Friday, 12 April 2013

Crooked Beauty

For the most part things on this blog are kept pretty light hearted. There's more than enough doom and gloom, and sometimes down right nastiness on the internet, and I'm a firm believer in the need to keep things positive in what is my own personal space on the internet.

Sometimes though, I like to break my own rules. The lovely Wooolly Wormhead posted this video on her blog, and while I watched it this morning it really struck a cord.

It's a trailer for a film called Crooked Beauty which explores mental health and living a life outside the social norm.
Now before anyone gets any worried ideas, I have never experienced abuse, my own mental health issues were definitely on the lesser degree of the spectrum of mental health problems, but there are things in this video that I can definitely relate to.

Three years ago I was just leaving my job as a teacher. I went to university, did a degree in Biology and loved it. I knew I didn't want to continue in academia so did a PGCE because it seemed like the right choice. I qualified as a teacher, got a job in a school I loved, with colleagues I enjoyed working with, but it was only a temporary post. My next job wasn't such a good fit, I hated the atmosphere, was bullied by the headteacher and her team of senior management, and ended up being signed of work with stress and anxiety.
I got help, and made a plan, mostly involving going back to teaching, because I thought I wanted to beat the demons that had developed. Turns out that was the wrong choice. My next job was with people I loved working with, but in the end I realised that this wasn't the path I wanted to go down for the rest of my life. I loved the teaching part, but there's far more to being a teacher than that. I'd never had any real career ambitions, I'd always viewed it as a job I enjoyed (and was good at), that paid reasonably well, and gave me enough time off to indulge in my hobbies and other passions. When I stopped having time to do those other things then part of my reason for choosing this career path disappeared. I could feel myself slipping back in to a very unhappy place mentally speaking, and decided that enough was enough.

I moved a couple of hundred miles away, gave up my job, (my boyfriend), and ended up living in my parents spare room. I then had to decide what to do next, but knew that it needed to be something different. I have a friend with a wheat allergy, if she eats it her arthritis flares up along with other health issues. So she avoids eating wheat. My situation is no different, a mainstream job makes my mental health issues flare up, so I chose a different path.
As a society our attitude towards mental health problems is to medicate it, and go to therapy about it. Sometimes though you have to get to the root cause of a problem. Our brains don't all work in the same way, and for some of us choosing an alternative way of living, and earning a crust is a part of living healthily.


  1. I too am trying to take an alternative path because I've never felt particularly comfortable with the mainstream, so this was a really interesting post to read, thank you.

  2. Thank you. As someone who lives with mental health differences - they are really only an issue to others who tend to carry little boxes and labels around ready to pounce:0)
    I have lived on the edges of 'normal' society for most of my nearly 60 years and thus I am still alive and a creative human being. In situations that try to squeeze me in to a small box or pin a label to me I really find my self being inch by inch destroyed. Because of physical - medical things I have had much involvement with NHS etc but had huge support from my Mum when I was young to embrace the whole of me, audio and visual 'hallucinations' and all, because that's, as she put it, all part of the laughing dancing thinking you. I was so lucky as by my late teens I could so easily have found myself on a locked ward in one of the faceless institutions that abounded then. Instead my slightly 'whacky' take on life and living evolved to support and build rather than negate and destroy my self.
    May your journey continue with good sense of your self and great eye for colour and texture:0)