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50

Discussing Mental Health with Abi Lemon

An interview with
Abi Lemon

Introduction

Mental health is a serious topic and all too common in the design industry, but due to fear most of us keep our problems private, and some never seek help.

To encourage people to open up, to talk about their problems and get the help they need, in this episode Ian interviews Abi Lemon to have an honest and open discussion about the challenges they’ve both faced with mental health, how they acknowledged they had a problem, how they sought out help, and how they’ve come through the other side with a positive outlook on life.

We also discuss toolkit ideas to focus on positivity, thoughts on imposter syndrome, how to work on personal development and a few book recommendations too.

Abi Lemon is the founder of Brand Pharmacy, focusing on adventurous outdoor brands.

Abi Lemon Interview Transcription

Ian Paget: On Facebook I’ve noticed you openly share your story about mental health. And as someone who suffered from anxiety, I appreciate the honesty and openness. Mental health isn’t discussed enough in the design space. And that’s why I thought it’d be great to get you on the podcast so that we can have a honest and open chat about this. And I hope it would help someone out there. I think to start the discussion, can I ask you to share with us your story and how mental health has played a part in your life?

Abi Lemon: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So mental health has always been something that, even if I didn’t know, it has played a massive part in things that have happened to me and things that I’ve done and therefore my life.

I guess even in childhood, I remember feeling different from other people. I remember being a very shy and kind of a bit of loner, if you like, as a kid, right up to now. And I was actually diagnosed with bipolar too in 2014 and have had over the years probably more clinical depressive episodes than I have hypermania.

So it’s kind of my story from kind of, I guess, a teenager that I did seek out quite a lot of dangerous behaviour. I was always, you know, I’ve been through phases of spending so much money that I don’t have and having these random, crazy patches to absolute black episodes where I’ve not been out of bed. I’ve contemplated the worst, shall we say? You know, I’ve thought about driving my car off the road. I’ve had some … Although I’ve never acted on anything like that. The thoughts of it being just too painful to go on and that life is just too much have been present on for three several periods over the last, I would say, 25-odd years.