17 May 2018
Mental Health Awareness Week – My Thoughts by Tallulah
This week was Mental Health Awareness Week and as this is something IJP are passionate about, and a large amount of our social impact goes towards, I wanted to share my thoughts.
First of all, I feel incredibly inspired and humbled by the massive amount of attention that’s been placed on this week, by organisations, charities, bloggers, journalists, the media and public in general. My Twitter and Instagram feeds have been full of really amazing content and conversation. I absolutely commend the bravery of those who’ve spoken out, whether it be through sharing their experiences, standing up for what they believe in, raising awareness or simply engaging in the dialogue.
Inspired by this, I wanted to use this post as an opportunity to share some of the things I’ve learnt from my experiences of mental health over the past couple of years. I often say this, that my experiences of mental health problems (an eating disorder, depression, anxiety and OCD) has taught me a massive amount about myself, my mind and body, as well as life in general.
Some of these battles, at times, have felt impossible to overcome and left me with what feels like no other option but to give up. However, I wish I could say to myself, this time last year, that these feelings, thoughts, emotions and sensations are temporary, they will not last and you absolutely can overcome them. I’ve learnt that instead of feeling angry at myself for feeling these things, I need to show myself compassion and accept that, yes, today I’m not feeling great, but you know what? That’s okay.
I think we live in a society with an awful amount of pressure to be ‘okay’ all of the time, to be happy, succeeding, fulfilled – and if you aren’t, there must be a reason for this. But it 100% doesn’t work like this. By acknowledging and allowing myself to feel how I feel, even if I don’t know why, I can ride with it and let it pass. Unfortunately there’s no ‘quick fix’ to mental illness, but through talking to others, being gentle with myself and realising what I enjoy in life, I’ve managed to overcome things I never imagined I would this time last year.
IJP have helped me massively to move forward in my recovery. I’ve mentioned this before, but doing what I’m most passionate about everyday (filming), filling my life with people I connect with and who believe in me has given me a new type of confidence, self-belief and empowerment, which I can turn into resilience and motivation when it comes to my mental health. That’s why I feel so passionate about our social impact, the trainee scheme we provide in partnership with YoungMinds, for young people with experience of mental health problems – as it really does make a difference to lives, and I think I’m proof of that.
Overall, I think awareness days/weeks/months are really important, in the way they open up conversations that may not usually be had (unfortunately), draw more attention to issues, educate society with a more accurate perception, but also help those suffering, whether that be encouraging them to seek help or making them feel less isolated. I hope this level of awareness continues to grow and these dialogues become more common – as I believe this is what is crucial, in order for society to move forward in terms of how mental health is viewed and treated.