Citalopram is my buddy…

I haven’t posted for several months. Being let down by a printer and subsequently being unable to send out the Christmas cards, plus other disappointments, work stress, and then bereavement, rather sapped my enthusiasm for drawing, as well as everything else, and I was in a not-very-happy place for several months.

After several panic attacks recently, which I temporarily recovered from, I had a complete meltdown at work three weeks ago and went straight to my GP, my wife leaving her work to join me for support (thank you love). Three weeks of Citalopram later and I feel focussed for the first time in months – the first week was horrible though (possibly side effects but also fallout from my meltdown). I’m no stranger to depression but I hadn’t realised how bad things had become. I knew I felt permanently tired and my mind felt so woolly that it was a massive effort just to concentrate on the simplest task or make a decision. It was only when anxiety attacks started that I knew I was really struggling.

If my lovely friend Jacky ever reads this – thank you so much for your help that morning and for phoning to check on me later in the day. I even forgive you for trying to tempt me with Bounty bars last week. Thanks also to Abi & Tom (and family) for giving me a place to escape to. I’m not usually so open about these things but I’ve decided this is silly at a time when people are trying to be more open about mental illness. This article in the Guardian tipped the balance as I’ve found being creative is a huge help:

This week I’ve had loads of energy and several colleagues have told me how much more cheerful and switched-on I have seemed. The aim now is to try to find a more permanent solution before I eventually have to come off the Citalopram. The difference in me this week has been so profound that I am almost worried it can’t be sustainable and that I am going to crash hard soon.


Our local Alpine Garden Society group persuaded me (and kindly assisted me) to display some work at their joint AGS/Scottish Rock Garden Club show in Kendal in March. This was nerve wracking but was well received (Gold medal) and helped revive my spirits for a while. I’m grateful for the assistance, especially from Frank Hoyle, as I simply didn’t have the skills, energy or enthusiasm to get started.

Abi and Tom’s Garden Plants have kindly offered to sell some cards of my work. They seem to be selling, which is a nice surprise!

With regards drawing, I’ve finished the Indian ingredients piece. We had a trip to an Indian supermarket in Preston to buy some subject matter. The fascinating array of fruit and unfamiliar vegetables was quite bewildering and I could have spent ages browsing. As it was this was the tail end of a hot and tiring day trip so we were keen to get home.

The last things to be added were cardamom pods, cloves and assorted seeds. The cardamom was maddening to draw, and all these tiny subjects required me to use a magnifying glass. Now I need to get a print made as a gift for a friend and will try a local place in Kirkby Lonsdale this time.


I’ve started my next piece of work. It will be a mixed composition involving several species of Geissorhiza. I could potentially do another Massonia but I want to do something colourful for a change.


The winter-growing bulbs in the greenhouse and frames have gone dormant for the summer. This will help give me time for drawing as watering tasks will be reduced. I do have some summer-growers but not nearly so many.

These two aroids (Biarum sp and Dracunculus vulgaris) were among the last of the winter-growers to flower.


Similarly weird are Aristolochia watsonii (from Arizona) and Aristolochia sempervirens (from the Mediterranean) which have flowered constantly now for several weeks.

Aristolochia sempervirens
Aristolochia sempervirens
Aristolochia watsonii
Aristolochia watsonii

Accompanying tunes recently have been an eclectic mix but I’m getting addicted to Pumarosa and have been playing a lot of Beats Antique on Youtube but I have to be very disciplined not to watch their lovely dancer Zoe instead of drawing!