Lizi works in digital marketing. By day, she’s the cheerful, approachable go-to girl for all things social, and by night, she’s the force behind lifestyle blog, Glasses Girl.
“My role is running the day to day social media campaigns for our clients”, she explains. “I also run my own blog on the side, focusing on lifestyle, food and mental health. I created Glasses Girl four years ago and it’s really grown up with me, especially since moving into a creative industry.”
Like plenty of creatives plying their trade in the world of digital marketing, Lizi has endured her fair share of mental health troubles in the past. What separates her however, is an insatiable ability to speak with pure candour when it comes to her respective narrative – something that’s perhaps spurred on by the encouraging environment in which she resides during the working week.
“I feel that in a creative industry, there's more acceptance and understanding of mental health than in traditional office environments - and I’ve read plenty of content on the subject written by like minded professionals.”
At six years old, Lizi’s Dad was diagnosed with primary progressive MS, and from the age of 11 she remembers her Dad’s condition beginning to worsen.
“From that age, helping to care for him became the norm for me, but it put a lot of pressure on me as a teenager at times. I’d feel guilty for simply leaving the house to go to school in case something happened between then and his next care call.
“When I was beginning my final year at university, he passed away and I was faced with the choice of returning to my studies or taking a year out – I chose to continue despite knowing it would be a difficult route to take.”
Dealing with grief at any age is tough, but when you throw in the pressures of the final year of university, the alcohol-oriented student lifestyle that comes with it, and the many other pressures faced by those in their early twenties, it’s easy to see why so many reach out for extra support.
“I was lucky to have an incredibly supportive group of friends and received support from my lecturers, but dealing with grief in such a full-on environment was difficult, especially one fueled by alcohol. I stopped drinking socially for several months as I quickly realised that it was affecting my mental health in a negative way.
“I also sought counselling a few weeks after my dad died as I was having trouble sleeping and concentrating, but was told by the counselor that what I was experiencing was 'normal’, and was simply dismissed.
“Though he personally thought what I was going through was ‘normal’, for me, this was a whole new emotion that I had no idea how to handle, and I found it frustrating that, as a 20 year old student, I was essentially told to go away.”
Despite dealing with huge grief, the disappointing reception from a counsellor that proceeded and the tough decision to finish her degree while dealing with the loss of her father, Lizi remains positive about her experiences, offering positive words of advice for those who find themselves going through a similar ordeal.
“Talk” she states. “The people who say ‘if you ever need to talk I’m here’, take them up on it and don’t feel in any way like a burden”.
And while grief is a personal thing, and something everyone deals with differently, there’s one thing that Lizi is keen to offer to younger creatives working through an experience similar to hers.
“If anyone says ‘look after your mum/dad/sister/brother’ or anyone else in a time when you’re grieving, ignore them – it’s an unnecessary pressure to put on someone who is grieving themselves. Somebody told me this at my dad’s funeral – and it’s something I’ll never forget.”