A series of unfortunate stereotypes – the book!

Hello lovely people!

Front cover - A series of Unfortunate StereotypesSo I’m massively excited today to share my new book cover and links to pre order A series of unfortunate stereotypes – Naming and Shaming Mental Health Stigmas.

Of course I don’t name and shame people (just Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins – but they don’t count) but I do discuss the bizarre pop culture of the 80s and 90s and how it made me think about mental health.

From stranger danger and Charley the cat in the 80s, to grunge, rock stars and the ‘glamour’ of drugs and torment in the 90s, to struggles with being a ‘grown up’ today, my book is a bit of a nostalgic and humorous trip back through the decades that influenced us all, and the stigma around mental health.

‘Lucy writes with humour and intelligence’ Denise Welch

‘Lucy’s warmth and candour shine through in her writing’ Standard Issue

So, if you fancy pre-ordering (it’s out in Feb) you can order here

It’s behind you!

As part of my therapy, my counsellor asked me to write a metaphorical story about me, as a child, and my struggles. So this is a little story about anxiety and the upbeat parts of my personality that I wouldn’t give away – the excitable parts. Would I swap my excitability if it would take away my panic? I’m not sure I would.

I’ll be taking this with me next therapy session to discuss it. Which is kind of nerve wracking. But here goes…


She opened her eyes. They were still sticky from sleep and she struggled to make out the shapes of her teddy bears sitting in a neat row at the bottom of her bed. The dust was floating calmly in the sunshine as it shone through the gap in the floral curtains.  The mass of teddy-like shapes gradually sharpened up and she could make out her favourite bear.

It was morning.

But wait. What was that? Was that a dark shadow lurking behind her purple woollen bear?

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Book Review: If They Could See Me Now Author: Denise Welch

Denise bookI read this within 24 hours. As the first sentence in a review of a 350+ page book, that says quite a lot. I barely put it down – in fact, I think my copy will have my breakfast crumbs firmly embedded in the pages now…

This is Denise’s first novel – and I admit I am a little behind as it was published in early 2016. Late to the party – again! But I’m glad I turned up eventually.

The story focuses on Harper, a 53 year old with a rich husband living the high life in Cheshire with the ladies that lunch. So I wasn’t convinced I would relate, but I thought I’d give it a whirl…

Thing is, this isn’t so much about the superficial bits of Harper’s life – other than showing how truly superficial they are. It’s a study of relationships, love, abuse, bullying, self-esteem, mental health and independence. It explores how the family dynamic impacts on each member and reinforces a particularly important lesson in life – that you should never lose sight of who you really are.

Harper makes a huge sacrifice for love. Or at least, for what she wants to believe is love. And this story shows that abuse doesn’t have to have physical signs. That bullying doesn’t have to involve fighting. In fact, what’s important in this story is that the person experiencing the bullying and abuse may not even realise it. And when you paint a smile on your face, nobody else need realise either.

How many of us have sacrificed parts of ourselves for somebody else? I know I have many years ago. I look back and think, perhaps it was because I was young? Perhaps I was naive. But it’s not just about being young and naive, it’s far more complicated. It’s often impossible to see it when you’re on the inside. When you believe that this is the best that love has to offer. When your self-esteem has hit an all time low. Sometimes, you can’t even see that, either.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I think what is also incredibly thought-provoking in this book is the impact that relationships can have on the wider family. And how within a family, it isn’t simply a series of individual relationships, but a bigger, whole relationship with individual parts and bonds that all react to one another – both positively and negatively.

It’s about love. Who you truly are, who you love, and allowing a little love for yourself, too. It’s not about neutralising one for the sake of the other. It’s about combining and accepting all the best, and worst, bits of each other, of a family, and making something really special. It’s the only way to thrive. Compromising who you are is a strong indicator of something toxic creeping in…

But can Harper see that? Give it a read and find out.

If they could see me now which is published by Little Brown is available to buy online – click here to order.

Stop using mental health as bait

We all love to boo a pantomime baddie, but that’s usually because they’re stealing a magic lamp or weaving destructive magic spells. We know it’s all made up and we know they’ll get their comeuppance. But yet again, Katie Hopkins and Piers Morgan are enjoying the boos and hisses by taking their pantomime into real life. They’re baiting us with mental health stigma. Sadly, that’s not fictional.

MegaphoneBBC Question Time was a prime hook for the recent onslaught of mental health provocation with Katie Hopkins, rather predictably, tweeting:

‘Breaking news: it is possible to pay for mental health counselling privately if you save hard enough’.

Of course the mentally ill are fair game aren’t they. They’re bound to get upset and have a tantrum. That’ll get the Twitter engagement figures flying. That’ll land more controversial headlines.

It was much the same with Piers Morgan’s recent attacks on Will Young:

‘Will Young does not have PTSD. He has WNTS – Whiny Needy Twerp Syndrome.’

Mental health campaigner Denise Welch rightly called him out which resulted in more mud-slinging from the lovely Piers who called Denise a ‘publicity-starved bore’. Nice.

So why am I falling into the trap and talking about them some more? Because they already have the platform and the airtime. They already have the ears and eyes of millions of people. And they already have the power to influence. Sadly.

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Review: Black Eyed Susan

So I was chuffed to bits that the wonderful Denise Welch allowed me to have a sneak peak of her forthcoming short film, Black Eyed Susan. Here’s my review.

As a mental health ambassador who has spoken publicly and at length about her battles with depression, it’s perhaps no surprise Denise Welch’s first project as a film producer brings the subject into focus.

Capturing every shade of a depressive relapse, Black Eyed Susan, the short film she has made with writer and director Nick Rowntree, explores the despair, the isolation, the darkness, the why.

black-eyed-susanIt chillingly portrays the front you put up before retreating from your friends and heading deep into its grip; the inability to see the detail in the world around you; the change in pace and the dissociation from time, before it becomes all-consuming and takes every last piece of energy, of self-worth.

Welch, perhaps best known for a lengthy stint in Coronation Street and a decade on the Loose Women roster, brings all of this to the screen with complete authenticity.

The plot of the film, which will undoubtedly be making its presence felt on this year’s festivals circuit, is one of deep-rooted psychological abuse. Of the torment experienced by a woman at the hands of a teenage boy who unexpectedly returns to taunt her and intrude on an otherwise happy life.

Read the full article on Standard Issue

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Review: Leaving

Written by Paddy Campbell, directed by Amy Golding

At Northern Stage, Newcastle until 4th March

Then Bath (13th March) and Exeter (15th – 18th March)

leavingWhat happens when a young person leaves care? The only life they’ve ever really known. They don’t know how or why they got there, or who they really are, but it was in care that they survived.

And then they turned 18.

There is no gradual transition from child to adult for care leavers. It happens at the flick of a switch. No sooner have they cracked open their first legal can of Oranjeboom and they’re catapulted into an unfamiliar and lonely new world.

Leaving is verbatim theatre – a form of documentary theatre based on real experiences and transcripts. Writer Paddy Campbell (Wet House, Day of the Flymo) and director, Amy Golding (of the award-winning theatre company, Curious Monkey) are giving these young people a chance to be heard. In their very own words.

In fact, they’re giving the sector a chance to be heard, as the play is based on interviews not only with care leavers, but also with support workers, social workers, teachers and MPs. It’s a fully rounded view of the system – with experiences that are good, bad, tragic, funny, frustrating, inspiring and above all, true.

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