I was very lucky to spend time volunteering with Time to Change (UK), a movement of people passionate about changing how we all think and act about mental health problems.
They encourage people to have conversations about mental health, just as they would about their physical health, believing that one conversation has the power to change someone’s life.
Stats show that around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem this year, yet the shame and silence can be as bad as the mental health problem itself.
I was always very private about my own mental illness, only sharing it with a handful of people close to me. But a couple of years ago I was lucky to be asked to lead a mental health project in the workplace. As part of that, I was asked if I’d consider sharing my story and having it filmed. The video was shown at our annual staff day in front of about 160 people!
That video started some truly touching conversations. That evening I had someone tell me about their long history with PTSD and another man in his fifties share his history with anorexia. And it was only the beginning. So many people came to talk to me, trusting that their own mental health would accepted and supported in the workplace and so relieved to finally feel able to share their stories openly.
And it was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. Because it allowed me to stop ‘hiding’ and gave me the freedom to start being myself. My depression doesn’t visit so often and my anxiety doesn’t get a grip on me for just as long these days, but they’re still occasional visitors. I’m still shedding old thoughts and behaviours. And rediscovering the real me, my true authentic self, one layer at a time.
Burnout To Balance is a closed group for women, so please come join our conversation. And remember you’re not alone, lots of others in the group have experienced their own mental health problems.
So how are you feeling today? How are you really feeling?
Note: Time to Change are led by 2 UK mental health charities, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. They have a vast library of resources online, if anyone doesn’t feel comfortable sharing here, or needs signposted to professional or medical support.