As a baby, Josephine Fairley loved to create her own natural, home-made skincare; as an adult, she would go on to have a stellar career as a beauty editor in a world of high-tech beauty. But what if these polar opposites could meet?Read more
It’s those small things we do that are grounded in reality – washing up, taking a bus, weeding – that sometimes bring up the most profound emotions. And so it was that the other day, hunched over the kitchen sink living my best life, it occurred to me that a fair few of my nearest and dearest might be described as being mildly odd, somewhat eccentric, or “complicated” at times, all euphemisms for the kind of conditions that sit at the less severe end of the mental health spectrum – OCD, anxiety, ADHD, depression and so on and so forth. I’m fairly sure they would probably attribute the same sorts of names to me; we are all of us a little “out of sorts”, over-emotional, and overwhelmed at times, which of course, doesn’t necessarily render us ill if kept in check. But bar being able to wave a magic wand and make any undue suffering go away, I wouldn’t want to change anyone, even if I could. Gandhi sums it up rather more eloquently: “My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at his feet.”
So it is with mental health – for which a “week” has been allocated this month (13-19 May) here in the UK for us all to be more aware. Mental illness can be scary, unattractive and downright ugly. It’s objects hurled, obscenities shouted or worse still – silence, never ending, as the person retreats more and more into themselves. But it’s also a part of the daily struggle in life, and if there’s any beauty to be had in struggling, it’s that it’s a huge part of what makes us human. Mental health touches all of us, affects our ability to be in balance, cursing us and blessing us in equal measure.
It’s such a vast topic that I’m fully aware we are barely skimming the surface in this issue of The Wildsmith Papers, but still, we thought it worthwhile to pause and contemplate the incredible power of the mind. We’re thrilled to introduce three new (at least to The Wildsmith Papers) writers: Kevin Braddock, whose tips for handling the stresses of life are based on his own experience and research into the thorny world of depression and anxiety; Nicola Moulton, who looks at the connection between how our mind perceives beauty and how our skincare works; and journalist and author Kate Spicer, who takes the star turn in our questionnaire. Spicer’s book Lost Dog went straight into the bestseller charts, despite the fact that – plot-spoiler alert – she finds the dog in the end so you’d be forgiven for thinking that might be quite a short book. Losing her dog almost drove her crazy, but having the dog in the first place is, by her own admission, what keeps her sane. And finally, perhaps the cruelest trick the mind plays on many of us as age advances, is to take our memories away. David Annand returns to The Wildsmith Papers to track down a charity that creates videos of memories for dementia sufferers to help give them back their dignity.
We wish you a beautiful May, an enjoyable read, and most of all, we wish you calm. Lots of calm.
Lots of love,