My broken creative brain

Those of you who follow me on social media, read my blog and visit the shop will know that I never shy away from saying what’s on my mind. I think it’s really important to be honest and up front about things and yes that’s probably caused me a few problems over the years. I mean just ask my cringing mother when I’ve spoken out against minor injustices, crap shop service or the guy letting his dog shit and not picking it up… I say what I’m thinking and feeling. So today, I’m telling you how I’m feeling because for the first time in a long time I’m feeling good.

I’ve had a number of challenges this year, moving the shop to new premises and renovating a huge building being the main one but simply running a business is challenge enough. I came to realise as the dust settled and the shop was open that I wasn’t functioning properly. I was coming into work and staring into space, operating in a perfunctory manner and doing what needed to be done and little else. I had lost my desire to do anything, I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want to have fun, I didn’t want to do at all.

Waking up in the morning I felt a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach so strong that I felt physically sick, thinking about going to the shop to buy milk or making a phone call would make my hands shake, feel panicky and even avoid things altogether, not great when you’ve got a life to get on with. I’m not even sure how long I had felt this way, it certainly wasn’t over night and could have been a number of months.

I’ve always had crazy moods but put that down to creative frustration above anything else but this was different. I was quite simply fed up of being fed up and couldn’t face another day of feeling empty, I wasn’t wholly sure I could face another day at all. So I went to my doctor, I didn’t even know what I was going to say and I’m not entirely sure what I did say but there were tears and I asked for help. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

Depression (for me) is not sadness, at least when you’re sad you know that you are sad and there is generally a reason but depression is an emptiness, the loss of feeling, a numbness. Coupled with anxiety that stopped me bridging the gap into a more healthy day to day life I was stuck. I was offered a combination of medication and talking therapy which I accepted gratefully.

After a month or so of medication I began to feel MUCH better, it was like someone had opened the curtains on my life and I could get on with things. My mood improved and people even commented how well I looked, The Boy was back. I’m now around 3 months into treatment and I’ve got my mojo back, I’ve started to have ideas and feel creative again.

I’m sharing my story to help others, particularly because I recently read an article about male suicide being the biggest killer of men under 45! THAT IS UNREAL! Thankfully I wasn’t suicidal and I was strong enough to go to my doctor and to do something about my health. I’m so grateful to my mum who looked after me and supported me during the worst patch and also to my great friends who dragged me out for coffee.

If you want to talk I’m here, I understand.


About Ash

Ashley Sutcliffe, owner of Live Like the Boy, online and real interiors shop and fun informative blog

8 thoughts on “My broken creative brain”

  1. I filled with tears reading your heartfelt story Ash I know the feeling well and you are right about medication helping. Talking about it helps massively too.

    Bless you. Keep up the good work!!

    Love Jess xxx

  2. I recognise every word of this as if it is my own story and understand completely. Thanks for sharing. I found the meds I was given blocked my ability to write so after a few months I got off them and now try to manage my depression/anxiety solo. Some days I’m better at it than others.

  3. It’s incredibly brave to speak openly about your experience of anxiety and depression. Every single person who does so helps others in ways they can’t realise.

    I hope that you continue to feel and share your mojo!

    Lots of love
    Kirsty x

  4. Good for you Ash! I know too many people who suffer as you have. Sometimes medication works first time, sometimes it’s takes a few attempts to find what’s suitable, but perseverance and more importantly, support, go a long way to getting back on track, and getting your mojo back! ? I just wish that sometimes men wouldn’t be so stubborn in thinking that they don’t need help! But you’re right, even that takes strength, which many times people in that situation just don’t have!

  5. You’re very brave speaking out on a subject that not many people (and fewer men) feel they can talk about. Glad to hear you are feeling much better and sending best wishes. We appreciate your help this summer and hope you can feel proud of the difference that you’re making turning houses into homes for so many people.

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