Madness, Sparkle and Creative Flair, By Lauren Hayley

Last week, I spoke about the importance of mental health awareness. Not all mental health issues are visible to even those closest to you. It’s something society has ostracised so that it’s seen as a weakness; it’s been looked down upon, so much so those affected are either weak or a danger to society.

Instead of shying away from talking about other’s weaknesses, we should recognise that we all have strengths and weaknesses. Some of us reach a point where being strong for too long means you’ve got no more strength to give. Why would anyone want to put their hearts on their sleeves and tell the world they’ve suffered through mental health issues when most of society’s reaction to those with learning/physical disabilities are so negative?

It should be recognised that everyone reaches that point at some time in their life where we feel like we’re overwhelmed with events in our lives, circumstances and other struggles. Some have had it harder than others, some had to be strong for too long on their own, but it does not make us weak. A friend and colleague once told me that I was such a strong, decisive and independent woman, that I didn’t seem like a romantic at heart. How much do you really know someone if there are parts of their life they don’t share?

I’m pleased to have found Lauren from blog By Lauren Hayley who shares my passion about raising awareness for mental health and in supporting those who experience moments of weakness (mental health issues aside) and I’ve invited her to share her own experiences and her current project of which I’m proud to sign up for.

When the fabulous and talented Michelle first asked me to write this post for her blog, I was thrilled. This is the first guest post I’ve ever written and what better blog to do it on than DIY Shopaholic. Michelle has a creative eye that I love, and I try to put that same creativity into everything that I create.

So I guess you want to know a bit about me. Who’s this person that’s invaded their way onto your Reader newsfeed? I feel like U2 invading their way onto your iTunes involuntarily and soon I’m going to have to do a Bono-style apology.

But here I am nevertheless – I’m Lauren and you’ll find me on By Lauren Hayley. I’m incredibly passionate about spreading awareness of mental health disorders, as well as looking at creative ways to make life easier for us that suffer; drawing something positive from all the pain.

I paint, I draw, I upcycle, recycle, make, design, adapt – and I obviously write. Being creative is the only thing in the world that I can do that stops my brain from doing circles. It stops my mind from feeling frustrated, anxious, manic and irrational and it stops me from feeling sad that these are the cards that I’ve been dealt with. It gives me hope that I can do some good, and that things may hopefully get better in the future.


Hope (2014), By Lauren Hayley

I’m diagnosed with both Borderline Personality Disorder and Cyclothymia, as well as suffering with anxiety which is currently taking its form in Agoraphobia. It’s a very random and complex mix of mental illnesses and unfortunately they’re also probably some of the most misunderstood disorders that there are. Whilst I don’t wish to patronise (and believe me I would be cringing if I was!), I think it’s time people understand a bit more – and whether or not I’m right, I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do – educate and spread the word.

I want people to know that it’s OK to suffer. It’s OK to have horrible days where you feel like the world’s caving in around you. But it’s also OK to want a better life, and finding something that can take your mind somewhere else is the first step to achieving that.

For me that’s art. For a lot of people that’s art.

And this is why The Mental Health Art Auction has been created. If you’re still reading, thank you because I know I talk a lot, but please let me hold your attention for just one more minute. Over 50 bloggers have now got on board with the auction to spread awareness, fight stigma and hopefully raise as much money for mental health charities as possible – whilst also showcasing their creative side.

Michelle is one of these admirable 50 people, but I still need as many of you as possible to join us. You don’t need to be a mental health blogger or suffer yourself – you just need to have a blog and want to make a difference to the world. If you’re interested, I would love to have you.

Thank you for having me, it’s been a pleasure – make sure to check out my blog!

To find out more about Lauren’s project, The Mental Health Art Auction, click here.

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