August 8, 2013

Ilona Burton Time to Change bloggerSarah Time to Change blogger"How are you so open about your battles with mental illness?"

Both of us get asked that question or complimented on our ability to talk about mental health so openly a lot. Honestly, it seems so simple to us now, but it wasn’t always as easy.

The solution? You just need to start talking.

The first conversation is often the most frightening. How will they react? What will people say? How will they treat me afterwards? If you think hard enough, you’d come up with a million reasons to shy away from sharing your own experiences of mental illness, but we guarantee the FEAR is more often than not, worse than the reality.

The more you talk, the easier it gets and the more you share, the more you’ll realise how liberating it is to have the burden of silence lifted.

Getting the thoughts out, either in journal, on the phone or publically like we both have, you’ll find it clears space in your mind and sorts out the thoughts and sometimes even helps them make a little more sense.

Talking about your problems WILL help you realise they’re problems, help you beat them and it gives other people a chance to understand and help you fight.

Not only that, by speaking about your personal journey with mental illness or by sharing your experience as a friend, sister or parent of someone with mental health issues, you are helping breakdown the stigma surrounding them too. Everyone WILL know someone, if they didn’t before, they know you now, don’t they?

You just need to do it, say what’s on your mind, tell the world what it is you think and be open and honest. After all, you’ve probably gone over the possible conversations you COULD have about mental illness a thousand times, so you know what to say, just say it.

We dare you.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @Sarah_Robbo and Ilona on @IlonaCatherine

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Share your story

Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.


opening up to any mental

opening up to any mental illness Is called the first step. I call it 90% of the way. I am bi-polar, with previous suicidal tendancies. I am so kind, helping, hardworking. Have on many occasions given my last money or more to homeless ppl. YET I call him Rex,He is nasty, evil, would snap your bones if he come out. My friends and family know about him, and inside I (sort of ) know when he wants to come out, I warn them. And my best friend ( I have 1 coz of it ) or my family talk to me about what I want to do. NOTHING I can say to them now can scare them, but ultimatly they talk me down and after a very long sleep I cant remember what I said or wanted to do. All I am saying is I am so glad I spoke out about it to s1, I may not have remembered it happening, but with help from friends and family it DIDN'T end in a bad way. MANY TIMES In all I say find s1 u trust, and 100% let it all out, you feel better inside after, there will be ALOT of emotions running through ur head trust me. BUT IT IS SOOOOOOOOOO WORTH IT!!!!


Ive suffered MH issues for over 30 years and all the people who know me know that i have issues but they dont seem to mind Im accepted in the community as being one of them. They may buy me a pint in the local pub and on the night we play pool as a team in compitition against another pub the landlord always said ''Get yourself something to eat Paul'' because there is always a buffet on. Its really good to be part of a community

I am honest about having

I am honest about having bipolar disorder now....but I have not always been that way. It was difficult first of all to face the fact myself. But once I was okay with it, then I began sharing it with others. But I don't just blurt it out on a first meeting with someone. I bring it in when it is best, in the right timing. Many people know that I have bipolar disorder now because I am a certified life coach, and I help women with bipolar disorder to sustain their wellness after a depressive episode. I also have come up with the courage to do speaking engagements about my story too. I feel that having bipolar disorder is part of my experience, but it is not WHO I AM. I am not defined by it.

Mental Health stigma

I suffer with mental health issues every March, it causes me to have very low moods, crying and a general emptiness, I don't concentrate very well and am deprived of sleep. I lost my Mum suddenly in March 3 years ago and every year through March I suffer. I hate mother's day and the build up to it. At work it feels like I am not understood and I also feel pressure to get things right I have received some wonderful help from a dedicated councillor without her I don't think I could cope. I think the key is to recognize what is happening and get some support through your GP. Mental health carries a real sigma until people 1-4 suffer from it within their life times. I am coping now and am making plans to take a holiday next March and get some support at this difficult time.

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