Well, my mate "that mental health guy" has asked me to write a guest blog wotsit thingie for his fab new website.
He is probably expecting content about my own mental health journey over the last 30 years, I'm Bipolar you see. But, i thought I'd jot down a few lines about how I met HIM and where that particular journey has taken me.
I first laid eyes on "that mental health guy" when I attended an open day at the Trinity Arts Centre in Gainsborough with the Art Group I am a member of. He was on stage, singing his heart out to "The Great Pretender" i thought, Hell, that fellas got guts, I could never have that amount of confidence. I exchanged a few brief words of Well done with him after the performance . I still couldn't quite believe that this wee short arsed chap with specs and a belly similar to mine, not quite as large I might add... Had just stood on a stage in front of many people, and belted out a massive song after pouring out his heart about putting a brave face on his depression. WOW!
Even though i was impressed with his talent, I was utterly blown away by the sheer raw determination and balls he had to get up and do it. Never in a month of Sundays , could I ever even contemplate doing that without any illness; let alone with being a sufferer of a debilitating, confidence crushing soul destroying condition such as depression.
I had a good friend that was also performing on the same stage, and some weeks later she convinced me to pop along with my partner to join this group of folk that were part of the theatre for mental health and see what it was all about. We were warmly welcomed and this is when I crossed paths with "that mental health guy" again.
You see, I thought it might help my partner, Kev, as he was going through some private battles of his own and had not connected with his past music career and creative side for several years. I hoped he would get something positive from it... After all i could help back stage, sew some costumes or something similar as my way of support to him and the group.
We began attending rehearsals regularly for the fast approaching new show IN A NUTSHELL. We soon became involved with the project and the wonderful people that are the cast. My ideas of helping with costumes etc were soon thrown out if the proverbial window!!!
"that mental health guy" and I became pals and regularly took the mickey out of one another, we had some great laughs along the way, coupled with the odd one or two deep and meaningful heart to hearts. And you will never guess what.....
That first time I saw him perform The Great Pretender I told you about? well 4 months later , on the very same stage, there I was, as one of his backing singers !!! Oohing and aahing in all the right places ( well, nearly!) to his super polished rendition of the Elvis Classic.
Get me eh ?... I'm now a cast member of team SST and I'm also proper proud to say that for the first time in this bipolar journey of mine I feel like I am heading in the right direction to recovery.
This is ALL down to the extended fabulous family that is Stepping Stone Theatre.
BUT! Do you know what?.. "That mental health guy" is no longer that short arse geezer on stage with huge bravery and guts, he is now my very good friend Jamie Simpson.
I'm so proud to know you matey.... Oh and you make the best poached eggs ever !!!!
Stepping Stone Theatre is run by husband and wife team Bill & Kate Rodgers.
Rehearsals are held at Trinity Arts Centre, Gainsborough Tuesday 1.30 - 3.00 &
Friday 6.30 - 8.30
For more information visit www.steppingstonetheatre.co.uk, call Bill or Kate on 01427628888 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Deb Fulton 46,