July 17, 2013

MattIronic. No, nothing to do with Alanis Morrisette and her song, but to do with the documentary ‘Diaries of a Broken Mind’.

What is ironic, is that I am sat here worrying about what people will think of me, how people will react to what I say and what I do, when the whole point of me participating in the documentary was to document my anxiety which at times can become quite crippling.

Whilst I filmed myself for the documentary, I was in a stage of recovery from depression and anxiety, but more so the former. I am fortunate in that I have come a long way and am fighting to be free of the shackles of anxiety, but have come out of a place where I suffered from depression.

Some myths need to be dispelled

The reason I agreed to take part in the documentary, to film my life and how living with anxiety and depression affected me and to an extent, still does affect me, was because I want to make a difference and break down the stigma surrounding living with a mental health issue. Not everyone is the same, and there are certainly some disheartening myths that need to be dispelled.

I feel that I learnt a lot from filming myself and thinking about how my mental health issues affect my life. They are significant enough to be noticeable, impacting upon my relationships with people the most, and in some cases preventing me from going out and socialising or from doing some of the things that I want to do. It can get overwhelming and frustrating at times, because with my anxiety I overthink things to such an extent that I even overthink, overthinking. I feel that this will be portrayed in the documentary with some of the things I discuss, because it is evident that there are so many thoughts racing around my head that it becomes difficult to deal with.

I’m interested to see how my friends react to the documentary

I’m interested to see how my friends react to seeing the documentary and me discussing the things that go through my mind. Some of them will be especially interested because they have similar experiences, and I don’t feel that I will be judged in any way by any of my friends.

Despite this, I have a fear that some people will see the title and immediately assume that everyone in the programme is abnormal in some way and will either take that judgement into the programme, or not watch the programme at all and carry that idea through with regards to people with mental health issues. Furthermore, I feel as though, having seen some of the clips of other people discussing their mental health, that my contribution was somehow of less importance to the programme, or that people will compare me to the other people in the documentary and as a result make some sort of judgement on me.

It’s OK to talk about mental health

Overall, however, I feel OK about the documentary. There are of course some fears which I have discussed, but if I wasn’t comfortable with it then I wouldn’t have participated. Finally though, I am looking forward to it because it will help me to see that I have achieved a lot since the documentary was filmed, and also that I have conquered most of my issues and am well on the way to recovery.

I wanted to show people that it’s OK to talk about mental health, and by participating in the documentary I felt like I was able to do that on a broader scale than I currently do. It’s important that people can talk out about how they feel, and if more people do that, then stigma which surrounds mental health can be reduced and hopefully eradicated over time.

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