Yesterday I had a close family member come visit. Whilst checking my emails, I realised I had received a reply from a lady at Time To Change. The previous evening I had sent her my story with the chance to appear in a TV documentary regarding mental health. The lady had told me she was particularly interested in my experiences from the transition of me being a 'child' to becoming an 'adult' and how I seemed to just have all the help cut off from me the day I turned 18. She wanted to pass on my details to the producer - I was ecstatic!
Obviously this may not come to anything, but to think I am actively getting involved with sharing my story and playing a part in getting rid of the stigma around mental health, I was over the moon. I shared my excitement with this family member, and told them about my potential opportunity to also write for the Mind Associates magazine. Their answer?
'OMG how do you get to do all this cool stuff?! You're always doing really interesting stuff like that!'
Now all I could do was laugh. I love this person to bits, and didn't take it offensively, but I had to write about this. It just proves the misunderstanding around mental health.
I am not choosing to get involved with charities and TV documentaries because I want to be famous. I'm not doing it to get a pay rise. I'm certainly not doing it just 'for the hell of it.' I have reached a point in my life now where I realise my calling in life is to help others. I just want to be a part of something massive, and that is making people realise it's OK to talk. Sufferers from anxiety, depression, OCD, panic disorder, PTSD... and every other mental health illness, do not choose to spend their lives in fear, worry and anger. We do not wish to feel the way we do. But for me, the only way I can start to see a bright light at the end of the tunnel is by helping others who are going through what I am. And if that means doing a TV documentary, then yes, I'll bloody well do it. I have to get the word out there that mental health is NOT a taboo.
Ironically enough, I then experience a similar thing again later in the evening yesterday. At a family gathering, someone asked me how I was feeling. They said that they knew I had been off work 'poorly.' It's stupid of me, but I didn't know how to respond, so I just replied 'yes, getting there.' I don't really see how mental health issues mean that you're 'poorly.' I have anxiety and depression. Is it that scary to say? I associate 'poorly' with a snotty nose and a case of the runs or something.
And then this morning, I experience it AGAIN. No word of a lie, folks!
I go to visit another family member. 'Are you feeling better now?' was one of their first questions. WHAT?! No! I didn't just wake up and the chemicals in my brain were evened out, it doesn't work like that. Oh if only it did! The conversation continued, with the highlights being 'you have to remember, you have it so much better than a lot of people out there' and 'sometimes you just have to say enough is enough and get on with it.' I've gotten past the stage where I get overly emotional. I now feel more sorrow than anything. Things need to change. Who's with me?