Today was a phenomenal day! I attended the Rethink Mental Illness Event and I was surrounded by other key activists who all shared the same thing as me - we are all passionate about seeing a change in the way mental health is treated.
When I arrived, I was nervous; I have never been to an event like this before. Looking around, I believe I was the youngest person there and insecurities arose as I hadn't lived the lives these people had lived. But age did not matter for everyone of us had different experiences and I was honoured to get to hear about all the people I had met and how they had been personally affected by mental health. It took me a while to get into the swing of it as we all know I am an anxious soul in new surroundings, but after a sandwich and breaking the first barrier of simply saying something, it got easier. Little steps, after all!
My main reason for going to this today was to raise my argument that the education and treatment of mental health in schools needs to be improved greatly. Schools simply do not receive enough funding, so many students (and teachers) miss out on vital information, treatment and support they are entitled to. I speak from experience as a woman who has been out of secondary education for nearly a year and looking back realised that a lot of support and general understanding was lacking. I was so pleased to hear that other people shared this belief with me and I loved hearing what other people heard. The most reoccuring things was the stigma attached and is something I am also strongly passionate about. Mental health has a horrible stigma that makes it hard to speak about, which is why I try my best to be as open as possible, hence my blog posts on it. I know it helps people and that isn't being big headed, it's because it's been said to me by those who have at some point struggled and found comfort in the words I have said, which is the greatest thing I can hear from someone. That and you look nice today, but more important.
I also did a small speech that was recorded, all for education and treatment in schools. I was composed and I think I enlightened new people on Trichotillomania, which was a wonderful achievement for me! I was even complimented for what I was saying and how I was saying it - a huge confidence boost for me! It made me beam and I enjoyed every aspect of the day. I was also happy that I could make someone's day by revealing that since I've got more of a fight in me now than I did before - just because I live with mental health, doesn't mean I should suffer!
Overall, thank you to everyone involved and I cannot wait till the next one and my own little summer picnic!