At the time he felt really alone and isolated, thinking that nobody else could be going through the same thing as him. So he started drawing sketches as a way of trying to understand his anxiety – and that’s when he thought about putting those designs on T-shirts. He then set up a clothing label to raise awareness of – and funds – for mental health, and collaborates with others suffering from conditions like depression and eating disorders, all with the hope of encouraging people to have open conversations about mental health.
It was incredibly dark inside my head, confusional,
a confusion, all the loneliness as well.
It got so exhausting, the anxiety would then get worse
and my world started shrinking.
I was washing my hands 50 to 100 times a day,
tunnel vision, sweating, panic attacks on a daily basis.
And I felt so alone because I didn’t know there was anyone else
going through the same experience. My family were scared.
My parents were really scared.
My friends, I just completely cut them off,
I wasn’t going out with them any more so when I stopped seeing them,
they didn’t understand that.
They were also struggling as well because it doesn’t just
impact yourself, it impacts everyone around you.
I started doing drawings from what my anxiety and OCD felt like
because this was my creative outlet of understanding what I was going
through, which was when I knew I was slowly on the road to recovery.
Then I thought, maybe I could do something with these,
maybe I could put them on a T-shirt.
So all the designs I do all have a story behind them,
but they’re all subtle. Anyone can walk around with them,
an anxiety sufferer, an OCD sufferer,
if someone likes the design and they ask the story behind it,
they can tell them that actually it
started out as someone’s severe anxiety and suffering.
Yeah, like that…
Then just sort of look at me.
Yeah, like that, cool.
So I suffer from anxiety and depression and I started
doing embroidery because it would make me feel a lot calmer.
The kind of mantra that I stitch onto the T-shirts is sometimes
I’m OK and sometimes I’m not.
It just describes how I feel and how so many other people feel.
It’s obviously based on the wear your heart on your sleeve. Yeah.
Yeah, we’ve talked about that idea before. Yeah, exactly.
I think George is brilliant.
I think he is really important in today’s climate,
I think he is an ambassador for young people and for mental health.
Hi. How are you doing? All right, you? Not too bad, not too bad.
What do you think of it, the new design? The new one. I really love
it. I think it’s really cool.
By wearing the T-shirts,
it gives me more of a confidence to
talk about my mental-health issues.
I struggle from an eating disorder,
which also brings anxiety with it as well.
But for the last, like, six months or so, it’s been really good,
I’ve pretty much recovered all my weight so… Amazing. Yeah.
Pretty happy. In a better place! Yeah.
For me, it’s about de-stigmatising the conversation
around mental health and encouraging more people to talk about it
because there’s nothing to be ashamed of when we suffer,
but there’s still a long way to go.
I think what George is doing is pretty amazing and I find it really
inspiring how he’s taken his own suffering and issues and turned
it into something really positive and inspiring for other people.
So what do you guys think of the designs?
Oh, they’re really nice. Oh, they’re so nice! Yeah? Yes.
It’s quite humbling to know that I’m helping other people
by sharing the message.
If it only helps one person, that is incredibly powerful to me.
For that reason alone, I’m going to keep designing, keep encouraging
the conversation because no-one should feel scared
to talk about their mental health.
I’m pretty much done.
What’s your take? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
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