I Give Up
I’ve never spoken about mental health in this blog. That’s because I’ve always seen this as a way of talking to potential clients, and who wants’ to hear about a magicians problems? Who’s going to hire someone for their wedding when they’ve spoken about depression and suicide? But today, thinking about it, I realised that in not talking about it here, I’m not being true to myself as a magician.
Were we to meet socially and you asked me about my experiences with mental health, I’d be happy to talk openly and honestly. I’d talk to you about therapy and medication, my time in hospital and what living with severe depression is like. I believe strongly that we as a society need to get over the stigma still prevalent of people with mental health issues publically identifying as such. But as much as I might talk about mental health suffrage and being honest, I still lie. Let me give you one example: Right now I am sporting a shaggy main of hair. “I’m happy with the look.” “It makes me stand out.” “I’m far too busy to get to the barbers.” The simple truth is that the reason I don’t get my hair cut often is that I struggle to look at myself in the mirror for the length of time it takes to get done. I hate seeing myself, and so I avoid that chair. It’s the same reason I came up with the idea of mini-Paul, my little Lego double. He exists so that I can have an Instagram account without having to post photos of myself or food I am about to eat.
Magic – for me – is an exploration of a creative medium. I try to bring to each trick I perform and create an element of truth about myself, a somewhat ironic statement when you consider the duplicate nature of magic. Yet it is true. I perform as a way of expressing myself, and that has to be done with pure honesty, even if it is a lie expressing it . This is the place where my Edinburgh show – Illusions of Depression - is coming from; my want to create more than tricks who’s primary purpose is to entertain, but instead ones that provoke an emotion, tell a story, and allow me and my audience to explore the themes I am thinking about.
And so, back to my original point. I’ve never spoken about my mental health here. I’ve absolutely no desire to turn this into a catalogue of my issues and problems. I love magic and talking about it with you, and so this isn’t going to become some campaigning blog. On the other hand, by ignoring mental health week I wasn’t true to myself. The reason I’m good at what I do, the reason people hire me, is because of that honesty to myself. I’m bring all of this up now because last night I had a severe panic attack that left me shaken and upset. It’s possible the only reason I’m being so frank right now is that I’ve been unable to sleep. However, as I work on my Edinburgh project some of these themes are bound to come up. I guess I’ve just decided not to be scared of them anymore.
Frankly, I’m too busy being terrified by almost everything else instead!
“Illusions of Depression” will be showing at Tollbooth Market, Gladstone’s Court, EH8 8BN from the 15th August to the 25th August.