Give a Little Bit

This afternoon, I’ll be working on a project that is my contribution to a far larger whole: part of a set of interviews for a World Mental Health Day extravaganza being put together for the 10th of October. I already have one interview done, and that’s in the process of being edited. Once the rest of the preparation is complete I look forward to seeing the final, finished product play out. This is part of my push to be more interactive as a Mental health Champion, and to find a use for my unique skill set within the organization.

I also have a poem that I’d like to read, with a very particular video accompaniment. There is a bit of spare time left over with everything else being organised in order to record this, and the plan going forward is to present all of this to be used in the day as the organizers see fit. As the entirety of the event will be playing out virtually, producing all this feels really rather satisfying.

During the day I’ll share my videos with you, and the processes that went into making them. I’ll also have some poetry to share, and maybe some other stuff too. It will entirely depend on the timeline for other things. I’ve left enough space between now and the start of October to get everything edited to my satisfaction, with (hopefully) a level of professionalism. It’s a big step forward to me, and I hope everyone enjoys what it is I’ve produced.

More news as we get closer to the day.

Walk Away

I finished the last portion of my formal Mental Health Champion training at the end of January, but all of that ended up being overshadowed by RED January Fundraising for Mind. At the end of the month, exhaustion was real. It’s taken a week to get everything back to something approaching normal: during that time it became apparent that this year, I wasn’t really comfortable contributing publicly to Time to Talk Day.

That came as more relief than surprise, if truth be told.

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The last couple of years this date in February has been marked by me trying to be honest about my own mental health journey. Last year however, a lot of the perceptions that personally existed around those feelings was quite significantly altered by counselling. It’s taken this long to really begin the process of unpacking all of the baggage that’s been trailing behind me, in some cases for my entire adult life.

I’d even planned to try and get out to support an actual, real-world event this week, but when it came down to the day something else came up. It too was mental health related, and I made a decision: this was the moment to do my talking elsewhere and not online. It’s a measure of how faith in my own ability has improved in the last twelve months that this was automatically the place that it made more sense to be.

It’s also cemented my desire to become a Mental Health First Aider.

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The course is not cheap and I suspect it will take me time to save, then it’s about finding the right time and location in which to take part. However, as I got so much from the MHF’s Mindfulness course when I first took it (you’ll find the details here) that it seems the logical extension from that initial process to pursue. It’s also a decent bet that my lived experience of mental health issues will become useful in training.

However, as a result of this revelation I have provided information to Mind which means that, at some point in the future, I may be called upon for interviews with the media. This might seem odd considering what has just taken place, but there is method in the madness. I am happy being interviewed, and a fair amount of front-facing public work will be taking place via the reading of poetry.

If I can read poetry to an audience, I can talk about mental health to others.

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The difference, I now realise, about contributing this year was literal exhaustion. I need to be both physically and mentally awake to do the job justice. Yet again, all of this is a bigger process, learning and expanding my remits across multiple spheres. As confidence and ability increase, so does the capacity to do good and help wherever the need arises. I like this new me, so much better than the person I was before.

There is new purpose I fully intend to learn from going forward.