As you may be able to tell I’ve been giving you a bit of a back story and how different events have brought me to where I am today. I’m going to continue with this by sharing how I became a Florist and how it helped me with my recovery.
In 2007 while still looking for answers regarding my mental health and recovering from depression that had left me isolated, I was finally ready to try and go out into the world again. A friend had introduced me to floristry while they themselves were studying for a qualification. She showed me how to make a few pieces and talked about the different things she was learning and the camaraderie amongst the group.
Getting Out There
So I found a short 10 day floristry introduction course through Adult Education. There was the option of a year long training course, but at this point, 10 days seemed intimidating enough; so my goal was to work towards the other course, leading to a qualification, but not until the following year.
I went to the first day of course and met new people and had my first taste of floristry. It was a great sense of achievement, so I told myself; I can do these 10 days and it is not so bad; I just need to focus on the positives and not let my anxiety get the better of me. Then at the end of my first day, the tutor suggested I apply for the year long course. I was terrified; anxiety took over; 10 days was one thing, but a whole year, could I commit to that. I was only now starting to feel like myself again, what if I couldn’t do it.
Despite my reservations, I signed up.
It was nerve-racking, everything in me was telling me this wasn’t a good idea. But at the same time, for the first time in a long while, I was excited for the future and the possibilities. I had found something I was good at, something I could be proud of, which allowed me to be creative.
It wasn’t easy though, as being my own harshest critic, I constantly questioned whether what I was doing was good enough, despite numerous compliments from my tutor and others in the class.
Being able to express my creativity with flowers, gave me an outlet for my thoughts and feelings; despite this niggling voice in my head using every opportunity to criticise what I was doing. In a way it made me stronger and aiming for perfection in every piece I created, just meant that what I had made, was done so with the greatest of care and attention to detail. It may seem morbid to some, but some of my best and most enjoyable floristry work was for funerals. The idea of creating the last gift for a loved one, is perhaps something close to my heart, but also makes it more meaningful, knowing I was helping others to say their final goodbyes.
On a brighter side of floristry, I often found myself making pieces for family and friends, whether that be for Birthdays, Christenings or Weddings. The seasonal nature of flowers and peoples preference for colours and styles, meant no project was ever the same and each brought a new way of working and a chance to be as creative as I could.
Above and below are some examples of my work that over the years I often look back and reflect on; each bringing with it a memory and story. Whether happy or sad, each shows what I can achieve. During difficult times the journey can seem very slow and like an uphill struggle; but there is a better path ahead, if you focus on your goals. Taking the first steps might be the most difficult, but they are also the most important, as every journey has to start somewhere; even if it’s pushed back and has to be constantly started over.
For me, floristry was that first step I needed to get out and meet new people. Although very difficult and making me extremely anxious at first, being around people with similar interests and experiences, soon became a more comfortable situation to be in and gave me the chance to find my hidden talent. It also allowed me to be creative and express myself, acting as a form of therapy, in which I could take time for myself and make something that I was proud of. As much as it was about getting out in the world again and being around others, it also became a lesson in self-care and becoming more aware of my own needs.
It may not work for everyone, as we are all different and have our own challenges and issues to face, but for me personally, going out and finding your thing, whatever that is; meeting new people, a hobby, something you love and something to be proud of, can be a great first step, on a road to recovery.