Over the coming weeks I will be adding some photos and short biographies to help you get to know some of the marvellous people who have contributed to Dandelions and Bad Hair Days…..
Nic Elgey is a remarkable woman. Having experienced her own battle with anxiety and depression she set up Suffer in Silence No More (SISNM), a peer support group for sufferers of mental illness and their friends and family. Starting as a Facebook page, it quickly took off and now has hundreds of members, celebrity patrons and a website that offers a safe place to share feelings, fears and find support.
Mark K is one of those great people you can meet via social networks – in this case Twitter where I found out that writing has long been a release for him during bouts of deep depression. Recently, after changes to his diagnosis & treatment, he has started writing when not under the cloud of depression. He is using this new found freedom to write on mental health issues, to help raise awareness & to fight the stigma associated with mental illness. He has a blog at http://nudirection.blogspot.com.au/
Chris Rugg is an award-winning mental health advocate, always keen to raise awareness of mental health and disability issues through his writing and poetry. In DABHD he writes of the value of friendship and the nature of depression, as well as offering his poem ‘I’m Fine’. Chris is one of those people who always puts others before himself, however poorly he feels and works tirelessly to support others experiencing challenges as they live their lives with mental illness.
Tim Atkinson is an award-winning writer, blogger and stay-at-home dad. It is a role he loves and which he combines with part-time teaching and, of course, his writing. His award-winning blog and online diary ‘Bringing up Charlie’ has a wide and loyal readership and his creative writing course has helped many people find their writing ‘voice’. His own books include ‘Writing Therapy’ and ‘Creative Writing – The Essential Guide’. In DABHD he writes on how difficult it is for men to come forward and admit they are experiencing depression and other mental health issues.
Vivienne Tufnell is the author of the book ‘Strangers & Pilgrims’ and ‘Away with the Fairies’ which are both available from Amazon. She blogs regularly at www.zenandtheartoftightropewalking.wordpress.com and has her own website at www.viviennetuffnell.co.uk. Honest and open about her struggles with depressive illness, Vivienne has shared her experiences in Dandelions and Bad Hair Days in an original and wonderfully creative way. In fact, it was her first post that inspired the title of the book!
Jo Middleton is a freelance writer and marketing consultant. She lives in Bristol with her partner and two daughters, where she enjoys alternating between playing hyper-competitive netball and sitting on the sofa watching 30 Rock and eating sweets. Jo looks at mental health issues from the perspective of someone living with and caring for family members with anxiety and depression. She is an award winning blogger over at www.slummysinglemummy.wordpress.com.
Stephanie Matthews is a 44-year-old working in the legal profession. She has suffered from severe bouts of depression since her late teens. She is now happily married with a young daughter and is qualified as a Flower Remedies therapist, aromatherapist and crystal healer. She is still taking medication for her mental health. In DABHD she has felt able to share her experience as a woman, wife and mother living with depression.
Kit Johnson is a successful international businessman, who has had to battle through a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and wrestle with frequent moments of despair and suicidal thoughts, including two attempts. He says that he discovered humour and home-spun philosophies could save him from the worst excesses of his condition. Kit’s own book ‘Dodging Suicide – A Lifetime’s Preoccupation’ is available through Amazon.com, or at www.kit-johnson.com.
Rin Simpson is a freelance journalist and creative writer, and the founder of The Steady Table writers’ group (@TheSteadyTable). Born in South Africa, she moved to the UK when she was 14 and is now based in Bristol. As well as writing she loves crafts of all kinds but particularly knitting, and has permanently itchy feet, which have taken her from Japan and Thailand to Zambia and Morocco, and beyond. Rin blogs at www.glassjarsandphotographs.wordpress.com and is @rinsimpson on Twitter
Born a New Yorker, Lois Chaber was absorbed in a conventional academic career as a scholar/teacher in 18th-Century English Literature until she was lured away to the Middle East in the mid-1970s by her third husband, a dynamic New Zealander. Family misfortunes reached their climax in 1999 with her daughter Sybil’s tragic suicide, which compelled Lois to begin her memoir The Thing Inside My Head’: A Family’s Journey through Mental Illness published by Chipmunka Publishing.