It is a mental health condition which, like every mental health condition, is often brushed under the carpet and ignored.

If you’re reading this, imagine feeling like you’re carrying the whole world on your shoulders one day as opposed to the next.

Some days, you may feel happy and in a good mood. Other days, you’ll feel anxious, unhappy and depressed.

I raise awareness for mental health as it is close to my heart, and I aim to help everyone going through a similar experience.

I was officially diagnosed with anxiety on the 9th June 2017 after going through a horrific experience at college in 2016 and then losing a friend of mine a few months later, among other personal reasons closer to home.

By suppressing the real emotions I had at the time, I felt more anxious and almost disconnected myself from reality.

Although I have my family and friends who are the best support networks whom I can turn to for support, I felt lost and alone in myself.

I held back my real emotions for so long that it took for me to finally break down and come to terms with loss and grief.

Mentally, I was at ease once I opened up and showed real emotion as it was a release of emotions I once suppressed.

Even now, my mental health sometimes makes me feel happy on some days, but other days, I might feel down even when I don’t want to.

In my first job which I quit after securing myself the self-employed job I left right at the end of November, the stress of the first job I was in got to a stage where I eventually realised that my mental health was suffering and I needed to do something about it.

I started looking around for jobs around the middle of May because the strain of working in a job in retail took its toll on my mental wellbeing and I was affected by the job on an emotional level.

Even the pressure of working in a full-time self-employed job got too much, because, at times, I felt down as I knew I made as best of an effort as I gave being self-employed a try and it didn’t work out.

The support network in my second job was wonderful as everyone supported me as I was honest and open about my mental health.

I would never want to suppress my mental health and then have my mental health affect me eventually.

Although I’m now in a good place where I’m in two part-time jobs that provide me all the support I need, both emotionally and financially, I still, at times, feel down from the way my first job made me feel both emotionally and mentally.

I’m not going to sugarcoat how I really feel. Anxiety with mild bouts of depression is horrible. It’s like carrying the whole world on your shoulders and you feel like the whole world is weighing you down and leaving you unable to speak up.

There have actually been occasions where I have had panic attacks and it’s horrible. Once you’ve had a panic attack, you’ll never forget it.

It takes courage to open up and say how you really feel, and to be honest, my experience of living with anxiety and mild depression hasn’t been all that great given I have the odd down day now and then, but it gives me comfort to accept that even though I’m not okay at times, I know I’m not alone and I can speak openly more about how I really feel.

It’s taken a lot of courage for me to open up and be entirely honest with you all about my anxiety and mild depression and it feels like a weight has lifted now I’ve opened up.

If you are someone or you know someone who is suffering from mental health, please tell me your experiences with mental health as I want to hear your experiences and how opening up about how you really feel changed your perspective on life and how you feel now you’ve opened up about your mental health.

Again, it feels like a weight has now been lifted off my shoulders now I’ve opened up and been honest about my mental health and to be honest, I want this to encourage positive change and I want this to give you the courage to open up about your mental health like it did for me.

Alex Smithson

Is Mental Health Exploited in Social Media? (feat. Oli Regan)

Mental Health is not a laughing matter, especially considering that the negative stigma is attached to anyone who suffers from Mental Health, but when social media gets involved, it does everything to exploit mental health in such a negative way that you can’t help but feel disgusted at the level of negativity that makes your blood boil.

I don’t suffer from Mental Health, but I support anyone who suffers from Mental Health, but what seriously makes my blood boil and gets under my skin is when someone or some people feel the need to make a mockery of someone or some people who suffer from Mental Health.

I will not lie, I know some close friends of mine who suffer from Mental Health who have self-harmed and it’s heartbreaking for me to know that someone I know is crying for help and they’re not being given the help they need because some feel the need to poke fun at those who cope differently.

I recently worked with Oli Regan on the article: “Are Autism & Mental Health Overlooked? (Parental Guidance is Advised)“, and I talked about an organisation and a guy who felt the need to brainwash many by making those believe that Autism & Mental Health can be cured, when they actually cannot be cured. Oli Regan suffers from bipolar and I give my full respect to the man because he raises awareness to end the negative stigma against Mental Health and has worked with the following charities; Mind – The Mental Health Charity, Time to Change & ReThink. These charities provide information to those who suffer from Mental Health, so in the event you need to seek help regarding your own Mental Health, these charities and other various charities will provide you all the information you need.

Oli Regan described in a segment he filmed for ITV News a short while ago how hospital beds were cut, with some patients suffering from Mental Health being sent miles from home, which ultimately did them more harm than good. What I was extremely cross about was the fact that those who suffer from Mental Health are being left out in the cold and are being ignored and are not being provided the help, support and treatment that they need. I agreed with Oli then and I always agree with him even now and will continue to agree with him in the future that Mental Health is always overlooked, no matter which way things go in this world and at the end of the day, why should anyone suffering from Mental Health have to endure untold amounts of discrimination and pain at the hands of our government and social media? Social media is to blame quite frequently as there are so many people out there who are quick to judge others without realising how their judgmental ways affect others, especially those suffering from Mental Health, Bipolar, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), PND (Post-Natal Depression), Autism and many other conditions that connect to Mental Health.

Why should Mental Health sufferers have to endure discrimination because of what they suffer from? They shouldn’t and it’s social media and many other things that rear their ugly head every time someone seeks help, and I’m sorry, but I am sick and tired of the fact that not much is being done to help all those suffering from Mental Health. A lack of care for those suffering from Mental Health absolutely stinks and I would always give my time and respect to anyone, including Oli Regan, because at the end of the day, Mental Health is something that needs to be acknowledged in this world and anyone who suffers from Mental Health, Bipolar, Autism and any other kind of condition should be made the first priority and should always receive all the treatment that they need.

You can see just from me stating all this that I am clearly furious at the fact that nothing is being done. Well I’m saying this. Mental Health is something that shouldn’t ever dare be ignored. Mental Health should always be acknowledged and anyone suffering from Mental Health should always receive the treatment they need; they should receive the help they need and support lines, the NHS (National Health Service) and any other services that specialise in providing support and treatment to those with Mental Health should always be on hand 24/7, not just every day of the year, but every year, in fact, scratch that, they should always be on hand for life so that any Mental Health sufferer can never be left out in the cold and never be discriminated against, but also to never be ignored.

Just recently, I saw a film trailer for a new film that is due out in cinemas soon called SPLIT, and the words used in the trailer just shows a face, but that person’s face can have many labels surrounding mental health, and that film trailer was something I didn’t agree with because it exploits and suggests that anyone with Mental Health are not as safe as they make themselves out to be, and I personally don’t agree with the film being released as it just adds a lot more of negativity to the stigma against Mental Health that all of us, even myself, want to destroy. I don’t know who was behind this film, nor do I want to know who was behind this film, but personally, I think it’s disgraceful because it exploits Mental Health and it labels those suffering from Mental Health with a bad name and it’s not in any way appropriate in my opinion.

Just before me and my family moved to the house we currently live in back in 2004, my mum suffered a relapse as a result of suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, which she has had since she was diagnosed on the 10th August 2000, which she may have possibly had for more or less her entire life, and she suffered from severe clinical depression that required cognitive behavioural therapy in order for her to be able to cope, to see things from a different light and to eliminate those negative thoughts and the people that contributed to it.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a therapy that allows you to talk about how you feel and allows you to find ways to overcome problems by managing them, which can help you to change the way you think, including the way you behave. CBT is most frequently used to treat and help those who suffer from anxiety and depression, but is also very useful for those who may suffer from physical health problems and mental health problems.

Now I saw an extremely disturbing video on Facebook on Friday 20th January 2017 whilst my internet was down and whilst I was using Mobile Data and the extremely disturbing video in question started off with a film segment from Jurassic Park, followed by a video of a black guy who was born disabled, and so many Facebook users felt the need to laugh and poke fun at this guy because of what he looked like given that he was born with a condition that affected his whole body and himself as a person.

This video appeared on my News Feed after someone I know decided to share it and tag a friend of mine, and this video really got under my skin because this guy was disrespected and laughed at for being born different to everyone else. Obviously, I didn’t hold back for one second because it really, really left me feeling extremely cross and I did use some rude language which, now when I look back on it, did surprise and shock me quite a bit but it just goes to show that if someone is made fun of because of what they look like including the fact that they’re born different to everyone else, of course it is going to get under your skin. It certainly got under my skin and seriously left me fuming. That’s for sure.

I can’t show you the video in question because the Facebook page that uploaded it was forced to take it down due to the controversy it caused, also because of racial stereotyping but I can tell you that it did not sit well with me and a massive number of people who saw the video. Still, it’s a good job it was taken down because whoever the operator of the Facebook page was that uploaded that video among a few others made themselves look boneless and senseless and got too wrapped up in themselves to notice how much it would really upset everyone else.

Again, Mental Health, disabilities, even lifelong conditions should never be made fun of, let alone be ignored. If we can all get together and support all of those suffering from Mental Health, disabilities and lifelong conditions and help them out and provide them the treatment they need, then we can make this world a better place for everyone.

Take this from me. If someone tells you to man up, don’t man up at all, open yourself up and show how you really feel. If you want to cry, then cry, it will make you feel so much better afterwards but more importantly, the sooner you show true emotions, the better you feel and the sooner you show your true emotions, you will realise that you are better off without those who feel the need to say you should man up. Those that tell you to man up clearly get their heads out of their backsides and realise that you are different to everyone else and that we are all born different and not the same.

I cried because I showed true emotions and I didn’t man up for anyone, and I feel so much better now. I was overwhelmed by all of the support I got from everyone but it goes to show that if you don’t man up and instead open up and show your true emotions to everyone, they will realise and know that it’s okay to not be okay and they will come together and support you.

My conclusion is this. Social Media does exploit Mental Health very negatively and to all those that feel the need to poke fun at Mental Health, grow up and get a grip and realise that you are your own worst enemy if you decide to judge and mis-treat others for the sake of your own stupid, self-indulgent and selfish pleasure. This world doesn’t need that and neither does those suffering from Mental Health need it either. I support every single person, including Oli Regan, who suffer from Mental Health, so let’s fight as if our lives depended on it and end this stigma once and for all against Mental Health.

If you are a Mental Health sufferer, if you are someone who suffers from a disability and if you are someone who suffers from a lifelong condition, I have set up a page on this website titled: “Mental Health Organisations”. On this page, I have made sure to outsource website links, contact numbers and company names from other websites that specialise in helping, supporting and treating those who suffer from Mental Health. I am making sure to do my bit as I want to help those who are suffering from Mental Health, disabilities and lifelong conditions.

If you want to join the fight and end the stigma against Mental Health, please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson




Are Autism & Mental Health Overlooked? (Parental Guidance is Advised)

Autism & Mental Health are the types of things no-one, and I mean no-one should be laughing at, and I know that for a fact considering I have friends that were born with Autism and have suffered from Mental Health.

You may be wondering why I am writing this. Well there’s a perfectly valid reason. In the last few weeks, a guy and an organisation, both of who I can’t name for legal reasons because I don’t know their names, believe that Autism can be cured, when actually it isn’t curable.

This comes after a man was secretly filmed who believed that Autism can be cured. Well I can say in my defence that the footage that has been doing the rounds on the internet and on TV is disgusting.

For that guy and the organisation involved to think it’s funny and for them to think that Autism can be cured is disgraceful. Why should I have to hide how I feel about these disgusting excuses for people who think it’s okay to create a mockery of those who were born with Autism and suffer from Mental Health? I’m not hiding what I really think of this whole situation.

OOOOH it makes me so cross! You seriously haven’t the faintest idea how I really feel about this headline. I’m sorry if what I’ve just said came across rude but I am seriously fucked off big time about it. I hate those who think it’s okay to judge someone because they have Autism. I also hate those who think it’s okay to judge someone because they suffer from Mental Health.

Mental Health and Autism have always been known to be very misunderstood, and they have always been the kind of mentions that often get left out in the cold.

I have friends that suffer from Mental Health and friends that were also born with Autism, and I give them full respect all the time, because they deserve my full respect regardless. I wholeheartedly respect everyone with Mental Health and Autism and I respect everyone regardless, but I cannot stand the judgemental types that think it’s okay to make a mockery of someone who was born with Mental Health Problems and Autism.

I recently vented my words of fury on social media after this news headline went out and I did not even for a single second hold back, I made sure to let everyone know how I really felt about the clip and the guy and the organisation that believed that Autism and Mental Health is curable. F.Y.I to the guy and the organisation who claimed that Autism and Mental Health Problems can be cured, SHAME ON YOU!!!

Oli Regan, the famous actor from the upcoming film, GIANTLAND, sent his messages of praise to me on Wednesday 28th September 2016 after I vented my words of fury on social media, and he said himself that: “Mental Health is so overlooked!” and I agree. Mental Health and Autism are overlooked and are always left out in the cold with no consideration attached to it and it’s about time that both were recognised and it’s about time that we all do everything we can to give those who were born with Autism or Mental Health all the support, love and care that they really need 100%.

Oli Regan also suffers from bipolar and mental health, and I couldn’t agree more with why he felt so disgusted with this whole situation regarding Autism and Mental Health being overlooked. I am furious, and I will be honest, I am not prepared, nor will my voice be silenced for the benefit of those that are judgemental.

It is an absolute honour to collaborate with Oli Regan, as he knows what Mental Health is like and how it affects millions of people, but you have to give full respect to him. He knows exactly what he’s talking about as he has suffered from bipolar and mental health his entire life. I will provide links down below that will benefit and help those of you who may be autistic and may suffer from mental health, as I want to do my bit to help out and to do something good.

Below is the short film trailer, Mental Health Awareness, by Oli Regan. It’s worth watching, you don’t want to miss this! His film trailer delivers a powerful message of its own that should never be ignored let alone be forgotten about.

I can honestly say, aside from the controversial clip of that guy and the organisation who made a mockery of those with Autism and Mental Health, it’s an absolute honour to collaborate with the famous actor, Oli Regan, from GIANTLAND, on this topic of discussion, as he has raised awareness of Mental Health on top of Autism, and even though Autism may not be something mentioned or shown in this short trailer, it does send a powerful message that even those who are different to you go through different experiences in life as well as your own.

If you want to see more of Oli Regan’s work, search #DONTMANUP on YouTube and use the same hashtag and spread the word on Twitter. We need to raise awareness for both Mental Health & Autism and now is the time! Also, if you want to raise awareness further, spread the word with the hashtag above and also the hashtag #UOKM8, including the hashtags #MentalHealthAwarenessDay, #IAMWHOLE #WorldMentalHealthDay, #Depression, #Anxiety, #MentalHealthAwareness, #GIANTLAND, #Bipolar, #Pnd and #PTSD.

If you are someone who has Mental Health or Autism, please comment below and I can say this. Never be afraid to speak up on Mental Health and Autism, it’s about time you got your voices heard. Never suffer in silence. Now is the time to really prove a point and to take a stand to end the stigmas of all stigmas that go against Mental Health and Autism. Please raise awareness for Mental Health & Autism.

Alex Smithson

Mental Health & Autism Links

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Weekly Log 6 (Tuesday 9th February 2016 – Thursday 11th February 2016) – Stop-Frame Animation Project

Bringing the Stop-Frame Animation Project Weekly Log collection to an end, here is the final Weekly Log from the Stop-Frame Animation Project, which reflects on what I did in the last week of the Stop-Frame Animation Project, as well as to what I did over the entirety of the Stop-Frame Animation Project.

Research / Context

Following the work that I did in the fifth week of the stop-frame animation project, I started writing up my proposal for this project, as well as to what I would do, including what kind of materials I would need, including how my sock puppet would be useful for the stop-frame animation film, given that I did some research on the Shaun the Sheep Movie, as well as doing some further research based on anthropomorphism and stop-frame animation.

I feel that the research I’ve done so far, including the development of my sock puppet, and the development of my storyboard will relate to my experiments, as I will be able to use these to create my own 30-second stop-frame animation film.

To develop my understanding, I did some extensive research on the Shaun the Sheep Movie and also anthropomorphism, as I wanted to find out how they were able to apply human-like features to the characters in the film, as well as how they created the mise-en-scene for certain parts in the film, including how they adjusted the lighting for different parts of the film as well.

Practical Tasks Done

As I want to be able to move on to doing my final stop-frame animation film, I wanted to storyboard my ideas first by planning out a map of my character, given that my sock puppet character is based on a teacher who is suffering from severe depression after receiving the sack from his job, which leaves him feeling like as if there is nowhere else for him to turn. As my puppet is anthropomorphic (as it has human-like features), I wanted to make sure I could use the puppet’s body movements as a way for me to brainstorm my ideas for my storyboard, so that when it comes to the real thing, I will be able to have a genuine idea as to how I want my 30-second film to turn out.

What I did initially find difficult was that I did become a little stuck with storyboarding, considering that I hadn’t done storyboarding for some time, so I did need to use my sock-puppet to brainstorm the ideas I wanted to put into drawing form.

What worked well for me, however, was I was able to use my knowledge of storyboarding, as well as the research I’ve gathered to create my storyboard, but also have some captions to go with my drawings, as this would help me create more emphasis by using those captions to draw more than one character. In this instance, my sock puppet character, and a different sock puppet character that any of the students in my class developed themselves. A different sock puppet character would also come in handy as this helped me to use my ideas to bring another character into the frame, but the kind of character that would be supportive of someone who is suffering from depression.

To improve, I want to be able to make sure to take certain bits out of my proposal that may not be relevant, and only keep in the relevant information and research, as well as the sock puppet character that I’ve developed, so that this can give me a better chance of being able to produce my final stop-frame animation film.

Critical Analysis

When it comes to composition, I wanted to make sure to adjust and get rid of certain parts of my sock puppet character that didn’t fit well with it, as well as how it could affect what I want to produce for my stop-frame animation film. In this instance, I had made sure to cut the knot I made around the sock puppet’s neck, as I felt that this restricted the sock puppet’s lack of head movements.

I have made sure to improve this by cutting the piece of thread that I tied into a knot off, so that I can give my sock puppet a chance to move its head up, down, left and right, as I’ve felt that this will gradually improve and speed up the animating process when it comes to producing my final stop-frame animation film. I have also done this as I wanted to make sure that I could use its body movements for some ideas that I could use for my storyboard.

I feel that my research/contextual studies that I have gathered over the course of the stop-frame animation project can be applied to help me develop my experiments, as I can use all of the research and ideas I’ve gathered to produce my final ideas before proceeding onto making my final stop-frame animation film.

This Stop-Frame Animation Project Log set has officially come to an end. Check back soon for the first Weekly Log from the Final Major Project that I did back in April.

Alex Smithson