I don't know who is going to read this, but I am writing in a fleeting moment of clarity in what has been one of the most difficult few months of my life. Since September I have been struggling badly with my mental health. This has been having an understandably negative effect on my marriage, and lately it has also been having a detrimental impact on my work as a performance poet. I have been finding it very difficult to pick up a pen and to garner any kind of inspiration, but harder still have been the school visits that I undertake as a crucial element of my job. I am an introvert at the best of times, and I have been finding these increasingly difficult. I am unbelievably privileged to be able to do this as my job, and when I am feeling well doing school visits is an honour that I am extremely grateful for, but to stand up in front of groups of children for several hours a day, when my mind is doing everything it can to play havoc with me, is hugely stressful. For the first time in several years I have had to cancel or postpone school visits because of my mental illness. This is having a detrimental effect on my confidence and my finances. My wife is the kindest person in the world, but it is impacting her deeply too.
I write this in the hope of encouraging greater openness and transparency with regards to mental health, and the effect it can have on the work of otherwise creative and lively people. If you are struggling too then the best I can do is express some kind of solidarity. I also express immense gratitude for everyone who has and continues to be supportive of the work I do.
Peace and love,