Monday, 12 April 2021

THE INS AND OUTS OF GIVING A SPEECH | MY EXPERIENCES, TIPS, & RESOURCES | IN COLLABORATION WITH CUMBRIA, NORTHUMBERLAND, TYNE, AND WEAR NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

So, I delivered a speech to some of the Peer Support Workers from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS FoundationTrust (CNTW) and decided to upload videos of clips of my twenty-minute speech to social media. I received a lovely response and was sent a few private messages asking more about the bits that you don’t see – the behind-the-scenes parts of giving a speech, so I thought it’d make for a good blog post…

My first speech:

I think that my first real speech was for a Time To Change event named Story Camp in 2015 (you can read about it here) – and it was requested after I had volunteered at one of their events in 2014 (which you can also read about here).

With it being my first opportunity to do something like that, I obviously had a lot of nerves and fear at the thought of standing before a ton of complete strangers and talking about my mental illness and other experiences that most people would deem ‘personal’ and ‘private.’

I think that the fact my first speech had been requested could have had a negative impact on me and cause me stress if I felt as though there was pressure on me to do it. But actually, it really helped me in providing motivation to do it because I felt sort-of obliged. As though if Time To Change (a big organisation centred around challenging mental health stigma) could go through the process it would have taken to choose me, the least I could do was take them up on their offer!

Sunday, 4 April 2021

OUR CREATIVE JOURNEYS | IN COLLABORATION WITH NYXIE | AD

*these illustrations were very kindly gifted, all commissions currently £30*

When I spotted Nyxie’s incredible illustration of a cat on Twitter, I immediately contacted her to have illustrations created of my own pets; my bunny Pixie, and my cat; Emmy! My chats with Nyxie ended up in us talking about our journeys in terms of creativity and it turned out we had so many elements in common. And it was that chat, which has inspired this post…

How I learned about imagination

My first memories of being creative are from my nana and I ripping up the furniture bits from catalogues and sticking them on paper to make little collages of rooms in houses. I remember, even then, being aware of how much fun it was and that I enjoyed being able to use my imagination. I liked realizing that you could take paper and glue and produce something lovely. That you could live out your dreams through creativity.

Discovering the power of creativity

The next memories were of writing short stories about horses and creating little gifts for my Mum and Nana. I actually found one of those which I’d given to my Nana when she was poorly. It was a little booklet with each page being some sort of ‘benefit’ that happens when you’re ill. There were things like ‘Grandad has to bring you food’ or ‘you get to stay in bed all day.’ From doing these things, I saw how something creative could impact a person’s mood. Their thoughts and their feelings.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

HOW THE ABUSE HAS CHANGED MY LIFE

So, the inspiration for this post came after I first submitted the manuscript for my soon-to-be-released book; Everything Disordered, to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). There were a few changes and corrections needed in terms of the sizing and layout of the book (it has already been proofread by Emma Wharfe from St Oswald’s Hospice) and one of the biggest and most obvious change was the design of the books cover. Having made a little song and dance about the original cover design in using social media posts to build up the release of it, I was dubious about making the change. I was so worried that others would see me as inconsistent and unreliable. After speaking about my worry and think about it a bit more, I came to the conclusion that to feel the need to make changes in this way, shouldn’t be discouraged or belittled. At the same time, having been a completely intolerant person to change of any kind, I could understand others struggling with this…

HOW THE ABUSE HAS CHANGED ME:

1.    My childhood impression of the world was destroyed

I think the first big change in my life was a combination of my trauma – the abuse – and growing up. I had an idyllic childhood that was full of love and safety. I can’t remember anything ‘bad’ ever happening until I was fifteen and the abuse started. I’d love to give my children (if I have any!) a very similar childhood, but with one difference: I’d make sure that their schooling gave them better education around trauma and mental health.

2.    The self-harm response

I think whilst it’s more than understandable, for abuse and rape to have a hugely negative impact on a person’s mental health; I can imagine a factor to increase the risk of this happening, is when the victim (or survivor depending on which way you see it) lacks the knowledge to even determine the abuse to be wrong and to know what to do about it. I mean, I’ll probably always wonder whether knowing those things would have provided a level of stability in some way. As though knowing the words ‘rape’ and ‘abuse’ would aid me in the aftermath for my mental health. That maybe I’d have coped in a much safer way.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

#FINDSCOUT

So, I'm going to do something a little bit unusual for I'm NOT Disordered... the inspiration for this post comes from me randomly seeing someone’s tweet about not knowing what to do when her daughter’s world is falling apart. Out of sheer curiosity, I looked through the tweets and discovered that her daughter; Jess has lost her cat. Her beloved calico cat, Scout went missing just over three weeks ago in the Gateshead area of the North East of England. 

So, I contacted Jess and offered to post about Scout on my blog. Now, I’ve read about so many instances of pets going missing and whilst they’re all saddening, I don’t think I’ve gotten as emotional as I did when reading about Jess and Scout. I think one reason for this was the resemblance Scout has to my own calico cat; Emmy; but the biggest reason was that literally everything Jess was saying about her thoughts and feelings around Scout felt like an echo of me.