I thought for my next post I’d go all relevant (ooooo!) and talk about #HeadsTogether.
As you will have no doubt seen over the last few weeks, there has been so much talk about the charity Heads Together and their campaign #oktosay fronted by probably my three favourite people in the world right now, Prince William, Kate Middleton and Prince Harry (Wills, K and H-Dog if you’re friends with them).
Now, it’s important to say that there are so many charities, organisations, websites and individuals that have been shouting about the importance to talk about mental health for a long time and these should definitely not go unnoticed. However, my focus on this particular campaign ties in with the media coverage over the last couple of weeks and the impact it’s had on me personally which I thought I’d write about (yay for you).
As someone who is both proud of the way I’ve dealt with my mental illness yet someone who lives in fear of stigma, so much so I publicly remain anonymous, it is incredibly inspiring to hear people talk so openly, calmly and honestly about the effect their mental illness has on their life and the struggle they have faced. Now, I’m not just talking about my three best friends the royal folks, I’m talking about every day people living every day lives trying to get by working busy jobs, with ordinary responsibilities and in pressured relationships. I think it’s not only brave, but refreshing to see so many different stories all with the same link, the same connection – mental health.
I’ve covered in this blog before my journey through a mental illness haze, so won’t go into that now (click through my previous posts for a better understanding), but I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that I am not just my mental illness. I know that even with anxiety, I’m able to hold down a high pressured job, I’m able to run a house, I have a very loving family and a (all-be-it very small) circle of friends who some even know about my troubles yet don’t judge me for it. I can live a normal life, we all can live a normal life. It won’t be as easy as some others who don’t feel they live with a mental illness, but it is manageable.
5 years ago, I was diagnosed with Anxiety, Depression and a Panic Disorder. I didn’t know what this meant, all I knew is I was now different, I was classed as “a bit weird” and there weren’t many like me. No one understood medication, and in fact two pieces of advice I received was ‘don’t take meds, they turn you into a zombie’ and ‘can’t you just nip this in the bud, the last thing you need is to have panic attacks’. No one spoke about it, no one discussed what they were going through.
Two years ago, I joined twitter in the hope I’d find like-minded people who were living with similar conditions to me who could offer help and advice along the way and this really was life changing. I’m now over 2600 followers in and have daily discussions with people all over the world, sharing my own advice and experiences. I see so many people, campaigns, blogs, discussions and charities all doing the same thing – raising awareness of mental health and the importance of talking about it and sharing experiences.
Sounds a little bit weird but I feel like we’re in a bit of a mental health revolution in the way people talk and think about mental illnesses and the way they impact our lives. I’m so excited of the future. As someone who’s remained anonymous for so long (except for a select few friends on twitter), I’m already planning my own way of “coming out” and being completely honest with myself. I deserve to not hide anymore, and I deserve to have my story heard too. I’m not sure when this will be, so for now this little blog will suffice.
It’s important to know that it’s #oktosay what your struggles are, it’s #oktosay exactly what you need to make your life easier and what support you need with your mental health.
As a sidebar, good luck to everyone taking part in the London Marathon, and to those raising money for #HeadsTogether. I’d have taken part but due to my complete lack of cardio ability, it would be a tremendous strain on the NHS if I did take part.