You may have seen this hashtag today. In fact if you haven’t you certainly can not be on any kind of social media platform. Although I haven’t been on I am pretty certain it’s even on Pinterest!
Maybe you have seen #WMHD or #oktosay or the simple but effect #mentalhealthawareness instead. Whatever it may be, did the post catch your eye? Did you read to see what it had to say? Or did you scroll past, assuming that it had nothing to do with you? It doesn’t affect you? Or maybe you are one of the people who follow me and you are just extremely sick of seeing or hearing the words – “Mental Health” 😉
Now yes, I have been like a record on repeat and yes, I am sure I have annoyed the life out of at least a couple of you, but for once, I’m not going to say sorry. The plain and simple truth is, I’m not. I will continue to stand on my soap box, spam your social media accounts, chew your ears off and do whatever I possibly can to keep getting the message across! The whole problem with starts with people not being able to talk. It could be fear of being judged, it could be not being able to vocalise what is the problem, it may be bad experiences with mental health services in the past, it may be that you just don’t believe in the whole aspect of mental illness. That is fine. No one, certainly not me, is here to force you, to goad you, to guilt you. I will continue to be the voice until you feel strong enough to speak up. I will be the leader until you can come and walk beside me. I will show you, although it may be a scary place, there is a genuine comfort in numbers. There will be a lightness to your step when you unburden some of the weight from your shoulders.
I have had an very productive and satisfying day today although I will be honest, I haven’t quite caught up with my thought processes yet. I have a feeling it may take a few days for my already quite over worked brain to get around things properly so please, if this blog is even more random than normal, well you know why. My volunteer work for Mind Middlesbrough and Stockton has already given me so many chances to give back and be involved. They have really lit a fire in me and helped my passion for mental health and helping others grow. A couple of weeks a go I was filmed as part of an anti stigma film project – ‘Thinking Out Loud’ which gets premiered today at 530pm (I will be sure to share it once it has been released on social media) Mind were lucky enough to have the support of both Cleveland Police and Middlesbrough Football Club. Alongside this I have been volunteering at a fantastic event in Stockton on Tees – Alright Teesside which has had stalls from organisations all over Teesside, workshops and guest speakers, all promoting ways to achieve good mental health, advice of where you can get advice and support as well as ideas on how you can help yourself, be it through Mindfulness, blogging or how a healthy diet coincides with a healthy mind.
With this event I was lucky enough to be chosen for a one to one interview with the lovely Rachel Bullock from ITV Tyne Tees. It may amuse you to know that despite all the selfies and stuff I post, I actually have quite massive self confidence issues. The publicity photo itself made me cringe and think, goodness I need to up my gym game!! However, just having watched it, and the anti stigma film, I just want to say, I am so bloody proud of myself!! Proud of what I said, proud of being open and honest, proud of putting myself out there, stepping way out my comfort zone and doing my bit, sharing a bit of my story. I will post the links at the bottom if I can, although there isn’t one yet for my news interview so I will try and attach the video to this blog. I am not the most tech savvy I must admit!
The one main thing I think that needs to be said, and what has been said by a few close friends of mine, is that mental health awareness cant just be about one day. The one’s who suffer wont stop suffering at the stroke of midnight when today has been and gone. For many, every day tasks are difficult to manage, sometimes even impossible. We have good days, even great days. Then we have bad days, bad weeks, bad months even. It is a constant battle that many of us will have for most, if not all, of our life. Some may suffer periodically, some may suffer due to a life event and then once that is dealt with they make a full recovery. Whatever mental health issue it may be, it’s important to know, you are not alone.
“LET’S MAKE MENTAL HEALTH AN EVERYDAY SUBJECT”
Lots of love and a massive thank you to all of you who support me, are there for me, believe in me and love me!