After a shocking diagnosis, Simon Brown persevered through personal struggle to create something positive. TheBerlinClub. talked to the inspiring creative about his journey to the present day.
3 minute read
“I want to leave my family something that will outlive me…”
Simon Brown was 43 when he received the news. Diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s, three years of isolation & loneliness followed. Having almost given up, Simon outlines to us the defining moments in his life that compelled him to change his perspective on the world.
Interview: Sam // Words: Ollie
The Past For The Present. //
Prior to any diagnosis & boasting an extensive resume within the design world, Simon's future seemed clear: “I had a promising career & was doing all the training to develop further. I had the notion that I should get my head down for a few years & work hard, then I could make some money & just start doing my job remotely".
One diagnosis later & this once "idyllic" future was stripped away: "When I started developing Parkinson's, work became so much more difficult...I lost all motivation. I was doing all this now unfulfilling work that was put on my desk which just made me feel awful. The trouble was there seemed to be very little else I thought I could do at that point in my life. When you have a condition like mine, you realise the system is f**ked! There is so little in the way of good advice…I went from having this leadership position at my company, to being on sick leave & getting kicked out the door, it felt like total madness”.
Simon reveals how this moment was the beginning of change in his personal journey: “I called up the helpline on a particularly bad day to tell them about my situation & how I felt. The person on the end of the phone listened, understood & stated calmly that I didn’t have to go through this alone…that really got me thinking”.
A creative by profession, that conversation sparked an idea. Drawing on his experience & expertise, he helped to build an ark, where people with his condition can come to not feel alone. “I want to help others with my condition, just as others have helped me...Parkinson's slows the production of dopamine in the brain &, as a result, you lose all motivation & enjoyment...that is why I set up Dopamine Disco” he adds.
As dancing & other creative arts play a role in preventing the disease by helping to generate dopamine, Simon runs events through his business where those with Parkinson’s are able to come together to express themselves & counteract the condition to the sounds of techno. The first event is taking place at Sheffield’s illustrious Yellow Arch Studios on the 18th August & Simon is hopeful that with the support of organisations & individuals alike, this is the first step on the path to something bigger.
The Future & Leaving a Legacy. //
“I want to leave my family something that will outlive me. I have this memory of me at Christmas with my family, watching my kids open their presents, a moment that should have been so rewarding…instead I just felt so down. I knew at that point that I had to do something to help myself" Simon explains.
Beyond just personal gain, Simon is driven to pursue a purpose far greater: “Now I’m starting to do all of this, I’ve noticed that there’s lots of goals I want to complete - I know I won’t get it all done, but put simply I want to inspire people with everything I’m creating & leave a legacy…something of value to others. It has been a long time coming, but I want to help others by expressing who I am & what I’ve been through…you’ve got to set these big goals in order to keep you going!”.
Follow Simon & the Dopamine Disco Journey at @DopamineDisco
Dopamine Disco Event: Sunday 18th August 2019 4:20pm start.
Admission is free. Donations welcome.