Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Mental Health Quote by Lush

As we come to the end of Mental Health Week, I want to discuss a little bit about my experience with mental health and why it’s a subject that’s so important to me.

A few months ago, I spoke out for the first time about suffering from depression. I wrote my article on the Channel 4 series, My Mad Fat Diary which aired in the UK at the beginning of the year. As my article was published and I began to share it on my personal Facebook it didn’t really sink in at first, then I started to realise old school friends would be able to read it. Close friends. Family. New acquaintances. I felt exposed.

But then something really unexpected began to happen; People I knew started to comment on my article, Facebook and send me text messages telling me that they had dealt with mental health difficulties too. It was almost like I’d unlocked a door and whatever was trapped behind it came pouring out. I’m not sure what reaction I was expecting, but I never thought for a second it would be this. Dealing with depression feels like a blackness and an emptiness of being completely lost and alone and it’s almost silly that we don’t speak about it, that we continue to stumble alone down the path, because really it’s happening to people all around us!

Selina Thompson, Performance ArtistSelina Thompson, Performance Artist

For as long as I can remember I’ve felt sad. I’ve reacted to things in a peculiar way and I have kept endless diaries so full of pain and confusion and anger. Back when I was younger I didn’t know what mental health was. I always felt different, but I didn’t even know to ask why, never mind for help.

As I’ve grown into the person I am today, I have learned a few things. I know that I want to be a designer, a girlfriend, a friend, a daughter, a sister. I want to have a big house full of memories and dogs! I want to build my little indie business into an empire and create jobs and feed creativity. I want to be successful enough so that I never have to worry about money, but not too much so that I forget where I came from and what I believe in. I believe in a lot of things like equality, rights, charity. I love music and traveling. And I have learned that some days I feel sad and I can’t explain why and that sometimes I react to things in what may seem like a peculiar way ..but that’s OK. I’m still the same person; I’m still intelligent and independent and strong.

Mental Health Week, Art InstallationTop image provided by Lush Leeds Spa

The more I leave myself open to talking about mental health, the more people I meet who understand how I feel and the less ‘alone’ I become. Twitter is full of interesting conversation on the topic and more recently my friends at Lush Leeds Spa have been running a charity event this week in aid of Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service.

Lorna, a Lush employee, organised the event because she wanted to bring mental health awareness to the high street as she believes it is something that should be talked about just like any other health issue. People have been popping in store just to say that they love the work Lorna and Lush are doing on the subject.

Part of their event this week was an art installation by talented performance artist (and Lush employee), Selina. The piece was displayed prominently in store and as the day progressed, the artwork was transformed piece by piece from one big mass into letters, thoughts and beauty. Selina talked to me about her own mental health experiences and how she was worried that depression was going to be a huge thing that she would have to deal with for the rest of her life. In her art installation, Selina wanted to create something to show that mental health could be broken down into manageable pieces and just becomes something that needs managing, like her allergy to cats.

Mental Health Week, Stephen Fry

It makes me proud that individuals are coming together to create talks, television programs and events to raise awareness of mental health and I hope it continues beyond Mental Health Week so we can all play our part in kicking the mental health stigma’s butt! ;)

If you have been affected by any of the issues spoken about in this blog post, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments or, if you would like to get more information or talk to someone about mental health, I recommend you visit the Mind charity website.

Take good care of yourselves and I leave you with this quote:
“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” – Stephen Fry

Loves x xx

posted by onetenzeroseven in An Exercise in Confidence,Leeds and have Comments (10)

The Five Wows: No.5 – Clouds

CloudSeatSource Unknown via Pinterest

Cloud and Umbrella Earrings, Storm, WeatherWeather Forecast Earrings by Huiyitan

Floating in the clouds, weatherSource Unknown via Pinterest

Driftwood Cloud, Weather, RainDriftwood Cloud Wall Hanging by Gifts &Stars

I’ve been obsessed with clouds and lightning storms since I was a little girl. When I was 11 I was lucky enough to be taken to Florida, sadly fifteen years on I don’t remember much from the holiday of a lifetime, but I do remember sitting on the deck of a restaurant and watching this incredible lightning storm across the water. When we would go on long drives as a kid I would watch out of the window and match up the cloud shapes with animals and things. On planes I would imagine reaching out of the window and grabbing a clump of cloud, bouncing in it’s cushioned softness. Of course I know now that clouds are just water vapour and/or ice crystals so you are unable to touch them (and if you did it would just feel cold, damp) but for some reason that just adds to the magic. Clouds are mysterious, like dreams. Almost unobtainable.

Cloud: An Interactive Sculpture by Caitlind r.c. Brown

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posted by onetenzeroseven in Uncategorized and have Comments (3)