For clarity. There are people who like my blog and people who don’t. And that is fine with me. I’m savvy enough to know that people pleasing is a battle no-one will win. I’m also astute enough to know that opinions and advice are out there in mass abundance and that not everyone takes kindly to the same said advice. Not to mention it working for one but not for another. This is the way of the world. Not everyone agrees. If they did, the words ‘opinion, advice, conflict, argument, disagreement’, along with many others, wouldn’t exist in the English (or any other) language. Everyone nowadays has freedom of speech. We all have the right to express ourselves in a constructive and conducive way. But there isn’t a need for sideways, digs at people who have a difference of opinion or who speaks out about feelings or experiences. (For the purpose of refute, I am referring to issues that relate to mental health). Conversation, yes. Gentle debate, also. But condescend and underhand are a different kettle of fish. I’ve come across this regarding my blog. It’s made me question my dignity, my integrity and has caused apprehension with what I write. Luckily, I’ve built a resilience to such scrutiny and will carry on regardless of the lack of support that may be on offer.
Thanks, but no thanks! I have a story to tell. I have a message to convey with love, honesty and compassion. I have been subjected to anxiety for most of my life which has resulted in consequences I never imagined. The root cause has been unearthed and I’ve had to face and deal with that. On the contrary, anxiety and life experience have shaped me. That, I am grateful for. It’s also offered me ideas, out-of-the-box thinking and inspiration and so this blog was born. To make at least one person rethink the pent up frustration of feeling like they aren’t good enough, of feeling like they are the only ones who feel or have felt like this is more than enough reward for my transparency and openness about my own mental health sufferings. Like me or loathe me for that. An echo rings in my mind every time I write. An indirect attempt to get the message across to me. Subliminal perhaps? Received! Loud and clear! “Some people work on themselves quietly” Initially this made me feel like I was doing something wrong by writing. I entirely agree that some people have silent battles. That some prefer it this way. And that’s fine. But I am not an advocate for silent battles. To battle is to suffer in terms of mental health and to do so in silence, in my opinion, is damaging. I’m also not advocating for people to shout from the rooftops about their lives or divulge personal information that they don’t wish to share. I do share a lot. But there is way more to me than thrashing it out with anxiety and it’s triggers. I am selective in what I write and will only publish if I feel it can help someone else. Attention seeking is not my bag. I’d rather be a wallflower but I realise that this would not serve me well in regards to my offerings. So, sometimes I may be controversial with my methods but feedback suggests that new perspectives have been highlighted by my overanalysing. Hooray! A good thing to come from 100 miles per hour cogs turning!
My aim is to get people talking to loved ones, friends, family, info from self-help books, therapy, blogs like this one, etc. Because suffering in silence can manifest into a sinister way of dealing with things, dependant upon severity of internal issues, in my opinion. Again, I have witnessed this first hand. Below are some articles and statistics of silent suffering. Click on the links to read more.
Mind.org say "we're very positive about the impact it can have in reminding people that it's good to talk" The Big Issue published Time To Change's advice relating to ill mental health during the pandemic - "A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference" My own mission from the beginning of my Facebook Page - Living With Panic a few years ago was to document my experiences past and present. I wore my heart on the outside of my body (never mind my sleeve!) and stripped my soul bare-backed in order to journal publicly. I chose this avenue because it created routine and a certain amount of pressure. I wanted people to resonate and realise that they were not crazy! Slightly embarrassing but my need to get things off my chest constructively overpowered any feelings of said embarrassment. It helped me and that’s what I got out of it. Honestly, regarding this blog, I’ve winged it. I had no clue what I was doing or how it would be received or even if I would keep it up. But I’ve found it to be my anchor. It’s my portal to creative thinking and let’s me use it as an outlet to discover myself and help others in the process. It helps to pose a rationality that would otherwise have the potential to reinvent scenarios into a dramatic, irrational sequence of events that would smash rationality into smithereens!
Thanks Blog!! (Metaphorically pat’s blog on the head!)
Q. Do your kids read what you write? A. I have 3 children who are all of an age where they have their own opinions and personalities. They are developed enough to understand what anxiety is. They have witnessed it first hand from their mother. They are absolutely aware that I write about it and have been since day one. My boys, I believe have not read it - they are way too cool and/or disinterested to read something mum writes and prefer to be reserved, however, they know they can talk to me about anything and we have regular check-ins. My girl, who is my middle child, and I have a bond so strong that we are open and honest about most things. Yes, she has read some of what I write, it’s in the public domain! But I am mindful that I have children who are switched on enough to use a website! In terms of questioning my influence over my children, I am teaching them, blog or no blog, about mental health awareness and it’s symptoms. I am also teaching them coping mechanisms should they ever succumb to ill mental health during their lifetime. Touch wood they don’t, but in today’s day and age, with social media at their fingertips and a world pandemic, I need them to have the tools ready. We do not live in the 1980’s anymore when mental health was taboo and full of labels. It’s the 21st century and mental health is more of a prominent topic than ever before. My children’s learnings are my responsibility and I hold myself accountable in making sure they are equipped with not only the knowledge, but the freedom to come to me whenever they feel they need to talk. About anything. As a parent, I might not always get it right. Heck, I haven’t always got it right! But I will always do my best and do it with my little people (they’re actually all bigger than me now!!) at the forefront of my mind.
So, sure there are people who don’t like what I do. People who think I share too much. People who don’t like me. But none of that is my business. It doesn’t matter to me as long as I inspire someone else and stay true to who I am. Am I losing street cred for the stuff I share? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Again it is a matter of opinion. And frankly, if the writing is on the wall for my dignity according to some, but it means that you can regain yours, then I’m more than happy to trade.
If you are struggling with any mental health issues, please reach out. To family, to friends or to your medical professional. There are also helplines available. Some UK telephone numbers are below:
SAMARITANS: 116 123 (Free from any phone - 24 hours a day)
SANEline: 0300 3047000 (16:30 - 22:30 every day)
THE MIX: 0808 808 4994 (Under 25's - Sunday to Friday 14:00 - 23:00)
Papyrus HOPELINE UK: 0800 068 4141(Under 35's - 10:00 - 22:00 weekdays, 14:00 - 22:00 weekends and bank holidays)
If you are outside of the UK, please check out BEFRIENDERS WORLDWIDE for support and helplines around the world
Take care and stay safe Love as always