was never going to be used again and I think in all honesty she just got tired of looking at it openly taking up so much of her bedroom. So last night, we decided to get creative and search the internet for creative ways to upcycle a wedding dress.

Unfortunately, Pinterest (for the first time ever!) didn’t help me out. There was an array of gorgeous Christening dresses that had been made, but we don’t have a baby – and anyone that knows me and my mother will know that we just do. Nobody’s got time to research and plan an upcycle!

So we swiftly gave up, grabbed an old cushion and a pair of scissors and there was no looking back! What we made I think looks really cool, keeps the integrity of the dress, is a lot more room saving and it makes a perfect addition to her bed.

What do you think??

20150405_111149

267670_10150251955357149_1195132_n

My brother, mumma and me looking very blonde!

lovelauren

Day 20: How do you usually express yourself?

31 Days of BPD

Through anything creative. I am a sucker for anything that can be made to look pretty. I love art. I love design. I love turning a blank piece of paper into something special, or a thrown out piece of rubbish into something gorgeous. I love how powerful words can be; how amazing a room can look. I love colour, I love black and white and I love gold. I love anything that hangs from the ceiling.

I love anything where you can visually express yourself.

art etc

It allows me to feel free and it allows me to feel like something good is coming out of all the negativity in my life. So often it’s all about feeling rubbish, but when I pick up a pencil or a paint brush, or look at an event space to design – everything comes together.

That’s the reason I thought about this year’s upcoming Mental Health Art Auction. There are so many people that suffer like myself, but that all have one thing in common – the creative flair that comes with the madness. So why not channel all that talent and goodness into something epic, that can raise lots of money and awareness.

If you’d like to take part, I’d be more than thankful and honoured to have you join the fight.
https://bylaurenhayley.wordpress.com/the-mental-health-art-auction/

lovelauren

Ted always delivers… my crafts

20150108_205155So I’ve found a use for my massive Ted Baker box that my new handbag came in. I really didn’t want to throw it out because it’s so much card and it’s a beautiful purple and green that I really like, so I blogged about it the other day trying to find some inspiration!

Anyway, my arts and crafts stuff was in the smallest box and it’s been overflowing for quite some time, so I’ve decided to use my lovely Ted box to sort it all out. It’s going to be so much easier to find what I need now! Here’s a little sneak peek at what’s inside:

  • Glue gun set – Because there’s so many things to glue.
  • Mason jars – Because there’s so many things you can do with them!
  • Acrylic paints – My favourite style of paint for bright, impactful colours.
  • Watercolour paints – Gorgeous for softer-style paintings
  • Pencils – Every type for every type of sketch.
  • Ribbons – In lots of colours!
  • Paper – For each different type of paint.
  • Crayons – Because sometimes I like to pretend I’m a child.
  • Felt-Tip pens – Because sometimes I still like to pretend I’m a child.
  • Modge Podge – The best sealant for crafts.
  • Paint brushes –
  • Glue sticks – That I never use because the glue gun’s too much fun.
  • Crystals – Every girl loves sparkle.
  • Sequins – Because why not?!
  • Sharpies – Because they should be a staple in every single thing you should do.

What to make next?

lovelauren

Any craft ideas?

20150107_181353

20150107_181414

23 inches wide, 13 inches deep,  7 inches tall

So when my beautiful Ted Baker handbag arrived earlier, it came in this box which I love. The bright green and purple are absolutely gorgeous and it just kills me to throw it away. But here’s the thing – It’s massive. Like ridiculously huge. So I can’t just store it away in a cupboard waiting for something to do with it.

Therefore, I’m in desperate need for suggestions please, creative people of the blog-osphere! Things to put in it, things to make it into… what ever. I don’t mind keeping it exactly it is or cutting it up into little pieces. I just don’t want to throw it away because the colours are gorgeous.

Get your thinking hats on and let me know!

lovelauren

Hobbycraft.

Hobbycraft is literally my favourite place in the world. You find the need when you walk in there to buy things you never knew you wanted. Like sticky-back felt. And paper mache animals.

As I’m sure you’re all aware, anything creative or pretty – or anything that you can make yourself gets me excited.

Anyway, I have a few upcycling and DIY projects that I want to complete soon, so I’ve just purchased a lovely random mix of Hobbycraft goodies. I bet you’ll never guess what they’re for!

  • A glue gun kit
  • Gold, silver and bronze Sharpies
  • Some Modge Podge
  • A glass cube vase
  • Some gold lid mason jars
  • Some red satin ribbon

And best of all, because of the fabulous thing that is the internet, I purchased all of that whilst looking like this…

mm
Got to love a lazy day! 

Photos of my creations will be up soon.

love lauren x

Calling all bloggers…

Hi there,

For those of you that have just stumbled across my blog by accident and don’t know me – I’m Lauren. I’m 23, I live in the UK and have Borderline Personality Disorder, Cyclothymia and severe anxiety. You can find out more about me here.

The one positive that comes out of all the pain I’ve suffered, is the creativity. My ability to create art and to design allows me a short time of freedom from my mind. It allows me to take a break from myself. Which is priceless.

But the things that I create are not.

I want to create a piece of art that encompasses how people really feel about mental health. The struggles and the positives. And then, I want to auction off this art and gives the proceeds to charity.

help

I want to gather as many bloggers as possible working together for this cause for one month later this year. The more bloggers that can come together, the more money and awareness that can be raised. This is what I will need:

  • For you to write a post about why you are apart of this cause. Do you suffer? Do you know someone else that does? Or do you just want to help because you’re an awesome person?
  • What does mental health mean to you? Sum it up in a few words.
  • A series of promotional posts for the art that will be auctioned.
  • Sharing your posts wherever possible. On social media, other blogs, charity pages etc.
  • Any suggestions/pieces of art from yourselves to make this project as big and brilliant as possible.

Every blogger that joins the fight will receive a members badge to feature on their blog showing the world that they were apart of this, and the satisfaction that you were involved in something massive. Your blog posts will also be shared throughout the month and everyone that takes part will be mentioned on my blog to spread awareness for your individual voices. 

Comment below if you’re in!

The Events Degree

Now this tweet from Kirstie Allsopp did come a while ago and with it came many people in both agreeance and disbelief at her sheer ignorance for the subject. Anyway, I think it’s time I took Allsopp on and fought back for the industry I’m basing my future career around.

ka

I study Events Management at Leeds Beckett, formerly Leeds Metropolitan University. It’s the UK Centre and we’re fortunate to have lecturers with both amazing practical experience and high academia. Everyone is fully aware that it’s a controversial subject on whether or not it’s needed or useful, and it’s definitely up there with what people consider Mickey Mouse.

People think Events Management is all about planning parties. Well, ignorant people do. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In my 2 and a half years studying so far, I have not heard the word ‘party’ used once. In a single lecture, seminar or casual conversation.

We effectively study a Business Management degree – but with an angle that you are running an events business. We learn the fundamentals of UK law, regulations, accounting, business management – and yes, a bit of creativity.

I’m not saying the average person can’t throw a party. Of course they can. You don’t need any qualifications for that. Just like you don’t to plan a wedding. People with absolutely no organisational skills or any understanding of the law do that every single day all by themselves without the help of a professional. But people don’t enter into this degree wanting to be party planners or wedding planners. We want to be conference managers, run international exhibitions, manage festivals, music events, sporting events – The Olympics.

It’s slightly different.

It’s the difference between planning something for 200 people that you probably know quite well, to being responsible for 80,000 strangers in a stadium who have all paid £60 each to both be entertained and safe.

Human error is always going to happen and things beyond our control are always going to happen – therefore inevitably, things that cause crises are always going to happen. However, we’re trained to put everything in place to prevent these occurrences. To prevent the next Hillsborough disaster which took the lives of 96 people, and the Brazil nightclub fire which took the lives of 233.

We learn the rules of capacity and what is a safe number of people to have in one venue. We learn the rules on fireworks and pyrotechnics. We learn many health and safety rules relating to events and venue management, and the laws surrounding them in quite some detail.

We learn these things so that hopefully these dreadful disasters don’t repeat themselves.

We learn these things so that people like Kirstie Allsopp can walk into the National Television Awards and feel comfortable and safe in the knowing that she will come out alive. She feels entertained and everything runs to time.

It’s supposed to feel effortless. It’s supposed to feel calm for the attendees. But without a doubt the entire events team are running round like headless chickens back stage. And the people that have been in the business for twenty years probably have worked their way up into that role, but the assistants on large scale events and the newly emerging talent which are going to take on the entertainment and business world in a matter of a few years, are all educated and trained in that profession.

Yes, it might be Mickey Mouse. But as a teacher once said to me, the company that made Mickey Mouse made a hell of a lot of money.

love lauren x