Time to talk?

Today is time to talk day. A day that hopes to get people openly talking about mental health. From calling on a friend you know is unwell, or just asking, how are you really doing?
I thought about this quite a lot, getting myself fairly upset in the process of looking back on my illness. I’ve suffered with depression since my teens and have had various bouts of illness over the years, each with their own individual twists and turns. In early 2012 I had a very bad episode, a breakdown, I had to have 7 months off work. I couldn’t leave the house for 3 months, but as I started to improve, I needed some interaction again. I’m not going to go into the grim details, well, not today anyway, but people’s reactions to my severe illness at this time was varied.
Most people kept away, some have never been in touch since. I assume they had heard of my mental state and decided they couldn’t be bothered. It does take patience to talk to someone who is unwell, often cognitive abilities, and social awareness are impaired.
Some visited me once, and were afraid. I was clearly not myself, and to see someone that spaced, sad, tearful and out of control is not easy. So the didn’t come back a second time.
A few had the guts to talk often, visit, even take me out somewhere now and again. They could put up with my sad, out of control feelings and reactions, and for this I am eternally grateful.

Now as I continue on my journey of recovery, there is a different situation. People tend to think that I’m better, I’m no longer depressed, over, done, dusted. If only. I’ve had to get my head around the fact, I’m not going to get better, it’s not going to disappear. I have to learn how to cope with the depression, the shadow that follows me around, forever. So I have to look out for my self a bit more, take my meds and be sensible. I’m gradually getting better at spotting the signs and triggers that I’m not doing so well. This is an important one for me as I’m very good at living in denial and hiding away.
But people don’t see this ongoing battle. They see Andi who is back working and confident, she is fine! So often on my bad days when I’m battling my mood, tired and struggling to stay in control, they don’t understand that it’s my illness. They might call me negative, grumpy or tell me to cheer up. They don’t know It’s that dark bit of myself that I’m having to confront once again.

So if you know someone has been through something tough with mental health, remember its probably ongoing. They probably need to do certain things to keep themselves well. So be patient with us! We are trying, and we do need your support, for the long haul.
Those of you that have been with me through this, thank you. image


I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, so, here we go! I hope to include all my interests and hope it’s worth a read to some people. 

My Name is Andi, I’m 31, single and live in Ipswich.

I’m a musician, singer and improvisor. I love jazz, soul, pop and anything else that moves me, grooves or makes me go Ahhh. I’ve studied since I was a child, at first classically trained, moving onto college, then an MMus in Jazz at GSMD. I’ve been gigging around since my teens! Im a freelance singer, arranger, choral leader, workshop leader and any other musical roles the arise. I run a community choir called Suffolk Soul Singers based in ipswich. And I’m also an educator, teaching singing at Anglia Ruskin University and lecturing at Suffolk New college.

I’m active within the musician’s union, and am currently and elected member of the executive committee. As a musician myself I feel strongly about issues relating to our members and like to feel part of making a change for my fellow musicians. I also like to feel the wider solidarity with trade unions and organisations. I think now more than ever this is of great importance.


Through my trade union activism I have become a Labour Party member. I’m definitely to the left of labour and very much a socialist. I have recently become more active within Ipswich Labour and Ipswich young labour. I am standing as a Labour councillor for Gainsborough ward in ipswich for the may local elections. So I will be campaigning hard for this!

And then there are the other things, that i don’t talk about often, maybe a bit more personal….

I’m interested in mental health issues because of my own experiences with ongoing depression. I was diagnosed when i was 16 and i feel that only now am i beginning to understanding my condition. It is often the way that mental health is reguarded by others that defines our illness and the treatment and care available from mental health services varies wildly from month to month.


I’m also a dog owner, my dog Bessie is a miniature long haired dachshund. I like snooker mostly as a spectator, occasionally as a terrible player! Pool is more manageable and still enjoyable. Im also a coffee addict, love the stuff in all it’s many forms and froths. I sometimes get a bit crafty if I have time, doing a bit of drawing, painting or making jewellery.

Quite a random mix of things that all go to make the me I am now. 

Work Not Play – fair pay for musicians



Work Not Play: Fair pay for musicians

We are concerned at a growing trend of professional musicians not being paid for their work.

In this era of illegal downloading, live revenue is incredibly important and musicians rely on it to be able to survive.

Most musicians are not well paid and therefore music fans need to join this campaign to ensure that music continues to be a viable profession.

Music- Jazz- Singing- Sax- Teaching – Coffee -Lefty lady Labour Councillor- musicians Union- politics- sausage dogs