I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but life has got in the way from me writing any blogs as things have been a bit tricky to say the least!!!
On 27th November I was lucky to be able to be a part of a fantastic event Thrive In the City. It was a programme of events celebrating Mental Health in the City and a collaboration between @TheDragonCafe @themindsatwork @BITC @MindCharity @City_MHA @bizhealthy @thriveLDN. It was an event where over 75 practitioners and 20 city organisations hosted over 80 different events taking place all over the city of London. All the practitioners and organizations gave up there time and space to host all the exciting events taking place.
I was lucky enough to take part, appearing on a panel discussing mental health in young people. I felt honoured to be a part and never imagined my blog open up this sort of experience. Not only was it a wonderful day but it was a huge achievement for me to actually do it and stand up and tell my story to a room of strangers – it was surprisingly emotional not only for me but also for some people on the audience.
Alongside telling my story I also spoke about what I had learnt from my mental health “journey” (I hate calling it that but I cant think of another word for now!!) At first when I was preparing I thought, what on earth could I have learnt from the horrendous past 3 years. It took me a long time to get passed this barrier but then the more I thought about it the more I realised what I had actually learnt so far, and how much the experience has changed me and my outlook on life… so I realised where I thought I had learnt nothing I had actually learnt A LOT. I thought I would share what I have learnt, and it also feels like a good post to start the year on trying to be a positive note, so here goes…..
I am strong – stronger than ever thought I was and I am coming through the other end a much more confident person able to stand up for herself and able to express herself, never before would I be able to do this
I have learnt the importance of talking. Bottling feelings up gets you nowhere and can make you feel worse and isolated. When asked the question “how are you” you don’t have to give the answer “I am fine” it is ok to say “well I am struggling” and it is up to the other person what they do with that.
I’ve learnt the importance of being yourself and not do what you feel others expect you to be.
I can see how easy it can be to hide your depression and anxiety. Right now I am standing here confident and strong, you wouldn’t know yesterday I was frozen with anxiety and could hardly move. This is what you call the mask, and is something people with mental health issues can become the masters of and it is not unless someone can read the tiny little signs that people can see through it.
I have learnt coping mechanisms I can use when I can feel myself slipping
I’ve learnt important it is to have the right therapist. It is fine to shop around, I shopped a lot but now have found my perfect fit.
Recovery takes patience, time and is not a straight line; you do not suddenly bounce back. It takes energy and determination.
Through my experience I have found my voice which is why I blog. To show people they are not alone. To help people support and care for a loved one. And ultimately educate people.
At least 1 in 4 of us will suffer from some form of mental health issue at some point in our lives. That is 1 of 4 of anyone reading this post
Lastly I have learnt there is way, way more to life than fashion and handbags. My tutor at university was 100% right when graduated and told us never to stress because “it is only a handbag” – I wish I had taken his advice then, because boy is there more to life than fashion!!!
Thank you @CityThrive for making me think about my mental health experience and allowing me to take part in such a fantastic day - I am looking forward to the next one!