Happiful November 2019


Mental health


From anorexia to

depression, body

dysmorphia, and BPD, artist

Becky Johnston has had

a lot to contend with. But

her mental health journey

also inspired her to use her

creativity and experiences

to support others, so no one

has to feel alone

Mental health matters to me

because… for what feels like a

lifetime, I have suffered at the

hand of crippling anxieties,

depression, and the umbrella

of cascading torment, BPD; the

catalyst for the ‘mental illness

flux’ I find myself in. Anorexia

shrouded my reality, and body

dysmorphia further impaired

my already confusing life. It

prompted my desire to use my

experiences as a platform to

inspire, promote awareness, and

lend a hand to hold. The more

we talk, the easier it will become

for sufferers to open up.

When I need support I… pluck up

the courage to be honest. That

weight needs to be lifted from

your shoulders, particularly when

emotions heighten so abruptly.

To view Becky’s art visit


Talking is the first and most

important step. Once you break

through that initial barrier, you

can embrace a level of freedom,

allowing new doors to open.

Take a breath of relief. People

are much more understanding

than you’d expect.

When I need some self-care,

I… have found the use of

a whiteboard and reward

chart profoundly useful,

with guidance from my

mum. Mark down anything

from brushing teeth to filing

nails. Acknowledge it’s an

achievement, and tick it off. My

mum is my carer; there is no

shame in dependence. I may

rely on her immeasurably, but I

wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for

her. Remember, mental health

is paramount. If you need that

extra support, it is imperative

that you recognise and accept it.

The escapism I have turned to

time and time again is... my

crafts. Though my illnesses

have taken a great deal from

me, it’s for that reason my

heart has held on to art. Not

only is it a form of healing, but

it allows us to express things

we wouldn’t normally find

easy to articulate. I hope to

utilise my creativity to bring

hope, spark conversation,

evoke profound thoughts, or

raise a good old grin. It is OK

to be you, to be imaginative,

dramatic, bonkers and

brilliant. Explore the arts –

allow your mind to expand and

let go.

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