Every day we start in the studio with a morning meeting. This is mainly so that we can go through the 'menu' of production for the day and find a way to join in. It is also a chance for us to check in, and sometimes it leads to interesting conversations.
People often say that when they are in the studio they don't have to wear a mask, the mask that they put on everywhere else. The mask that says 'I'm fine' even when they're not. Or the mask that hides their mental health label. Or the mask that desperately wants to show everyone else 'I'm normal' or 'I am just like you.' Or the mask that makes them invisible.
So one morning we chatted about this, what happens when you don't put on the mask?
I don’t have to pretend here
I spend so much time and energy making it look like I am o.k when I’m not, and here I don’t have to wear a mask
I don’t have to talk, I can make and still feel part of the group.
Sometimes I talk too much, I don’t like silence.
I can practice how to ‘be me’. Does that sound silly? But I don’t know how to ‘be me’. Something inside has changed. I know how I’d like the world to see me and I know how I don’t want to world to see me.
I feel weak and pathetic if I can’t cope. So I pretend not to be.
I don’t recognise myself anymore- tired, slow, ashamed, lonely- this didn’t used to be me
I just want to be me and get on. I’m not special, I don’t want attention or for people to feel sorry for me. So how do I do that because everything that has happened or I am feeling is just there, right inside waiting to come out. Here if it comes out it is fine. Maybe we’ll talk about it, maybe we won’t.
Mental health is what has bought us together but I am more than that and here that is normal. Some of my friends and even family seem to put everything I do down to my mental health- I will always be the unstable one. I don’t think I am unstable at Designs in Mind!
Being at Designs in Mind is an outward sign that I am worth something, that I am valued and of value.
Maybe I don’t need to pretend anymore.