How this illustrator beat her depression by putting pen to paper

Inspirational. A heartwarming story about self-determination and the will to heal.

The artist Charlotte Reed, who lives in Notting Hill, does an impressive impression of Run DMC. Band member Reverend Run recently came to her stall on Portobello Market and bought her book of the thoughts and drawings that she made when recovering from a two-year period of depression. “He said ‘The book is cool’,” she says, putting on an American accent. “‘You can sign it to Rev Run.’”

Reed’s book, May The Thoughts Be With You, has gone from being a project that she self-published (“a steep learning curve”) during a period of flux, to a bestseller that is being turned into a film, funded by the company who backed TV hit Girls and Beautiful — The Carole King Musical. Reed’s family are already planning who will play them. Her sister “has to be Kate Winslet” while her father fancies himself as Jim Broadbent. It could even see a Hugh Grant comeback, playing his character from Notting Hill because Reed’s book is stocked in that real-life shop.

The drawings of stick figures with light-hearted messages in speech bubbles came out of what Reed, aged 39, calls “an altered mental state”. Removing her pink-flecked furry coat (“an H&M buy”) and tidying her tumbling blonde curly hair after a morning power-walk, Reed recounts how she was working as a legal secretary and living with two friends in Putney “ticking along nicely, not unhappy or majorly happy” when she “spiralled into a dark place” back in 2008. “Over two weeks, I started feeling really strange. I had this sense that I needed to be on 24-hour watch so I didn’t try to kill myself. My mind was racing.” She ended up going to stay with her brother, Richard, the founder of Innocent Drinks, who is five years older than her.

“I called and said: ‘Rich I can’t carry on, I feel I’m going to do something stupid.’ He has a hectic job, the last thing he needs is a crazy little sister going insane, but he’s a practical person so it didn’t seem to faze him too much.” Click here to read Charlotte’s story.

Image| Vicki Couchman
Source | Evening Standard