As a Scottish girl, nothing fills me with more pride than going home. I’ve only been back in Renfrewshire’s sweet little town of Paisley twice this year, a shocking 1/4 of the amount of times my dad has. It’s pretty gutting, too, that I lost my accent a long time ago- 13 years, maybe, but you do still hear twinges and just being here makes me sound more Scottish, use more phrases and embrace my heritage more.
Coincidentally, I booked this week off work to come up to my favourite place; home.
Today, October 10th, I woke up remembering it was World Mental Health Day. I honestly did not remember this before last night, but after experiencing bad insomnia post a bad OCD flare and letting depression get the best of me, I found myself scouring twitter at 3am looking for a glimmer of hope in life. Regardless of my struggles, this reminded me that it was World Mental Health Awareness Day.
This morning I decided to post a few tweets about it, a vague recollection of experiences, but right now, I do not feel okay enough to share my experiences publicly. I considered writing a hopeful blog post but in this state of mind and discomfort towards my own illness, I didn’t feel right. Honestly, things are spiralling down again and it’s not something I am coping with well (don’t worry, I do have medical support and am in therapy for it).
Anyway, aside those tweets, I decided to get on with my day (we’re actually undergoing a project for my grandma) and maybe revisit the issue when home. We caught the bus into town, and hopped off to go to about our business.
As we alighted the bus a the Paisley Piazza, we noticed something. My Grandma shouted “Look! Queen Victoria!” And I just thought “I know, I know, I’ve seen it before”… I thought she called out the Queen’s name due to my infatuation with history and love for Jenna Coleman and the show ‘Victoria’. It was only when my dad reassertted this statement (to look at the statue) that I looked up. The historical queen’s memorial was dried up in tartan, paisley and knitted delights (scarves, gloves, and all else in your wildest dreams… heck, there was even a crocheted goblet by her feet).
I took a wander over and en route, noticed the other statues dressed up too as well as the fences. I couldn’t help but smile at Paisley being (what I later found out was called) ‘yarn bombed’ and napped a few pictures along with other gawping locals.
As I reached the statute of Queen Victoria, a woman spoke to me seeing the huge smile on my face. Knowing, from her reaction, that she was somehow involved, I asked her about it, expecting it to be part of Paisley’s 2021 bid for city of culture; it wasn’t.
The lovely lady I spoke to explained the project going on; Scottish Mental Health and Disability Services in collaboration with Paisley allowed art therapy groups to knit crochet and sew to their heart’s desire and ‘paint the town’ with coloured fabric. These piece of art were so beautiful, taking over many central statues in the town and the railings by the town hall.
What a way to raise awareness. Colour the town. Get people talking. Talk to them about mental health. Whether it causes people to speak out, join art therapy groups themself, remind people of the fact it’s Mental Health Awareness Day, or just makes people think of checking in on friends, mutuals, neighbours… this project certainly had people thinking about mental health.
Despite poor mental health myself and the hopeless feeling my own antidepressants weren’t going to kick in today, for some reason, I left the square with a huge smile on my face and sense of pride about my heritage. The nickname ‘buddy’ isn’t a light name, Paisley folk truly are buddies.