Thursday 30th March 2017 was a fantastical day for me. With very short notice (which in high insight worked only in my favour) I was invited to London to speak to a small group of brave and inspirational fighters of ill mental health. All four of us had very different experiences of ill mental health, yet became United when we all acknowledged how empowering both embracing and communicating our experiences have been rewarding and healing on our journeys to recovery. My consistent contact with my support worker for example, talking, sharing and expressing my feelings to her are both refreshing and therapeutic. Some people talk to friends, lovers, family, psychiatrists, whom ever you talk to, a huge part of the healing affect that, that gives you, mostly comes from within, because you have allowed yourself to acknowledge and release!
There are still so many misconceptions about mental health, the subject carries an awful lot of stigma and negativity and is still often considered as a, “Taboo” subject. Until people are brave enough to speak out, loud and honestly about their experiences within the realms of mental health, we cannot blame people for their ignorance and misunderstanding. The best way to educate people about mental health is to speak openly about it, not to be ashamed and feel like you have a dirty little secret. Bottling up leads to denial and increases pain and suffering. Acknowledging and sharing your experiences helps you to process and is a huge step towards recovery. People need to speak and people need to listen, embracing this attitude creates a safety net, takes the weight off your shoulders and brings people together.
Celebrities are starting to admit and share their mental health experiences, the platform of networking that they have means more and more people are becoming aware that mental health exists, that people from all walks of life can have episodes and highlights the fact that it is OK and actually quite common to be vulnerable.
Suffering from BPD, Anxiety, Depression and psychosis myself, I have many stories to tell and share about my experiences, what it is like to be me hour by hour, what being institutionalised is like, how successful/incompetent NHS Mental Health Care staff can and cannot be. The list goes on…
The saddest thing is that even though more and more people are acknowledging and accepting that mental health is just as important as physical health, the budgets just keep getting cut. I am personally fundraising for a community and family friendly festival to celebrate mental health awareness and also donating the majority of the proceeds to “Changing Minds” charity, who distribute the money they receive between Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust. I don’t have a huge networking platform or a huge social media following. I am just no one in particular that is trying to do an extremely good thing whilst simultaneously suffering with mental health and fighting to stay on the road to recovery. It has nearly been a year since my last hospital admittance. Hooray! Yet realistically I could quite easily relapse tomorrow, staying safe and alive are two extremely difficult tasks for me. I am fortunate enough to have both family and professional support and I do communicate but even I often edit the truth, hold back on being completely free and sharing because I don’t want to go back to hospital! So please don’t feel that I do not understand how hard it is to voice and share how you feel and how you are or are not coping. The idea is that once initiated, it may get easier. I think at the very least, this is a great avenue to explore and if it is difficult, try to persevere. Nothing is easy but your life is worth fighting for.
Please check out the BBC link, I feature just after 20 minutes in…
Also please share/talk about/donate towards my crowdfunding…
Keep communicating, thank you for reading.