“I would spend days crying for hours on end. It led me to believe heaven and hell are not places, they are thoughts.” Local, Scott Andrews, also known as The Travelling Alchemist, tells us more about his project, ‘Man Up, Man Down’. A book of 50 stories and photos of men and their mental health journeys. The stunning, soul revealing photos are achieved by using an age-old photography process called wet-plate.
“I created the ‘Man Up, Man Down’ project shortly after going through a very dark phase in my life, in 2019 which lasted about 6 months. I was alone, having just come out of a relationship. I lost a lot as a result of that.
“I had trouble even leaving the house, I suffered severe anxiety and depression. I felt like everything was ending, my whole world was turned upside down. I would spend days crying for hours on end. Anytime I wasn’t in public I would be crying and this just got worse and worse.
“Thankfully, I eventually spoke to my GP and started on medication, it took time, but slowly I came good over the next six months or so.
“I woke up in the middle of the night, and just knew I was feeling better, it was literally like someone had flicked a switch! Creative ideas came flooding in, which use to be normal for me.
“The overriding idea, was this book project. It was like a massive download poured into my body, I felt awake again, it was such a relief to say the least.
“So, after all of this, I knew I had to help as many people as possible suffering with mental health issues. I decided to focus primarily on men as I know first-hand, they are not very good at talking about their feelings and emotions.
“The project has been received overwhelming well and I have met some amazing, brave people through the process. Making this book has helped with my own recovery from that dark place, as I have met and spoken with so many men. I feel like I am not alone with my struggles.
“If a man is sitting by himself, he can look through the pages of this book, read some stories and hopefully get some comfort and choose to stay in this world.
“I am so grateful that all this has happened to me, as hellish as it was, as now I truly know my calling in life. I had always searched for it and could never quite work out what my role was in this lifetime – now I know and for that, I am eternally grateful.”
Scott would like to thank his major sponsor Teresa Hanlon, who has been by his side from the beginning, and Hanlon Industries. Also, Print Design Australia, Dion Beasley the second sponsor, who are printing the book, here in Geelong.
“A large proportion of the profits from the book will go to local charities www.rightmate.org.au , www.bereavement.org.au and the www.geelongfoundation.org. I propose to use the same project model to produce books and fundraise for other charities.”
Instagram @thetravellingalchemist / @manupmandownproject
Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: Scott Andrews