Mental Health

With the decline in NHS care and treatment for mental health, maybe Robin William’s death can be a way to show how it can impact anyone, regardless of age/gender/race/ability, at any time. It also shows much we need to talk not stigmatise mental health. As someone with depression I know this only too well, as well as the feelings of reaching such a low that putting on the mask to be happy to the outside world when inside all is crumbling seems too much to bare any more. So please remember, if the first or even second person does not listen, we must not give up, we all matter.

© Fi S. J. Brown

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The big question(s)

As part of the Edinburgh art festival a couple of installations have sprung up in the Grassmarket area of the city asking several questions. Here are the questions with my answers to them, have a think how you would answer them, welcome to leave yours in the comments below.

We are all going on a journey but before you set out:
1. Where do you come from?
2. Where do you do you feel is home?
3. Where do you belong?
4. Where are your roots?
5. Do you know where you’re going?
6. How will you know when you have arrived?
7. What is it like there?

1. I grew up in this city but do not feel part of it, I have moved away and she called me back a few times, when I had no choice but to return to her, always with a heavy sigh and heart.
2. I have yet to find my true home as nowhere calls me other than when I am at one with nature listening to birdsong, watching trees dancing in the wind and streams laughing from tickles of the rocks below them. I feel like the dog in the television series “the littlest hobo” and maybe tomorrow I will want to settle down.
3. I belong nowhere I have yet lived in Scotland, England or Italy, but felt happiest when not in Scotland. I am a free spirit that belongs among the natural world or in a landscape painting of days gone by.
4. My roots are a mix of England and Scotland, so maybe I am British rather either as both are marked by a line on the map, the course of the River Tweed. I love this island’s nature and landscapes.
5. I have no idea where I am going in life, but part of what I love about life is living in the moment, as can change for better or worse in an instant and what happens tomorrow will happen, I cannot change that just as I cannot change the past.
6. I will know when my instincts tell me and feel at peace with myself, those I love, my surroundings and doing what I enjoy best in life.
7. Full of nature, music, art, laughter and endless love for all.

© Fi S. J. Brown

One thing

If we could all do just one thing to make the world a better place. There’s no such thing as “I can’t” or “that’s impossible”. Everyone, no matter where they are, how old they are, what their gender or race is, can make a difference. We really can do anything when we put our minds to it. If everyone did one positive thing that did not benefit themselves, if everyone had the courage to raise their voice, and if everyone learnt to say “no, that’s not right”. Do not be one of those people that just stands by, thinking oh someone else will do it and not get involved, it may be your skills and experience it needs. It is time we thought beyond ourselves, opened our minds and mouths, and made a difference. Do something positive today, no matter how small it seems, as to another it could mean the world.

Judgement Day

Do you judge yourself? Those you love? Friends near and far? Strangers in the street? Someone on television? A picture on the internet? Every day we make judgements and are judged based on our actions, what we or others accept as normal, right from wrong, and the labels we or society give others. These judgements can be made on a click of the finger, bitterness from previous experience, or assumption based on our own or other’s ideas of logic and reason.

Yet who decided to make ourselves or others the judge and sometimes jury too? Do we feel guilty when we make an assumption that turns out to be wrong? Are we too proud to admit we are wrong? Do we toss in our sleep like a salad with guilt, or sleep like a log in the forest? Do we learn from our mistakes, or keep repeating them? How does it feel when someone does it to us back? An opinion is just that, a belief, just because we or others do, does not make it right from wrong.

Like sheep we try to find a flock that is similar to ourselves, yet what we often fail to realise it is those that are different to us that teach us the most. We do not want to stand out from the crowd and feel the laughter and mockery. Life is hard, so why do we make it harder for others under a notion it may make us feel better? Personally, I would rather be a dog than a sheep, loyal and caring to those I love most, not following the crowd, being true to myself and respecting others.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Style over substance

Why is it is these days we judge by first impressions? The look or visual cues, rather then informational or intellectual content is lost. Instead it is the package or presentation of the messenger above the actual message.

Take modern music, the video, it is a representation or interpretation of a particular song that often overpowers the meaning of that song. However, 9 out of 10 times these days, if the song is mainstream it feels devolved of any creativity or soul. I feel, sense and see great works of art with music that the artist’s soul painted with their notes and rhythms.

With job hunting, companies want people to be part of their brand so have to look the part. Gone are the days of employing people due to their skills and intelligence, instead do they fit in with our company or can we mould them into being what we want and need. Style over substance. All sadly decided within the first fifteen seconds of meeting them.

Or take dating another human. How often is it the outer shell that judgement is based on, if they are “sexy” or not, it has become shallow. There is now no allowing time to get to know someone, perhaps as a friend first, and learning to accept them for who they are. Instead judge and jury on how they present themselves and not their actions.

Do designer clothing really say someone is more beautiful because they wear them? Saving up so can splash out to look like a princess at a ball. Even if catch Prince Charming’s eye, how to afford to keep up this new look presented if it is all about the outside and not what is inside? Clothing should show character and individuality, not identikit clones.

Winning some money on the lottery and buying a new house, not thinking of how to afford the monthly bills, but want to look the part with an expensive house as gives an impression to strangers, families and friends that this is what success means. Would paying off existing bills and living debt free not be far more a success and praiseworthy?

A first impression is just that. It is denying our instincts to judge someone on appearance alone, as their actions tell how they really are. Love does not have to blind. Even the greatest artworks need more than a glance to be truly appreciated.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The view

I am at a lake, sat under a tree, wind touching my hair, and sun beating down. Across the lake is a bridge, to the West are mountains and the East a dense forest. In the sky three birds fly high and sing their song. I ponder what this one moment in time and view painted before me means, as everything happens for a reason.

  • My reflection in the lake is reminder of how unique my journey in life and my actions have ripple effects like a skipping stone upon the lake itself; 
  • The tree shows me like it’s rings I have good and bad years, I have the strength to carry on, giving shelter and hope to others;
  • The wind is Mother Nature’s kiss to share her maternal love and knows better than any other mother what is right and wrong;
  • The sun gives hope that even in times of darkness there will be light again soon, even if right now appeals to be pitch black;
  • The bridge a reminder I have choices to make in life and sometimes it is best to burn bridges on the past when someone has hurt me;
  • The mountains foretell of hard times ahead but the journey to reach the summit will fill me with knowledge and experience;
  • Where as the forest foretells of change and that a transitional phase is to occur but no matter what must always follow my instincts;
  • Finally the birds are my closest friends, they are there to remind me that they support me and even if I don’t see them, I can hear them.


So which of my options do I explore first? Easy. I climb the tree as then I can have all my strength and knowledge to help me make the decision that is right for me now and not forget the bigger picture. Finally remembering that the plans and actions of today, are what bear the fruits and gifts tomorrow and a future to come.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The Childcare Paradox

Why is it that a woman who chooses to stay at home to bring up her child it is seen as a “waste of time” instead of having a job, where the child is left in the care of others? “You’re throwing away your potential” cry some, how is wanting the best for a child throwing anything away, surely we are by being there when our child needs us most, being a true mother and not just the woman who gave birth to them. A child’s relationship with each parent is different and unique to that child, surely the influences of both matter?

We praise our teachers as they do so much and are often overstretched by doing increasingly more than teach, which should be the role of parent but is blamed on bad parenting for them having to do so. It’s almost like we cannot win, whatever we choose. A parent of either gender can act as teacher, nurse, counsellor, disciplinarian, storyteller, chef, etc. on one day alone, but does not get the same recognition or respect from others as chooses this as their vocation rather than a slave for money to others.

If we educate our children at home instead of mainstream schools there is also a stigma that some how they are failing to learn important life skills that being at school brings. Yet as life is all about learning new things and age is not a barrier to learning, why not use the world around us as a classroom rather than box in a child physically, mentally and emotionally. A child’s curiosity should be encouraged as much as their creativity, to develop who they are as individuals not what is interpreted they need to learn.

Is the family unit being destroyed like so many other things, another part of the ever crumbling cookie. We are told each generation is getting smarter, faster, better, when the reality is we’re getting stupider, slower, and sicker than our elders. The lack of respect some of the younger and older generation show each other is worrying too. Older people have the experience, knowledge and wisdom, the youth as want it all now and cannot wait for tomorrow, with the new adventures it will bring. 

© Fi S. J. Brown