Bird Therapy began as a blog, on which I explored the therapeutic benefits of birdwatching for people experiencing difficulties with their mental health. Three years later and It’s certainly spread its wings beyond my expectations. I migrated into new environs, writing a number of guest blogs and then some magazine articles. People began to take interest and I recorded some tweets of the day for Radio 4 and appeared in some other publications, such as the ‘i paper’. As suggested to me by a friend, I started to amalgamate my blogs into a more coherent piece of writing and this became Bird Therapy the book.
The problem was, no publisher, niche or mainstream, would take a gamble on the book. Reasons for rejections varied, but generally they said my writing wasn’t good enough. So I went away and worked on it for a few years and after the first year, an editor at the crowdfunding publisher Unbound approached me. i had serious reservations about crowdfunding, due to my obsessive fragility, but I went for it and the book is well and truly funded – with some amazing patrons and a foreword from Chris Packham.
I also speak about my story, experiences and writing and although my talks can be dark, gritty and honest, they share an inspiring and alternative way to find wellness. I’ve spoken at various places such as Cambridge University, the BTO and Cley Marshes NWT. I also shared the stage with Chris Packham at the 2018 Birdfair, talking about Bird Therapy and mental health.
The plan now, is to continue giving talks until the book is published and them I’ll be releasing a secondary-age teaching resource to run alongside it. I’ll then be looking to the future and how I can marry my working life, as an SEN teacher, with my love for birdwatching and passion for raising mental health awareness.
I live with OCD, generalised anxiety disorder and sporadic bouts of depression and speak openly about suicide, drug abuse and socio-economics.