Emma’s Story

Northumberland based freelance cartoonist Emma Friel, wants to bring awareness to how we're all doing mentally and help others to gain healthier coping mechanisms by sharing 'Crumbs of Wisdom' via pigeon illustrations on her website moodypidge.co.uk

 

 

As a neurodivergent kid that just kind of slipped through the cracks, I kind of had to learn a lot of things and come to terms with the fact that while I didn’t get the help I needed back then, it’s not too late for me.

In a nutshell, my mental health experience is coming to terms with a misguided undiagnosed and then very overdue autism re-diagnosis, a possible ADHD diagnosis and learning about how these symptoms manifest and how I can work with them rather than against them. As a neurodivergent kid that just kind of slipped through the cracks, I kind of had to learn a lot of things and come to terms with the fact that while I didn’t get the help I needed back then, it’s not too late for me. I also came to terms with the fact that I’m not the only one this happened to and that this will probably continue to happen to others for a long time to come. If there’s any little good I can make out of sharing my work and sharing my story, it’s that I can use my experiences to help those in my position feel a lot less alone.

When going through counselling, I set myself homework- since I had a difficult time explaining and describing my emotions in words, I created little pigeon characters I had based off of my moods and began to create illustrations with them. I found it was a very helpful way for me to express myself and have people actually understand me for once.

I also began to use the pigeons as a way to help me remember self care affirmations and advice, which has since become my regular series “Crumbs of Wisdom”, uploaded to my website and social media every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The pieces can range from affirmations like “Progress, not perfection” as well as some lessons that are a bit harder to swallow “People won’t always forgive you”. I wanted to take better care of myself mentally while still staying grounded and taking responsibility for myself.

I shared my pieces online for inktober and was surprised at all the encouraging comments people had and their requests to see more. So I started to delve more into the characters themselves and bring them more to life, while sharing their ‘wisdoms’; the lessons I learned in therapy or life in general. I wanted to explore self care and looking after myself without getting stagnant or allowing my struggles to get the best of me. This is a big reason why the pigeons have such different personalities. As said before, they originally personified around my moods as a way for me to track how I felt every day. But now they’ve become a great way to share all sorts of advice with all sorts of people!

I was introduced to the Northumberland Recovery College through my amazing social prescriber Alison Elsender and I decided to attend some of the courses, online over the Covid-19 pandemic. Through these courses, I’ve got to learn so much more about emotions, how and why they work, how to manage them and healthier ways to cope with the stresses of life. As well as this, I’ve been able to connect with more people in the community and expand my mind to experiences other than my own. The course has been amazing and I hope to learn even more through it so that my work can help even more kinds of people from all walks of life!

Click here to meet the CRUMBS! https://www.moodypidge.co.uk/about

They originally personified my moods as a way for me to track how I felt every day. But now they’ve become a great way to share all sorts of advice with all sorts of people!

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