I have struggled with psychotic depression and PTSD for the past 2 years. During this time I also had a baby and I am also a busy mum to my 15 year old daughter. I’ve also had lots of support from my husband, a team of healthcare professionals, family and friends. Being involved with the Time to Change campaign and attending a Recovery College has really motivated me. In fact, I am recovering well that I felt it was time to give myself a daily challenge: every day I try to talk briefly to a random stranger about the difficulties I have faced and to talk about mental health. Today it was a lady in the supermarket, but last Friday in was a children’s entertainer! I imagine that if I had a badly broken arm with pins in it the random stranger might ask me how I did it or if it’s getting better. It’s not very easy starting the conversation and sometimes I do get the odd ‘really’ or ‘oh dear’ but generally I find people are happy to have a short conversation.
I am gaining confidence and no longer feel ashamed about my mental health
So what do we all get out of it? Well, it’s my way of getting people to talk about mental health, which I hope will make a tiny difference to combat the stigma around the subject and for them to be a little more enlightened and perhaps more comfortable to talk to loved ones, colleagues or friends about mental health. Talking to people makes me feel empowered and is one of ways I am trying to thank those of who helped and supported me. I am gaining confidence and no longer feel ashamed about my mental health. So last Friday’s conversation went something like this…
Magician man asks “Have you ever been to Winchester before?”
I reply “Actually I lived here for three months last year”
“Only three months” he replies “that was a short stay”
“Well, too be honest I was in a specialist psychiatric unit just up the road, so that’s why I was here”
Magician man says “Wow I’m sorry to hear that. Are you better now?”
And so we chat for about 5 minutes. He tells me about a family member who had been unwell and I tell him about my experiences and how I am recovering. Job done for today!
If you are thinking about talking about your mental health, it's OK to start small - talk to a trusted friend or relative. Find out more about talking about your mental health here.