Opportunitification – The Mission for Mental Health Awareness

Every once in a while we get opportunities to do something incredible. Sometimes you don’t realise just how incredible the opportunity is until you’re right in the middle of it or sometimes until after it’s gone.

This weekend just gone I got to go to a residential with Team v to help mentor for their new campaign. Our leaders this year are going to be working to tackle the issue of food poverty in the UK and it’s a fantastic campaign. Keep an eye out up and down the country for some great, creative campaigning! If you want to check out what the guys are doing, please feel free to have a look see here.

Fantastic though it is, I’m not writing this post to talk about the campaign. The leaders will be more than happy to fill you in on that. I’m here to talk about opportunities.

There are so many opportunities in my life and I try my very hardest to be a Yes Man. I took the opportunity to go to the residential this weekend just gone and it was a fantastic decision. Despite me being exhausted today and arriving completely exhausted, I had an incredible time. Sure, it was just good fun to be around so many new faces with such similar values to my own, but what I really enjoyed were the conversations I had with a few people.

There were two people I spoke to about mental health in its various forms and it really did blow my mind how strong these people are. Despite all that’s happened in their lives, they focus on making things easier for others so that they can better cope with life’s toughest challenges. I took the opportunity to talk to them about potentially starting to work together, to plan a few different ways in which we can work to “get crackin on challenging the mental health stigma”.

I’m currently brainstorming an idea to blog with one of the two people. My idea is to collect non-anonymous stories of people who have been affected by mental health issues. I want people to tell their stories and put their names to them. Mental health issues aren’t something to be embarrassed about. Once I started being open about my mental health, it lost a lot of its power. It’s always going to be a part of me and I want people to know that I’m not ashamed. Depression is part of what made me who I am today and I like to think that I’m a good person. Hopefully once people feel comfortable enough to share, others will too and hopefully we can cause a chain reaction of openness. This in turn would hopefully make mental health a topic which is easy to talk about. Why should something so common be a taboo subject?

The second person that I was talking to at the residential is a keen volunteer for a mental health charity and we’re currently trying to plan a campaign of our own to do something to once again, tackle the stigmas surrounding mental health. Our plan is non-existent at the moment so I’m open to any ideas on how we can do it. Too many people I care about have troubles with mental health but feel ashamed of it. I don’t want the people I love to have to feel ashamed and embarrassed to be themselves. They’re ace.

If you’re interested in helping out or getting involved, DM me on twitter – @albysaurus

I’ve been trying to make the most of opportunities for a long time now. This opportunity to share ideas and stories with two great people was fantastic. It’s allowed me to unify with people who care passionately about an extremely important topic (hence – opportunification). I hope you take the opportunity to help us make our mission for mental health awareness a success.


World Mental Health Day

As I’m sitting here on my second of 8 trains today I realised that it’s world Mental health day. It’s a serious topic which affects everyone on earth. We forget that everyone has mental health, whether it’s good or bad health is another matter.
I’ve previously written a post about mental health in the wake of Robin Williams suicide, you can find it on my LinkedIn. I spoke a little about my experiences and the little things that help.
This post will hopefully show people that it’s fine to talk about mental health, in fact I encourage it. Only through talking about it openly will people be able to accept that it’s a normal part of life and in turn, feel comfortable enough to seek help when necessary.
I’m pretty open about my depression, I try not to talk about it all the time but I won’t avoid questions when they come up. It’s not something which is easy to understand so questions are good! It’s extremely important to remember that it affects people differently so don’t assume you know what they’re going through, even if you’ve been through something similar before.
Mine has been on and off for years now and it’s currently rearing it’s ugly head again and so I’m back on anti-depressants and am being referred to CBT. It’s hard for me to remember any prolonged periods of happiness over the last few years. There are very few days where I wake up and feel totally chipper. In fact there are none. My mood can change throughout the day though. If I can motivate myself to get up and to work I usually have a decent day at work. I have a very friendly team and all in all I have a good job. Things like this pick me up. However things that seem trivial to some can be a massive deal for me, for example, making mistakes, even tiny ones, can be enough to throw me off for the whole day if my mood is low… Picking myself is infinitely tougher.
There are several things that help though, things I mentioned in a previous post (which you can read on this blog). At times when human interaction makes me feel sick and curl up into a little ball, it actually turns out that human interaction is exactly what I need. It’s always great when the people I love text me just to see how I’m doing. This feeling of not wanting to see, speak to or even be in the vicinity of other people is one that comes up often, suddenly and intensely. I’m just lucky I have ways to get out of that funk.
I could write about my experiences for hours, and I’d be happy to share more but this blog is already looking pretty long. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, share and talk about this post and the topic. It’s one of the most bizarre topics to me, it’s one of the most common in the world in that everyone has mental health, good or bad, but it’s one of the things that people don’t take seriously, don’t talk about or even recognise is a problem. Absolutely mental right?
Side note: this is the first time I’ve ever written a whole post on my phone, sorry for the lack of pictures and links to things.