I am having something of a renaissance at the moment. 2013 has provided me with much revisiting my past, and much to be happy about; first the cover of Iain R Webb's fabulous book, As seen in BLITZ – Fashioning ‘80s Style, and now my photograph is the "key identity", as they call it, of the Club to Catwalk exhibition at the V&A Museum. It's all very exciting.
Whilst I've been enjoying all the associated goings-on I haven't been able to experience the full excitement, because through it all I have been walking the black dog. According to statistics depression affects one in four in the UK and it is my experience that creative types are very often in this number. It's something I have been managing for a good number of years, and I've become pretty good at it, feeling and recognising when I'm going downhill.
And so it was that in the middle of June events at my job, or HellFarm as some call it, finally pushed me over the edge of the precipice I have been surfing for the last two years. Last May things came to a head and my GP signed me off work for a month. The time away coupled with support counselling was helpful and I returned with renewed optimism. It was short lived. I surfed the wave of bullying for another year, keeping in mind that I haven't done anything wrong, knowing that I deliver an excellent course and receive excellent feedback, which in turn generates a great deal of income to this charitable organisation in funding from the local Council. Two years of being constantly picked on, sniped at, undermined, set up for failure, overworked, underpaid and generally bullied by your manager isn't easy. When the Chairman of the Board avidly joins in, ably supported by an uninterested Board of Trustees who prefer to turn a blind eye and do nothing or intentionally cover up wrongdoing rather than ensure the charity is run correctly, it's only a matter of time before things become unbearably difficult to cope with.
There were three HellFarm incidents in very close succession that sent me black dog walking in June. For the first 10 days or so I could barely get out of bed and when I did manage it I sat and stared out of the window for hours on end. In retrospect I realised how lucky I was that the flowers in my garden looked like a beautiful impressionist painting at that time. At least there was something inspirational to stare mindlessly at. My GP signed me off work, or more poignantly, signed me off from this particular job for it is abundantly clear that the source of my depression is the way I am treated at HellFarm.
|The view in June|
|Californian Poppies never fail to lift the spirits|
|Like a beautiful impressionist painting...|
It's a time of great extremes. On one side there is huge celebration and appreciation of who I am and on the other there is deep disrespect. I'm rebalancing myself, my life, my emotions and most importantly my health, for the stress of it all has impacted on my physical health too. I could certainly do without having a stroke. And it’s not all bad – the celebration and appreciation side of it has no doubt saved me, lifting me out of the lows on huge waves of delight.
What happens next? Who knows - only time will tell.
Writing this has been personal and self-indulgent. If you've managed to read to the end I thank you. I've been unable to post anything for a while, but as I continue to rebalance and renew I'm hoping my block will lift. Certainly there is much to share on here.