With many huge life changing events happening I was aware I could become anxious and easily blown off course so I was excited to read writer Emma Mitchells’ beautiful new book ‘The Wild Remedy’. In this book she takes the brave step to talk openly about her 25 years of living with depression, known to her as ‘the dark slug’. It’s been a long time coming, at last mental awareness has hit the radar, and now it is something we can openly acknowledge and talk about. Walking the paths and landscape surrounding her Fenland cottage she shows a new way of coping with depression, marking time through the year, celebrating the natural wonders as they unfold with her own original drawings and photographs.
Diary like, each month of the year has its’ own chapter, which includes delightful and detailed wildlife descriptions. With her gentle, quirky writing style she shares her excitement as each natural event unfolds and reveals itself. In March she describes the joy of heading off up the coast to spot a murmuration of starlings. Like having a conversation with a friend her tales reignite my own memories of a teenage evening watching their unconcerned graceful balletic swoops and swerves above the clanking din of London’s’ Leicester Square. Through her text we also learn how in some cases nature watching can be as effective as drug therapy to treat depression and how she uses it to help protect her from the dark clutches of depression.
Through her very personal journey, recording the impact of nature on mood, she talks of the science involved in these shifts, highlighting a variety of research backed ways in which this occurs. Along with her walks and nature observations, botanical drawing is another tool that helps her keep depression in check. Bearing this in mind, wishing to bring a little more calm into my life and reconnect with drawing to I went along to her book event in Waterstones, the evening included a botanical drawing workshop. In the past I drew forever, I loved the necessary stillness that came with it, there’s nothing quite like a moment taken for a closely observed sketch with coloured pencils or washing water colour over a pencil drawing. Emma enthusiastically described the observation process needed to accurately draw and record plants and flowers. By breaking the process into simple steps, she created another gateway into being in the moment.
As much as I wanted to sit down and devour this book in one greedy sitting, I’m going to eke the pleasure out, over months with frequent repeat visits in the following years. At those times when I seek calm I’m looking forward to having the luxury of dipping in and stealing a moment of quiet between its’ pages.
The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us, A Diary by Emma Mitchell
Published by: Michael O’Mara Books Ltd
Emma’s Instagram Page
Here is another book review you might like, go take a look: Book Review - Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchel