• Annie Bocock

In Mental Discussion With: Annie Bocock

Annie Bocock has been in a battle with worry for as long as she can remember, but that doesn't stop her from being a multi-skilled powerhouse in any field she enters...

Annie joined the TEDxBrayfordPool stage in November 2019, at our Youth event, talking about her experience of mental health at university, and how there needs to be national university-wide change in the way our institutions support the well-being of students. She always does a lot, but since dropping out of university she: writes these blogs (is the Content Creator) for TEDxBrayfordPool, is the founder of Art for Messy Beings, is the Social Media Coordinator for Role Models Yorkshire, has written for publications such as the Guardian and BBC Bitesize and has done a variety of other bits and bobs alongside her day job as a Retail Assistant.

For once I sit in the same room as her, in the same space as her, as I am Annie Bocock. Which makes this interview considerably easier.

I don't ask the first question, or any of them, aloud. I'm not weird. “Hello Annie, who are you?”

She smiles, resisting the urge to cheekily type "I am you", and proceeds...

"I’m Annie and I’ve always described myself as a mess. Dancing to the beat of my own drum and getting stuff done in the meantime. Formally I’m a University of York alumni (but not graduate) who left after I struggled with a plethora of mental health issues. I’ve spoken numerous times about my mental health, including for the Guardian and BBC Bitesize, and of course on the TEDxBrayfordPool stage. I currently work as a Retail Assistant by day but by night I’m a Content Creator for TEDxBrayfordPool (which means I’m writing this interview… with myself), Social Media Coordinator for Role Models Yorkshire, Founder of Art for Messy Beings and a general do-er.

I’m an activist, creator, writer, fundraiser, budding international development superhero and everything in between."

"Thank you for repeating exactly what I just said about you and for making me look lazy."

She just grins, at her own joke.

"Moving on, what inspired you to give a TEDx talk?"

"I initially saw an ad for it on Facebook on the bus one day. It was always a goal of mine to deliver a TEDx talk and I knew that reasonably fresh out of a terrible university experience that this was what I needed to talk about. The pain mentally I faced there and the lack of comprehensive support offered made it a necessity for me to speak out about it, and how it can be better."

"Why do you openly describe yourself as a mess?"

"I think there's something important about acknowledging that you're not always that hyper-confident, professional, productive, doing-work-at-your-desk-whilst-drinking-herbal-tea kind of person. I recognise that I'm more than capable at most things I do, but the way I do them sometimes: whether it's slouched in bed at 2am or with an array of panic attacks, is unconventional and maybe "messy". None of us always present ourselves as crisp and clean, even though our work will be, and I think that's important to embrace. To truly let yourself be human in everything you do."

"Why did you decide to interview yourself in this way?"

We answer: "I've always liked to write in interesting ways or in perspectives that are fun to write, like this one. I like experimenting when I write and finding little niches to inject detail. This is why I have written this the way I have!"

”Okay quick fire! Three words to sum up the TEDx experience?

"Panic, relief, pride."

“Favourite TEDx Talk?”

"Storyteller Sirens: a tribute to iconic women in the arts | Melody Clark"

“Favourite book?”

"I think books by George Orwell have inspired me to write the way I do. To think the way I do."

"Finally, on a more topical note, what did you think of Tiger King?"

"It was interesting! I have been reluctant to watch Netflix documentaries for a while as I think they're very sensationalist but Tiger King is super interesting. I personally think some of the other big players in the big cat industry need investigating and I don't believe that Carole Baskin killed her ex-husband. I also don't appreciate the fervent misogyny towards her throughout the entire series."

"I agree! Thank you for talking to me Annie."

I mentally say, "You're welcome."

You can watch my (Annie Bocock's) talk here.



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