SANE, the Mental Health Charity recently published a post that I’d written for them, it was shared both as a blog and a story – a story of personal experience with mental illness . You can read the full story below, or you can check it out on SANE’s website: http://www.sane.org.uk/how_you_can_help/through_your_eyes/story/1177
Sharing my story has helped in more ways than I’d imagined
There’s been a few times now that I’ve been asked to write a feature or a guest post for various blogs. I am of course pretty chuffed each time, but I also freak out – my own blog (Dearest Someone,) is a personal reflection of my own experiences with mental illness. Therefore the concept of writing a post for a blog that’s not my own is pretty daunting. Will I get it right? Will people judge me? Will people think my experience is irrelevant? All these kinds of questions are of course rubbish.
It’s fairly common nowadays with the size of the internet, and the almost instantaneous nature of the media (social media, apps and all that stuff) for people to find new ways to share stories. Information is everywhere, stories are everywhere and there’s an ever-developing and evolving community of bloggers who share their own experiences of mental illness. Which is why I feel there is no time like the present to share our experiences, our own battles and struggles – I know only too well how reading other peoples blogs and articles can help make me feel human when my mind is trying its hardest to convince me otherwise.
I’ve been through some tricky stuff, I’m human – this world is huge, even in disaster there is wonder. Think about the power of nature, the strong, ferocious, bold and wonderful force of nature. Natural disasters are devastating, they destroy lives, villages and more, yet if you take a moment to consider how that natural disaster occurred then you may be left slightly in awe. It’s a reminder that the unexpected can happen, and things that you didn’t even think imaginable are possible. Yes, some things are horrendous, yes some things can leave us traumatised, gripping on to the only memories of happiness, or normality that we can find. However, wonderful things are also possible. It is possible to remember an event without shaking with fear, or feeling sick at a simple reminder.
For me triggers are everywhere. Triggers are in the weather, triggers are in songs, triggers are in faces and triggers are in places. But, and here’s the strange thing, I never thought that talking about my experiences, thinking about my experiences and revisiting some of them would make the wounds a little less painful. I began blogging for me. It felt selfish, it felt self-consuming and indulging. It quickly became soothing, it quickly became a very helpful coping strategy and people very quickly started to respond to my posts. I am continuously taken aback by the positive support I receive through my blog, it allows me to open up more, and it reminds me on a daily basis that we can find support, advice and hope in the words and kindness of others.
Sharing my story has somehow convinced others to share theirs -I’m often receiving comments from people experiencing similar struggles. Whether that’s post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, self-harm, eating disorders and so forth – people often contact me about issues that I haven’t even spoke about, things that I hadn’t even discussed through my posts. I am continuously learning, learning about the complexity of our brains, our minds, our emotions and this big, big world. I hope to continue being honest and open about my mental health – we all have mental health. We should all continue to work together to break down the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.
My blog about mental illness and wellbeing is titled ‘Dearest Someone.’