two creative directors’ candid account of their mental health journeys

Trigger warning: This article may be upsetting to those struggling with anxiety.

Hi, we’re Loren and Bronwyn, a creative director team at MullenLowe Group UK. We love idea-driven ads, falling down TikTok rabbit holes for “research” and using humour as a defence mechanism for our anxiety. As long-time associates of anxiety, we’re inspired to see the world finally start to discuss the importance of emotional and mental health beyond an awareness month or free yoga at work. Thanks to brave trailblazers like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka, we’re seeing a societal shift in terms of normalising what were issues we once had to quietly contend with. We hope by talking about our own experiences here, we can shine a little light of hope for those coming to terms with their own anxiety and open the discussion within our industry.

First off, let’s talk about our personal experiences with the big A.class=”sans”>

Bron: My whole life I’ve been what my mum described as a worrier. I come from a big family and I was always worrying about my siblings or my parents. This resulted in a catastrophic panic attack when I was 13. I didn’t know what it was so I got rushed to the hospital. I was told there was nothing wrong but for the following three years I suffered constant panic attacks, depression and a fear of living and dying. FUN! Only when I was diagnosed did I start to heal. I think knowing what I had had a name and that I wasn’t going crazy was the biggest part of my recovery.

Loren: My dad is 6ft 7. I come from a family of giant humans. So from the day I graced the earth at a whopping 10lb6, I was set to look different to those around me. This led to years of sticking out like a sore thumb and hunching down to fit in. I think I suffered from anxiety as an early teen, I just didn’t know what it was. Fast forward to 25, at work one day, writing scripts for a butter brand, I had a catastrophic panic attack which landed me in bed for weeks and forced me to take time off from work. Nowadays, through meds, meditation, therapy and talking openly and honestly, I, for the most part, have my mental health under control..

So how have you coped with it?class=”sans”>

Bron: At 17, I moved to Italy for university and I noticed that changing my surroundings and keeping my mind stimulated really helped. Coping for me now involves less dramatic measures like ensuring I eat well, get enough sleep and exercise. I know it sounds obvious but doing all those things is hugely important. I can see the signs of my anxiety bubbling too. When that happens I try to talk about it with someone, a therapist or a friend and prioritise self-care.

Loren: Medication. That was the first step. Without it my brain was too foggy to see clearly and start the journey to accepting my anxiety and living with it.

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