Meet Darren!

On Tuesday, I announced the three beautiful individuals, that were selected by my family, to receive birthday gifts from Growing Self. Yesterday, I introduced you to Kelly!   Today, I would like to celebrate the kind, talented and botanical God, Darren.  Here is his story…♥

Meet Darren – a.k.a. “Super D”


So I am supposed to write about me? Well, like most bloggers, I often do that anyway as it is a subject I know quite a bit about – though my wife insists she knows more.

So who am I? Well here is a starter:

Full time lab rat. Part time artist, plantsman, gardener, naturalist, sci-fi geek, gym bunny, musician, comedian, blogger, photographer, caffeine addict, recovering depressive and wannabe gigolo.

I was born in 1966, back when the world was still in black and white, and am still thinking about growing up.

I live in NW England. It rains a lot and there are sheep.

What do you mean, ‘no, seriously’?

The above pretty much sums me up really. I suspect Roda wants something a little more in-depth..

What brings me joy? I have always loved nature. The perfection of a flower or and insect’s wing and how as you focus further in and see more detail they just become even more wondrous. I bought myself a microscope when I was 11 and am still exploring nature 40 years later, with even more enthusiasm. The way nature adapts and grows to fill every life possibility is a lesson to us all I think.

How have I grown over the past year? Well this is quite a story! A year ago I was in the depths of one of my worst depressive episodes in decades. I had a breakdown in mid summer and was prescribed Citalopram. This improved my mood enough to start taking steps, including reviving my long neglected blog. I started reaching out and connecting with other like-minded bloggers. Some of these people have become true real-life friends who bring me joy every single day with thoughtful messages, comments and gifts. My day always starts with checking my e-mail and WordPress for news from my friends.

The loneliness I had felt for years has gone. I have found a sense of family.

My new friends have encouraged me in my efforts to grow and fulfil my dreams. Feeling loved and supported has made me so much more brave and willing to push my limits. Most recently I started to learn to swim at 51. This week I swam my first length and it made me SO happy. My dream of scuba diving on a coral reef is now a step closer!

I am working toward selling my art and collaborating with friends on blogging projects too. I am busy but happy for the first time in so long.

How have I learned to love myself? By listening instead of dismissing compliments, often from the same friends above. I started to accept that maybe my self-perception had been skewed for a long time and maybe I am an OK guy after all.

What challenges have I overcome in my life? The biggest was the scars left by my childhood. I drafted a bog post about this once but it was so painful that I could not bear to publish it and have only shared the full story with one person. It culminated in a suicide attempt at 17 and a lifetime of self-esteem issues and depression which in turn led to loneliness. I have fought back on occasions before but in the last six months there has been what feels like a permanent shift back into the light, as I have already described.

Growing Self was one of the first blogs I followed when I returned to blogging and has inspired me in many ways; from Roda’s sublime photography, her lovely family and her critters. Her love of flowers and nature but most of all because of Roda’s loving and sunny heart. I know where to go if I need a smile or to feel some warmth. Thank you Roda for bringing sunshine to the lives of your loving friends over the last year and long may you continue. Darren

To learn more about this talented man, visit his blog…

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…



40 thoughts on “Meet Darren!

  1. This is an awesome letter. I must of read it about five or six times since it was first published and every time it makes me smile. I have a big smile on my face right now even if it’s late and I am tired. It deserves a couple of hundred likes. Why can’t we hit the button more than once? Love you both very much!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. This is a wonderful and personal post Darren. So glad that you are here with us today! I am 51 as well and know that life is tough, ugly and hard. I also know that blogging has made a big difference in my life as well and I have seen the positive side. Life can be fun, exciting and joyful 💕

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’d like to think I am moving beyond that, and most days it does seem true. Then, every so often I find myself wondering if I have really made as much progress as I think I have 😊

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think we all have those doubts some days. I think pushing myself physically is sometimes a displacement activity to justify not making much progress elsewhere. Look at it this way – when I first read your comment my immediate response was to want to reach out to you as a friend.
        You see – you are certainly not invisible any more 🙂 You are loved by your friends here. This means progess doesn’t it?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Thank you Darren! Obviously we see these journeys as the long haul, two steps forward and one step back, but yes, progress overall. I am trying to focus on the positive momentum, which is getting easier I am happy to say. I just want to stay vigilante and never go back! I am sure you can relate, my dear friend😊💕

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I totally agree with Dominique and Dee Dee. I only wish we had a button that says LOVE in addition to LIKE. Darren is one of my favorite people ever and when I think about all he’s been through I am so thankful for WordPress. It has helped us all in one way or another. 51, huh? I get to be the old woman at 57! As my mother would say: “I’m older than you are and you must respect your elders.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Linda, you are one of my WP family and I get so much from our friendship. We are so alike in many ways! I’m not going to respect anyone just because they are older than me (hell – Donald Trump is older than me so no way!) but I will respect you because you deserve that respect.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You just made me feel young – quite an achievement!

        For an old guy my performance at the gym last night was astonishing and my trainer had to keep giving me harder options for everything. It felt great but I am really paying for it this morning….

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I love this so much. To see the change that’s come about in Darren’s life from friends on this amazing platform and his own blogging and personal growth is just so heartwarming. Thank you for sharing it. So many similarities in what Darren shared and my own life, truly this warmed my heart.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Darren is such a talented and amazing human being! His sense of humor is brilliant. His talent takes my breath away. I aspire to be more like him artistically, have you seen his botanical drawings, if you haven’t you must. He is also the botanical genius! I’m am thankful for WP, otherwise I would have not have met him, he has enriched my life so much.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thank you for sharing Darren’s story with us, Roda. Your kindness knows no bounds.

    Darren, I too struggled with depression and one of my first steps towards overcoming it was blogging. Linda has also showed me the biggest of hearts and I’m forever grateful to her. Keep on planting. Must check out your blog. XX

    Liked by 3 people

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