I received the most gorgeous mental health boost in the post this week — I just have to share.
I received an advance copy of “Where’s My Lemonade?” a book compilation of mental health inspiration that I contributed a chapter to. Subtitled “17 inspirational stories to keep you going when life gives you lemons” it’s a kaleidoscope of ideas from a selection of authors. There are stories in there from the insta-famous, the entrepreneurs, the doers, and from people like me, who have been in mental health for years. Each one has a unique spin to make you think, plan and create your mental health response to the lemons that life sometimes throws in our paths — and it does.
Bless the editors, Jamie and Raessa, for packaging up my copy with a thank you note. I squealed in delight and took video as I unwrapped it. I’m a real author! It’s a beautifully laid out book. I picked it up and smelled it.
There’s something about a book. Something about its physical presence. You can take it with you into the bath, read it in bed, scribble on it, bend its pages. I was enwrapt by it. Reading through, I checked my chapter first (of course) but then soon got captivated by some gems by other people. There are messages in there to build your confidence, to remember where you’ve come from, to be proud in who you are. Whatever type of reader you are, whether message orientated, inspirational story orientated, or simply looking for well being tips, there is something in there for you.
There’s a message about mental health in there. Mental health advice isn’t a one size fits all. It’s a take it to the bath, read it in bed, dog ear this corner kind of advice. It’s when you personalise it, take it to heart, make it your own, that it really has a benefit.
I have to tell you about my chapter, because I’m excited to share. I wrote about finding mental health in the ordinary moments of life. I’ve been running an online community, #mentalhealthartists, who also met IRL at the Tate Modern last year. We practice the art of good mental health, which we define as a discipline built on the habit of catching and appreciating ordinary moments. We make ordinary moments together. That’s what we do.
Life is an art form, and mental health is an art form. We have the raw materials, it is how we respond. Me making a video of opening my book was a creative response, as long as — and this is a useful distinction that is made in the book — it is made from the inside out, for an internal audience, not for likes and shares. Authenticity really matters.
This book has a very genuine heart. Every penny of profit from it goes to Mental Health Fdn to further their amazing work.
And so — I’m delighted to say — I took the lemons that I’d been given and I made the lemonade of being an author, of writing out my story, of giving out what I’ve been given. It was immensely satisfying to receive my book. More so to know that I’d been part of something that I hope will make a difference. You can pick up a copy on Amazon. Not being mean or anything, but you can’t have mine. I’m taking it into the bath.
Enjoy your reading, look after your mental health, keep on making that lemonade.