This week is Mental Health Awareness week and I had actual time on my hands this weekend to sit down and write this blog. I work for YoungMinds, if you’re unsure who they are, they’re a charity fighting for young people’s mental health support, services and awareness. The work they do is amazing, however, today I want to think about YOU! You reading this right now! Yes, you! How are you? I haven’t seen you in a while, you doing ok? it may seem simple but checking in with your friends like that could have a much greater effect than you even realise. Our Mental health issues can be so brutal, I should know I’m battling fucking loads of them, and the tiniest thing like messaging me, could absolutely make my day! I’m serious! I can’t by any means speak for everyone but I certainly over analyse everything, from how you word messages to me all the way to who messages first. I think it’s no secret that I don’t hold myself very highly, like AT ALL, yet being the one who isn’t initiating things makes me feel that bit better about myself, ‘maybe I am likeable’ as thinking I’m not likeable is something I do a lot and so anyone that messages first is a blessing!
Something I’ve learned really recently is that mental health problems can sometimes be side effects from other things happening in your life, therefore, to reach the problem you must first take a huge step back and really look at yourself, and I know how hard it is but you understand yourself way better than anyone else, and with such an underfunded and stretched mental health system in the UK, going to your appointment with an idea and lots of notes can offen speed up the process a little, you get to avoid the ‘give it 4 weeks then come back if it doesn’t improve or gets worse’ trick. I can give you an example from my own life. On my latest Gay Culture Podcast I opened up about my gender identity and I feel way better in myself having finally accepted that part of me! Don’t get me wrong, I still have huge anxieties over just about anything but I’ve noticed some subtle changes to my mental health which I confidently put down to finally being open about both my gender identity and sexuality for the first time, that stuff really builds up.
So on Mental Health Awareness week, even though it shouldn’t just be a week. I ask that you be kind to someone in your life, your best friend, a friend you’ve not spoken to for a while, your quieter friends, anyone at all! You never know who’s day you might be making by messaging and being kind!
On Friday the 4th of May 2018 (May the Fourth Be With You Bish) I attended the Stonewall Youth Awards after completing the Stonewall Young Campaigners Program! The day was a chance to celebrate the work we’d all done or the therefor lack of work I’d done (I’m so busy it’s horrible!) it was so good seeing the friends I made on the residential and meeting even more new people from the south version of the program, including a Tory LGBT+ activist! (which I’m still trying to get my head around)
Jade from Little Mix was there to present the Young Campaigner of the Year award and to speak of why being an Ally is important to her! Seeing the amazing people I went on the residential with was so special! I love them all so bloody much! They are the people who inspired me to start You Are You, Gay Culture ‘The Podcast’ as well as to accept my gender and sexuality just as it is. Because believe it or not before my work with Stonewall I knew very little about this stuff, even my own sexuality was confusing to me, and now I know so much and continue to learn every day about myself and others and how anyone could hate such a beautiful, diverse and accepting community is beyond me!
By far my personal highlight was meeting Ruth Hunt! Me and fellow young campaigner Tom weren’t over fussed that one of Little Mix was there but we were keen to meet Ruth! After debating if we should we did and she was even more amazing in real life! Meeting someone in real life after seeing loads of videos online is totally different, it feels real and speaking to her face to face was everything! She has a way with words that is both calming and inspiring!