Daisies are quite my favourite flower.
They are so cheery and always make me smile. I identify with them because they too live their lives facing stigma. The humble daisy is beautiful and intricate in design but only children and a small handful of adults see that beauty; others choose to ignore its merits and label it instead ‘a weed.’ We all know how damaging labels can be, doubly so when used in ignorance. The poor daisy is driven from our lawns and verges as if it carried some virulent disease. Lawns are un-accepting of anything that is not green – this is discrimination – this is stigma – this is unfortunately the way of our world. The daisy and I are kindred spirits and I aspire to its survival skills. As you can see in the cover picture, a lone daisy will find purchase in seemingly inhospitable ground; it will tenaciously grow despite the challenges of weather and footfall. The daisy has faith in its own ability and invests all its energy in life – it never gives up –never. Seasons come and go for my little friend just as they do for me, but it continues to look to the sun for support and tracks it as it moves across the sky. I have learnt so much from my friend the daisy. Until recent years, I went to great lengths to hide my problems: I was in denial; I didn’t want to accept the label of mental illness. No one knew the full extent of my struggle and with the exception of Samaritan helpline volunteers, no one ever knew that I’d come close to killing myself more than once. My scribbled poetry and journal notes kept me safe by allowing me to vent, to articulate the frightening jumbled mess of emotions inside me. I never intended to share these notes but more than thirty years on, I finally feel able to allow others into my secret world. My old English teacher would tell you that I was not particularly skilled, couldn’t spell to save my life and was way too fond of commas – but still, I wrote. Here you will read raw diary entries; I haven’t ‘prettied’ the text up or made unnecessary changes. These pages should give you some measure of insight into a bipolar mind - I am the 1 in 4 - I have a mental illness.
It is what it is – no more.