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Monday, 10 October 2016

World Mental Health Day: I Am Not Ashamed


Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day. In truth every day feels like mental health day to me, since so much of the work I do at university is focused on mental health and wellbeing; not to mention the fact that I am balancing my mental health with myriad responsibilities and daily self care. It's a topic that I talk about a lot but today the world – or at least most of social media – is recognising the need to shed light on such an important topic and I wholeheartedly support that.

I was having a conversation last night with my cousin and her friends about my blog, when they asked if I was comfortable with being so open about my life on the internet. As a generation that were my age mostly pre-social media, it seemed like the level of vulnerability I was willing to convey to total strangers was something that was surprising to say the least. Now this is something I have had to think about deeply, and crosses my mind almost every time I click publish. I communicate a lot of my personal feelings on here which means anyone could see it, a fact that I have had to make peace with. Is this scenario something that I want my family to see? Will it worry them or my friends? As a soon-to-be university graduate: what if potential employers come on here?

But I am not ashamed of my struggles. I write about them because I believe that we can both learn from what I have been through and because they have made me become who I am. Mostly, and in response to that last concern, the truth is I don't want anyone in my life that can't respect that about me, and that includes workplaces. I have so much to offer and I actively want to work in a career that improves wellbeing, and to do that whilst pretending that it is not a consideration for myself would not do justice to my knowledge and passion. 

A particular inspiration for me in this regard is the Self Esteem Team. Co-founders Grace Barrett, Natasha Devon and Nadia Mendoza work tirelessly to provide support and emotional education for teenagers across the country but they are honest about their own backgrounds. Between the three of them they have suffered from bulimia, anxiety and self harm but this doesn't invalidate the power that they have, it strengths it. They have found support and in turn provide it for others. 

We can't champion honesty in others without being honest about it ourselves. Everyone has their own boundaries and I respect that for others it is not easy to open up. But I have nothing to be ashamed about, and thus I will write honestly to you about what I go through. I take pride in the challenges I have faced because I have learnt from them and come out the other side. It has created a passion in me that makes most days deeply fulfilling, and even the ones that aren't hold a lesson in them somewhere. 

I am not ashamed, and you don't have to be either. 

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9 comments:

  1. I have a similar second guessing process to you whenever I'm about to hit publish. I worry that while my writing is very honest, sometimes it is more honest than I am prepared to be face to face. At least not straight away. I know that when I am writing that is when I am letting my real feelings surface, because I can take the time to find the right words, in a way that I don't always have chance to do in a conversation. And I have time to process those feelings, so that I am ok with hitting publish, but might not be so ok with some one walking up to me in the street and asking me about it off guard.So no I don't feel ashamed about what I am writing, and I'm not living a second life online, I just always hope that should a friend or family member read my words they first and foremost don't get TOO WORRIED, but secondly understand that it can take a while for me to warm up when talking about those things face to face.

    I'm not even sure this comment makes sense but I hope it does! Stephie xx

    www.acupofcreative.co.uk

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    1. That's a really good point Stephie, and it totally makes sense! I definitely understand what you're saying, and I'm so much more articulate and able to open up online because writing is much easier and safer for me than talking. I certainly don't want anyone to be worried, and I think you can be authentic even if you're not sharing everything. I think I'm just trying to say that of what I write, I'm not ashamed and I like trying to open up as much as I can :) Thank you for making me look at it from a different perspective, I particularly love what you said about your real feelings surfacing whilst writing. You're amazing, and I really appreciate you taking the time to leave such well thought out comments on here xxx

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  2. Awe Liza this post is perfect! I definitely second guess myself because I do the exact same thing. One of my favorite authors, Glennon Doyle Melton explained that "we can either be shiny and admired or real and loved." Pretending that we have it all and only displaying our best selves is definitely going to get you admired, but no ones really going to know you. Therefore, how can they possibly love the real you? I love how honest you get in all of your posts because that is what connects people together. We build communities of "me toos" and we find that that dark thing that we felt we had to hide for so long finally gets a voice and gets out in the open, only for us to discover that it was never as bad as we had made it out to be in our heads. That's the human experience and it's such magical thing.
    Thank you for always being honest and kind and sharing your heartbreaking experiences with all of us. You're doing a great service to the world by just being you. <3


    Misha K. | www.mishakhan.com

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    1. That is a wonderful quotation, Misha. I love to collect quotations that make me feel, think and act!

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    2. Misha, you always leave the most amazing comments! Sorry that it's taking me a while to catch up, but I'm also so happy and grateful to read the words you write <3 I LOVE that quote, I didn't know Glennon Doyle Melton before but I will definitely check her out because I love what you're saying about her here and on your blog. You totally nail it here on our dark sides - it's so often that I share something and it's not as bad as I feared! Thank you for supporting me in what I write, and thank you for writing such incredible posts yourself. You're amazing and your beautiful words mean so so much to me <3

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  3. This is a really beautiful post. I totally agree that if people can't accept you for who you are then you shouldn't have to tolerate their judgement, including work places. If there was less stigma around mental health then more people would feel comfortable seeking someone to speak to and would be more willing to listen to others. What you're doing is super important and will speak volumes to the people who need it most!

    www.englishgirlinnewyork.org

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    1. Thank you so much Elishia! I'm so glad you agree, it's a bit of a jaunting statement to make but I feel like workplace culture has such a significant impact on our wellbeing that we need to take these things seriously. You're absolutely right - we are all so much more comfortable with these topics when we can open up together. Liza x

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  4. This is such a great post and brilliant point. We should be proud of how far we've come and not ashamed of it. A lot of people nowadays are still adhering to the mental health stigma but I think the work you, those brilliant girls and a lot of celebrities and bloggers now are doing is making a huge difference!

    Josie // JosieVictoriaa

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    1. Thank you Josie for your comment, I totally agree that we should be proud! I hope that we can move forward into a world where no one is ashamed and everyone feels comfortable seeking the help they need :)

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts with me. I read and reply to each and every one.

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