This year, Time to Change (TTC) will be working in partnership, with I’m NOT Disordered on a exclusive series of projects for Time To Talk Day (TTD) on February 2nd.
Questions completed by Angharad May, Mental Health Blogger, featured in Channel 4 Documentary: On the Edge and Online
Can you tell us about the worst (least helpful, most upsetting, anger-provoking etc) talk you’ve had with another person regarding mental health?
I was talking to a mental health professional who told me that I simply had to 'leave the past in the past' when I was experiencing flashbacks; that I should just 'distract myself'; that I wasn't 'trying hard enough' in my recovery and compared me to someone who had apparently tried and fought much harder than me; that other clients were much worse off than me; that I was 'attention-seeking'; that I was 'messing around' when I couldn't eat; and that I was 'pretending to be psychotic' when I was hallucinating and hearing voices. A lot of other things were said which I cannot talk about. This conversation, or rather several conversations with this person, made me feel frightened of them, of this person who I was supposed to be able to trust to help me get better. I was also frightened that they had turned other people against me too, which made it even more difficult for me to trust. I was in hospital, and pretty vulnerable, when the conversations took place. I disagreed with pretty much everything that was said to me, but didn't have the confidence or assertiveness skills to be able to stand up for myself, and then I began to doubt myself and in turn believed what was said to me, which then sent me into a massive downward spiral. This conversation had a very negative impact on me and my hard work in recovery. However, I have become strong enough to now turn this negative into a positive. I am proving them wrong, and getting myself better in so doing.
Can you tell us about the greatest (most positive, beneficial, encouraging, supportive etc) talk you’ve had with another person regarding mental health?
The last three nights before I was discharged from hospital this week, I had the most wonderful conversations with a mental health professional. Over time, when I finally began to emerge out of my room, we just clicked and I looked up to this person and trusted them. I was able to talk about really painfully difficult things, and they just sat there and listened which is all I needed - to feel heard. We could talk about anything and everything, or sit comfortably in silence. I felt this person understood me, and I understood them. We had a connection and that helped me so much. This person believed in me, which helped me believe in myself. This person treated me just like normal and this made me feel accepted and safe and like I actually am worth something and fit in somewhere. Yes, there are good days and bad days, and we talked about how to deal with the downs in order to get to the ups, so that I can sparkle. This person shared my victories with me, no matter how big or small, they were there for me to share my triumphs with, and celebrate them, which helped spur me on even more. I will never forget how this person made me feel - happy, free, at peace, accepted and liked just for being myself. It has helped me accept myself and just be myself no matter what anyone else says or thinks about me. I can just be me, and be happy with that.
Finally, list three reasons why you think people should talk about mental health: