This time last year I kept my problems to myself, my closest friends and loved ones were the only ones who had any idea of my experiences with OCD and Anxiety and those that did know, were not fully aware of how much it had affected me for the past 20 years. I felt like it was my problem, that I didn’t want to drag anyone down, that if people were aware of what I had been through that I may be judged and treated as if I was different. I realise now how very wrong I was.
Time to Talk, Time to Change
I had been made aware of the Time to Talk 2015 event through a friend. After doing a little bit of research, I ordered free supplies and asked my managers if I could run an event through work to spread awareness of mental health. I deliberated for many days about whether I wanted to talk in front of my office about my own experiences and on the day I bit the bullet, I stood up and talked for 5–10 minutes about my own history with mental health and encouraged my colleagues to have their own discussions with friends, family and other colleagues, to spread the word that it is good to talk and to provide someone else an ear if they need it.
Time to Talk Day 2015 changed my world around and made such a huge positive change to my life. Coming forward and putting myself out there gave others a chance to realise they are not alone, that they may know somebody that needs their help, that they can talk to others about their own experiences and help end the stigma. I was asked to repeat my talk throughout other areas of our company and the response was truly overwhelming. The feedback I received was so uplifting and when I was asked to write a blog about speaking up in my workplace and the support I received for Time to Change, I jumped at the chance. If I had helped so many people in my workplace, how many could I help with the same story on social media? Again, once this came out the response was inspiring.
Now let's get the Nation talking!
For anyone who may be worried about taking part in Time to Talk day on the 4th February 2016 and talking of their own experiences, for anyone that thinks it won’t make a difference or that their voice doesn’t need to be heard, I can’t explain enough how much of a change you will make, whether it be 1 or 10,001 people that tell their stories, it will help, and your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s. I have already ordered my pack for this year’s event; I will be ready again to spread the word.
I ended 2015 on the biggest high I have ever felt, I had achieved something amazing, I had opened up to everyone and had helped so many people I could just burst with pride every day. I am so eager to continue forward and do as much as I can to keep spreading awareness of mental health and Time to talk day 2015 was the start of that, and I will vow to always push forward. We will end this stigma, there is no shutting me up now.