March 16, 2015

To blog or not to blog... that was the question. A simple question you might think but, for me, one for careful consideration. So 30 seconds after being asked I clicked send on my email responding "yes no problem". A further 30 seconds and I was thinking 'eeek' what have I done! It's a common situation for me when I'm well; I want to grab the moments and opportunities that life presents.

Sometimes it works out fine; like the ‘Get the Picture’ Campaign. Other times not so great. Like the time I persuaded my mum into doing a trek in Mexico for charity the year we were both celebrating significant birthdays. Unfortunately, before the trek itself, I ended up in hospital for four months with severe depression. My pops had to step in for me; and for them both sticking with it (and me) I am very grateful.

So you can see, stepping outside my comfort zone is something of a theme... with varying success. Having first been diagnosed with depression 20 odd years ago I've had to do a lot of challenging myself; both to aid recovery from each episode and to build my own resilience in a bid to future-proof myself. I've found there's no such thing as 'future-proofing' when it comes to my own journey with mental health challenges at my side. Instead I've learnt that little things matter. The things that fill my energy tank help, the things that drain it don't.

Feeling like I can help the campaign, and in turn others is important to me.

Time to Change helps keep my tank topped up nicely. Feeling like I can help the campaign, and in turn others is important to me. So when the chance to be part of the ‘Get the Picture’ campaign came along it was another 30 second judgement call - on reflection a good one all round.

Whilst travelling to London for the photo shoot I was both excited and anxious. Was I doing the right thing? How will I find my way to their office from Kings Cross station? What will the other people be like? I chuckled at an article I was reading about the challenges of 'networking' for those, like myself, who are naturally introverted... what was I doing!!!

Having successfully navigated myself across London (and feeling chuffed at the achievement) the next few hours flew by. Karen, who was co-ordinating the day put me at ease instantly with her calm approach and all the staff were friendly and welcoming. Meeting the other participants was far from the anxiety riddled experiences I'd read about in my magazine thank goodness. I found myself quickly engaging in conversation with complete strangers, sharing experiences and life stories. There were lots of laughs... sometimes too many given that we were there to shoot photos representing mental health challenges! But the photographer, Laura, managed to steer us all gently into the right positions to get the shots she needed.

I hope that the shots will help to provide a better representation of the vast diversity that surrounds mental health problems.

So now I'm looking forward to seeing the outcome of our day. I hope that the shots will help to provide a better representation of the vast diversity that surrounds mental health problems. And for me personally, this experience was certainly a positive one, so I'm going to keep stepping out of my comfort zone... from time to time at least.

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