I’m 34 and live on the Isle of Wight. I was born here and grew up here until the age of 17 when I moved to London to train in performing Arts. I studied this for 3 years and then at the end of my last year I met my ex husband and moved to Leicester where he was from, it also enabled me to be closer to any potential work that came my way.

I worked professionally for a number of years as a dancer and then a general entertainer. I have also had the luck of working on cruise ships a number of times so have seen quite a lot of the world this way. In 2012 we decided to move back to the Isle of Wight where I set up a business teaching children and young people performing arts. This was a huge success due to huge support we got but unfortunately this was when my bipolar disorder really started to affect me.

I was treated for ADHD as a child (they didn’t treat adults for ADHD back then). Going back to my business it was becoming a success however deep within me my bipolar was heading down the manic phase and over a space of about 18 months just got worse and worse until it ended my relationship and I had a complete breakdown and was hospitalized.

While being in hospital for one month I had some really good quality time to reflect, get some meds into me (first time I had been medicated) and really focus on myself. Once I was discharged after a month I decided to not continue with the business and really since then I have just been focusing on trying to keep balanced which I’ve found difficult.

Some days my moods change rapidly and sometimes I go weeks or months  being in the same mood. The doctors are still  trying their best to get my medication right and I am cared for by my mum. I’m not allowed any where near medication because I take overdoses regularly and all razors are out of the house. I also don’t have any control over my banking or any means to get to any money.

Part of me wishes it was still back before I was admitted as my life was mine, as I feel that now I’m controlled and cared for. However I understand this is for my own good. Since I was discharged in 2014 I have had 3 other admission’s that were short stays to give my mum who cares for me a break. I have had many jobs since 2014 and each one has been successful until I mess it up or decide it’s getting to much. My online shop personifies my belief that if you feel bright on the outside, you'll feel bright on the inside. I believe I am a vibrant and charismatic person. I am in a unique position to do one thing, make people feel better about themselves through fashion.

I realised through my own personal struggles that an important part of a person’s wellbeing is their mental health. It is something that can't be ignored, and people need support from all their peers so that they can have a full and colourful life. I picked the name of this store for two reasons. One, I love out and loud clothes and want to share them with the world and two, I want to be out and loud about my own personal struggles with mental health and Bipolar. I want to point out to people that it's ok to talk about this illness and that it's ok to be open and honest about the way you feel. This way you get stronger, it becomes easier on yourself and the people around you and also you have a support network which is one of the most important things

Now that the shop is up and running, I wanted to give something back to the services that have supported me. To help support people who might not have such a great support network around them as I do; or if people aren’t having the correct treatment to help them become balanced. Also, to support people with the same illness.

With this in mind, I am pledging £1 for every sale made at 'Out Loud Fashion' to the charity Bipolar UK. 

Matt Reed