I have been writing a lot today, on my own blog about mental health stigma and for the amazing Keep Smilin’ about young people, bullying and the effect it has on the mental health of young people. I thought it was only right that I also blogged for the charity I work for, as it holds such a special place for me.
At the charity itself we have had a busy few months, out raising awareness, running training courses and planning our first live chat which will happen this Wednesday!
Sam, myself and everyone else work hard to try and get eating disorders in men recognised, to make it easier for men to come forward and talk openly about their problems. Doing this always makes me reflect on how I got into this, why I am so passionate about it and what in the end drives me to do it. It’s no surprise that I suffered from an eating disorder, not something I often talk about admittedly, because I don’t like to look at how I used to be at things, but how I look at things now and what I learnt from that difficult time. If we can share what we have learnt with others, in both our professional and personal lives then this is surely a good thing.
I think it is important to concentrate on the positives that come out of it, yes it may be incredibly difficult, but I have come out the other side with a heightened sense of myself, who I am and how I view myself. I have learnt ways to deal with things positively and resolve problems in a far healthier way and guess what…
You can do the same
I have concentrated in all the things I have done today on the power of talking and how it has a profound impact at outlooks in mental illness and eating disorders really are no different. Talking helps to recognise and acknowledge your feelings and is the first step to getting over them. Our live chat which is going live on Wednesday is the perfect example, it provides a safe space for you to come and talk about your issues with people who understand, it could be the first step towards you seeking treatment or maybe a way of maintaining the progress you have made in your recovery so far.
We wouldn’t be here if the stigma didn’t exist, and I am not denying that it is certainly still there, but take this day and every day for that matter as an opportunity to educate just one person, tell them about the problem, tell them how you feel. Opening up is the best thing anyone can ever do, it can be hard to tell friends and family, so put it in a letter, find a time that is comfortable for you sit down and open up. It’s a scary thing to do but one of the most beneficial things to recovery.
I didn’t open up, I refused to talk to anyone about it and it resulted in treatment being forced upon me, something that if I could go back and change I would. I would have loved to make decisions in my care and have an input into the way my recovery was handled, so with that in mind…
My message on World Mental Health Day is a simple one…
It is possible for anyone to make the positive changes in their life that they need to make to live a healthy life, just as it is possible for each and every one of us to lead a productive and happy life. It is what you make it and while difficult will make you the strongest person you know. 5-6 years ago I didn’t see a way out, to be blunt I just wanted to give up and I wanted to give up many times along the way, now I am glad I made that effort to do something meaningful, to give myself the opportunity to experience different things.
Everyone can do it with the right help and support, no-one is alone and everyone has somewhere we can turn, so take the plunge, open up and pave the way to a new life, one you will love.
Until next time,
Come and tell us on twitter about your recovery stories, @nickinoxford for me and @MGEDT for all of us. Want to write a blog, or tell your story? Drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org as we love hearing from you all!