She searched, she walked, she photographed,, she wrote, she highlighted…………..she kept going in the midst of nearly 2 decades of depression and despair.
This is the story of one women’s personal fight over her own demons.

The aim of these blogs/(web site) is to highlight a journey which is familiar to many, not to portray successes but the struggle within to find any success and peace of mind!

Mines started at a point in my life when I had it all then suddenly wakened to a bad dream and the reality that lay there in. The sad part being it wasn’t a bad dream, what had been familiar suddenly wasn’t familiar, what I believed in didn’t exist. It seemed I had become a victim of a force that I could not free myself from. I struggled to know who I was and the fear of each day that lay before me. My fate seemed no longer to be in my own hands. They speak about heaven and hell, I began to realise there was only one hell, that which lay inside my own mind. There are times when normal people give themselves over to good and evil, having the belief that one is either good or bad. I began over years in time to see the concept of good and evil in my mind as a survival mechanism.

There was no greater book written to demonstrate the theory of good versus evil, than that of Dracula. I found myself on the doorstep of Slains Castle and the Coastline which the writer of Dracula formulated his thoughts to plot out the possible good and evil struggle he found in his own mind. These thoughts manifested into a story which has held the imagination of countless of thousands since its conception.

Similarities – Bram Stoker had a love of the Buchan Coastline and an affiliation with Slains castle. I am not a historian nor even a great reader, simply someone who walks, talks to people, imagines and thinks deeply.
In the worst time of my life and in my own fight for survival I started to walk in the steps of this figure called Bram Stoker. Not even knowing much about him I wondered what took him from his life style in London to this barren looking coastline?

Through this I began to cultivate my own creativity, something that began to come to the fore, in the face of adversity. In the following snippets of writing and my visual presentations, I tried to piece together why Bram Stoker cultivated the Dracula story. A seemingly jolly character, manager of the Lyceum Theatre and writer driven to bring forward a dark sinister figure that gripped fear in all its victims. It should be noted i have no interest in the Dracula story as such, being of a sensitive nature, tend to look at highlighting positive things which are uplifting to others or bringing to fore a good cause.
Looking closely at what I imagined Bram stoker saw and felt about our beautiful coastline was one of the things that helped to piece back the threads of my own life.

“I trod the cliff tops with a sense of fury and obsession, never finding peace till I could equate the darkness and fear that lay within” Jill Cantlay mcWilliam. For me it was to conquer a deep routed depression at times I could see no end.
For Stoker his manifestation of evil was Count Dracula “I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and began to crawl down the castle wall over the dreadful abyss, face down, with his cloak around him like great wings…” Bram Stoker

This man was far from sinister I met him by chance one evening up at Slains Castle, I had my wee video camera with me and was intrigued at such a dramatic figure suddenly appearing! We engaged in conversation, to find he was a goth from Torry in Aberdeen! A lovely man who had no other intention than to be different. I told him of my Stoker’s Footsteps Quest and we proceeded to create a scene then and there to re create the drama. If you can visualise the ‘scene’ and the scene will appear and in this case it was certainly true!
A few other characters came to the fore and I creatively added them to small video snippets, still photographs and a slide show to formalise my masterpiece, not a re run of Dracula, but a re run of the struggle to find me!!
This is to serve several purposes, to highlight the plight of those suffering mental illnesses, mine being Bipolar and to document that the journey of mental illness is a struggle only fully known to the sufferer, but through that journey we can share our experiences, when hope seems to elude us and our achievements seem to turn to dust! One similarity with Bram Stoker, I seem to have the ability to” pick myself up” and “pick myself up” until I can bring it all together.
Jill Cantlay Mcwilliam

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