October 2, 2013

NatashaAs a young girl I witnessed the most acute violence against my mother and I at the hands of my step father, this had a traumatic impact on my teen to adult years. You feel both guilty and innocent. Guilty in the sense that in some way you feel this is your fault and innocent in the way that this is not your fault as none of this was actually done or requested to be done by you. Trying to make sense of the suffering had due to domestic violence brought on my issues with mental health.

I dealt with post traumatic stress disorder, then experienced panic and depression throughout my life. Unfortunately I did not know this until early last year, up until then I just thought I was an over-thinker, a bit paranoid and odd. Strangely it seemed perfectly normal for me to be like this but it affected everything around me from relationships to friendships and employment.

I had reached hit rock bottom, stopped communicating and began completely isolating myself, but found comfort in writing a blog.

I emailed a link to my blog to all of friends and family

I spent a few weeks doing this before I had an incident with a close friend where I could sense that they were feeling that I should 'just snap out of it’ and that I was playing the victim to my feelings. After another horrid panic attack, I decided I'd had enough of being misunderstood and that they needed to understand just what I was going through. I wanted their understanding not pity.

I emailed a link to my blog to all of friends and family, hoping they would read it and finally understand. I was overwhelmed by the support I received; messages telling me how brave I was, how well I’d hidden so much, another friend told me she’d cried reading it because she really had no idea that things were as bad as they were.

The blog gave me a different perspective

The blog gave me a different perspective, looking at life inside out and I use it whenever I feel the need to release the things that are going on in my head. I was never a good speaker or talker but I found that writing really helped and was comfortable for me.

As time went on, my blog received more and more followers, some of which commented that writing was something that they were curious about trying to express their feelings but didn’t know where to start. I then went on to make a Facebook page including a closed group in support of individuals experiencing Mental Health and domestic violence, encouraging them to start to write creatively, in a short space of time I have grown over 600 followers across my blog, and social media sites.

From that moment Free Your Mind was born

From that moment Free Your Mind was born, with the aim of creating a supportive community to help people rebuild their sense of self by writing their own story.

By looking at the milestones in your life, you can start to look at those feelings and situations from an outside perspective like you would when advising a friend.

Stories connect people and whilst you may think that you are alone, there is always someone who will relate and make a connection to your story and there is great comfort in finding that out.

I hope writing can help other people the way it has helped me.

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