Category: PSS


A couple of years ago, as I started to emerge from one of the darkest periods of depression of my life, I was using the affirmation “Taking back my life”, because that is exactly how I felt. Depression is often compared to a ‘black dog’. Personally I don’t find that a good analogy – I have had two black dogs in my life, and both were good for my well-being. I can not associate them with depression. To me it is more like a muddied, boggy pool which we are submerged under. We see dim shapes and shadows of reality, but they are seen through dark muddy water. Emerging from my depression at the time was like ‘surfacing’ – making my way to clearer waters – to a clearer reality.

As usual it has been a long time since I updated here. I have had some family illness issues, which have made it difficult not to slip back into that mire. On a more positive note, I have been busy with various projects. I have done courses in blog set-up, community journalism and blog management, which have culminated in me being part of a great team, running a new blog:

Well Pool (Promoting Positive Health & Well-Being)

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It’s been a fascinating project and it is interactive in that if you have things to share on the vast subject of well-being, we are always keen to publish them.

Additionally, I have set up a photography page – at the moment, just on Facebook, but I am still on a learning curve with my Nikon! The page is:

Marc Fraser Photography

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I also did a relevant post on photography and well-being on the WellPool blog called

‘Photography – My Well-Being Salvation’

But by far the biggest element in my life has been working towards an installation for World Mental Health Day, which was on 10 October 2015.

I ended up shelving the original idea for a completely new slideshow because of the aforementioned family health issues; instead I added sound to the slideshow that ran at the ‘Sticks ‘n’ Stones’ event in February. On an emotional and creative rollercoaster, I added a ‘mix’ of some music I made a few years back in algorithmic music software – generated semi-randomly – as well as snippets from discussions on self-image and how it suffers under fluctuating mental health. There were also a few snippets of speech synthesis. The end result was this:

‘A Trick of the Eye – A Trick of the Mind: WMHD version’

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The day was amazing. The staff at the Playhouse Theatre, where this and some really excellent drama, dance and workshop performances were going on for most of the day, were so hospitable. It goes without saying that their work was brilliant – like a well-oiled machine.

So that leads me back to the title of this post. Two years ago, I was taking back my life. Now I feel that Saturday has started me on the road to taking back my identity.

Before I fell into that muddy pool, the things that kept me out of the mire were artistic work as a composer working with fringe theatre, dance, performance art, etc. After the event on Saturday, I feel like I am that person again.

I am already putting ideas together for the installation that I shelved.

There has been a lot more going on with me this year – mostly positive (in the end). I have done my debut (and probably swan-song) in stand-up comedy via the Comedy Trust’s ‘Feeling Funny’ project, done more training in Peer Support, and more. Ever onwards, ever upwards.

Me at Comedy Night at The Brink

This is just a quick update with a couple of photos after my post earlier today.

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It was indeed an emotional occasion – the end of an era for Nikki Greig, and all who were touched by her energy, enthusiasm, cheerfulness and empathy. She has her last day at PSS tomorrow and flies out to Australia on the 25th of the month. As I said in that post, she was the second person I met at PSS and in the process of learning to cope with depression, she has been an inspiration along with her team mate in some of the classes, Paddy.

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Of course, as she is going to Australia, the hat was obligatory while we sang ‘Waltzing Matilda’ to her. The leaving do was marked by a few tears, a lot of smiles and a generous helping of laughter (oh and generous helpings of cake too!)

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As is my habit these days, when I left, I said “See you soon!” then realized I wouldn’t and got a bit of a lump in my throat. No, won’t see you soon, but I hope to hear that you have had a blast on your travvels, Nikki.

Today will be an emotional one for us folks involved with PSS, whether they are service users, peer support volunteers or staff.

Nikki Greig was the second person I met at PSS. She and Paddy, the first person I met, ran the course on Depression and Anxiety that was so pivotal in my learning to cope with the rollercoaster of life with depression and anxiety.

She has also been a great asset for the creative folks that make up the rich tapestry of service users at PSS. She was responsible for organizing the fabulous evening at Siren last month, as well as many more events before. It was hard not to be inspired by the energy, good humour and enthusiasm with which she did things.

Soon after the Sticks ‘n’ Stones (Siren) event, she announced to us service users that she would be leaving this month. She is off travelling – starting in Australia and going where her heart takes her.

I know that all of us, service users and staff alike, will miss her. But on the other hand we have to say good on ya, Nikki. Life should be a series of big adventures, and I for one hope that this one will furnish you with some fantastic experiences and memories, with many more adventures to follow.

Bon voyage! We’ll miss you!