Euphoric Recall is a local artist and long term supporter of Helping Hands Community Hub. Josh has suffered with mental health his whole life and channelled his mental health journey into something beautiful - art.
Euphoric Recall has spoken at our mental health awareness events and provided us with some incredibly thought provoking designs for our merchandise that you can purchase in our online store, all profits going towards running more mental health awareness events to support our community.
"I have struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. One of my most prominent childhood memories is hiding behind my mum’s legs whenever we’d bump into someone in the shops. It always felt like a bit more than just being shy. Things got particularly bad in my late teens. I was struggling to talk about how I felt, and I hadn't ever heard of the term anxiety until one day, when one of my friends pulled me aside and said that I think you might be suffering from anxiety. It just made sense. I’d never been able to put a finger on why I couldn't speak to people in public or even get on the bus without an overwhelming sense of fear. I thought I was the only one and it definitely led me to feel isolated.
In 2014, I was finally diagnosed with general and social anxiety disorders, but by the time I received therapeutic support, I had also developed some problematic coping mechanisms. I was using alcohol, drugs and self harming to try and control the whirlwind of emotions that I felt constantly. It was as if on top of my anxiety, I was missing a layer of skin that led me to feel emotions in a particularly raw way. My inability to express what was going on in my head was a mixture of being worried about what people would think and not understanding what was even happening with me. That’s one of the issues with mental health, even today it can be hard to open up or to even have the vocabulary to do so. It’s never easy but I think a big part of removing mental health stigma is overcoming our own fears about judgement or being misunderstood.
My inability to open up led to my use of alcohol turning into dependency. In 2018, I entered a residential rehab to treat my addiction issues, but this was a very challenging environment for someone with numerous anxiety disorders. As my self-harm continued, there were questions of if the rehabilitation centre could support my needs, which made me feel almost inhuman and even more of a failure than I already felt.
I had built up so much fear of talking about my emotions, but the mask that I wore had become too heavy for me to keep up. I started to open up about my struggles and I was heard. I was referred to my local community mental health team and eventually was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I'm now nearly three years sober and self harm free, and while the road has been challenging, it has been the best thing I’ve ever done.
I'm very lucky in the support that I have gotten along the way, from mental health and recovery teams, to my friends, family and partner. I've also picked up some tools along the way that have helped me manage my emotions. Art in particular has given me an outlet when words have failed me, helping me express my emotions and share my journey with others. Through my work and my Instagram page, I strive to de-stigmatise the difficult feelings we all feel each day, as well as document my mental health journey. It’s crazy when I think five years ago I struggled to catch a bus and now I go to art fairs and sell my work in person. I've connected with some amazing people and have been part of some powerful projects. All of this was because I've opened my mouth and spoken my truth."
To listen to an audio version of this blog post click here: (coming soon)