25.02.19


Mental Health and TV Freelance Life.Mental Health and TV Freelance Life.

Don’t panic this isn’t a massive deviation in the usual nature of this blog.

It’s just the usual ramblings of thoughts committed to a document but with a slightly more serious subject matter than usual.

So. Mental Health.

There’s a big scary title for you isn’t. Maybe that’s a good place to start.

I was fortunate to work on the BBC2 project called Mind Over Marathon where the documentary followed people with mental health problems training for, and running, the “Mind” London Marathon, and whilst like all good jobs it introduced me to some great people that in normal life I wouldn’t have run into, it opened my eyes to what “Mental Health” really is.

Mental Health isn’t about being either “Normal” or “Crazy”, we all have a mental health we should look to take care off. For some, their mental health causes them crippling issues which effects every minute of every day, for others certain things trigger certain reactions and for some it might be that something comes along and knocks you off your stride a little and you struggle to get hold of the answer.
I fall into the latter. That’s why I’m writing this blog I suppose.

As some will know I’m a fairly recent Dad, the Twins had their 2nd birthday this week gone, and that has changed everything, as you would expect.

What it has also done is changed the way I look at money and my job. This is where my Mental Health needed a little check up in the last couple of weeks.

A returning series that I have been working on for a couple of years was scheduled to come back in January this year, so after a lovely Christmas with the Kids and Abbie I trundled back to work on the 7th of January. Four full weeks later the first block was done and I was heading home. BUT. All I was doing was looking at my bank account, looking at an empty diary in the immediate future, seeing other recordists posting on social media looking busy and thinking about what it costs to keep home life ticking along, it wasn’t a pretty picture I was painting for myself was it. What I wasn’t doing was keeping my feet on the ground and, most importantly of all, keeping a clear head, but I wasn’t able to see that. I wasn’t able to see the usual way I deal with this when something like this happens.
I would say that I suffered a very mild bout of anxiety. There you go. I said it. I had a mental health issue. See it’s not too scary is it. I’m sure all freelances on reading this blog would say they’ve had feelings that I’ve described in the paragraph above, but would the same amount of people use the language I’ve used in this paragraph? Probably not?

I saw a post from another TV crew member that was about Anxiety and Mental Health, which ran along the lines of what words described how they were feeling at that moment. I also knew that this person had been quiet at work for a while and their diary hadn’t had the bonus of a January like I did, that was the first stage in me clearing my head. The second thing that came to clear the fug was realising that I had two full weeks of outstanding invoicing to be paid and that all the weighty invoices, bills and policy renewals had already been taken care of. The final thing was getting two emails that were both looking to book on jobs that had the budget and maybe more importantly at that time needed some thought going into them. All these things brought my feet back to ground and stopped my brain whirling round and around in circles.

What this couple of weeks has taught me is that it’s ok to get a bit stressed and wound up about things as long as you can keep perspective and keep your eye on all the facts that you are dealing with as well.

Mental Health effects everyone, in one way or another, on one level or another.

If you’re suffering with your mental health working in TV YOU ARE NOT ALONE! The Guild of Television Camera Professionals have organised their own help as they have recognised the need for it. See the link below.

http://www.gtc.org.uk/media/fm/Zerb-articles/Zerb-Mental-Health-Supplement-WEB.pdf

I’m no Mental Health expert by admitting anything or writing this blog. One thing I would say, don’t take social media to seriously. Like I said, I saw people posting about being busy, having fun and my most hated hashtag “Todays Office” and I started to question whether it was something to do with me rather than something in the industry.

If you’re not 100% mentally, do me a favour when you turn on insta or facebook? Don’t take it to heart. No one posts without making an effort these days, I know I don’t, especially when it comes to photography. The very least people do is see something and they’ll think “That’ll be good for insta”, it’s not a “snapshot” of their daily life, if it was it would be very boring wouldn’t it. Have you seen a insta story that takes you from someone waking up late to no milk in the fridge for a morning cuppa, to missing the bus to getting soaked to the skin on the way to work as they now have to walk to dropping the £5 latte down themselves to stepping in dog shit just as they get to the office. No?

No. The picture you see is just one from the studio they are in for the rest of the day which looks lovely and glamorous as it’s been lit by a professional and dressed by a designer. Reality?

So maybe that’s the answer, every time you see a post that makes you feel a bit “unworthy”, stop, look at the person and think “They’ve probably get dog shit on their pumps!”


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Geraint@cochynsound.tv

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