Saturday, 23 May 2020

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2020 POST SIX | BUILDING ON PASSIONS & HOBBIES AS KINDNESS




"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."

Harriet Tubman



Welcome to the penultimate post in Mental Health Awareness Week here on I’m NOT Disordered!


Today, I thought I’d talk about how beneficial hobbies and passions can be and how building on them can be an act of kindness!


I wouldn’t say that I really have a ‘hobby’… but I used to! I used to absolutely love horse riding after going to a friend’s Birthday party at some stables, and I’d go for lessons every weekend at a local farm. I was obsessed with horses so when I wasn’t riding one, I was pretending that I was. Unfortunately though, I had a bit of a scare whilst riding one time – the horse I was on decided to gallop and when he finally obeyed my commands to slow down, he came to an abrupt stop at a jump and I almost went straight over his head! It was enough to dissuade me from riding ever again and so my one real hobby dwindled.


It didn’t seem like long without riding when the abuse began, and I stopped noticing or caring that I didn’t have a hobby or any real passion. Looking back, not many people I knew had a hobby then, so I really didn’t stand out for it; it wasn’t as though it was another sign of abuse that people missed… 




People did have passions though; when we had to choose three subjects to take at GCSE level, everyone knew at least one that they wanted to do because they were interested in it and care about the topic. I, on the other hand, was fairly uncertain. There was no pressure from my Mum to pick particular subjects so I really had free-rein and being unsure as to a career I might want in the future, I chose subjects that seemed vaguely appealing and I think the only one I really had anything close to passion for, was Textiles! I guess I had a very random (in that it was really unmotivated, and I had no idea where it had originated from) thought that I wanted to become a Fashion Designer!


I don’t think I really knew passion even after the abuse physically ended and I decided that I wanted to be a Lawyer to help bring justice to people like my abuser so that they couldn’t go on to hurt anyone else. It sounds like a worthwhile cause and a really well founded aspiration but even going on to study Law at A Level, I didn’t try my hardest at it; I didn’t strive to do my best and make my dream of being a Lawyer come true. I didn’t really strive to do anything but hurt myself.


After my A Levels, when my mental health deteriorated; I was so passionate about killing myself that I fought off six Police Officers who were trying to take me to a psychiatric hospital! And when I had attempted suicide and was being restrained in a medical hospital, I used my toes to take the needle that was administering the treatment out of the vein in my foot. I was so passionately suicidal that I was put on life support in intensive care because I absolutely refused to have the antidote to the medication I’d overdosed on. Of course, this is a very, very negative passion but it was passion nonetheless and it taught me a few things about passion:


1.       When you have something you really want then you’ll do everything in your power to get it



2.       Anyone who stands in your way is either seen as an obstacle or challenge, or an enemy


3.       An obstacle can just inspire your passion more and help you to build on it


Seeing passion in a positive light definitely came with when I started blogging in 2013 with, I’m NOT Disordered! I mean, I always say that if you put me in a room of strangers to do a presentation I would be so nervous and reluctant to talk about myself but to talk about my blog and it’s achievements? I could go on for hours! I think that having a passion like this and me still acting on thoughts of self-harm or suicide is just evidence that those thoughts and feelings are so powerful that no amount of passion can motivate me to fight them. Having I’m NOT Disordered does help though, there’s been a lot of times when my thoughts have been bad and my blog has been enough to stop me – when I’ve thought ‘if I do something today then I might not get to go to this event’ or ‘if I do that then I’ll not be able to give this presentation.’ It’s also helped in that there’s been a lot of blog posts where I’ve given advice and that’s served as a good reminder for myself to think ‘I’d be a total hypocrite if I didn’t try this for myself!’


My passion for I’m NOT Disordered knows no bounds, but it hasn’t always been that way. When I received some nasty comments in the first few years of my blogging career, I allowed them the power to cause me to close my blog down. In the end though, they became motivation to continue! Stopping blogging showed me just how passionate I was about it because I missed it so much! Starting my blog back up, I used overcoming those negative comments as strength for me to face any criticisms or negative feedback with persistence. I used my passion to conquer any hurdles thrown my way – and whilst I have been incredibly lucky to not receive any more negative comments, there have been a few obstacles over the seven years I’m NOT Disordered has been going!


I find building on my passion of blogging really useful for my mental health because it’s a kindness to myself to allow me the opportunity to grow and to develop more confidence in the area. It’s also a kindness to others because I guess there’s no denying that my blog helps others and if I build on my passion and skills around it, then hopefully my blog will reach – and help – more and more people!


To build on my passion, I’ve used two websites which offer online learning: Future Learn, and the Centre of Excellence. Both sites host an incredibly varied amount of courses and diplomas that can better your knowledge and really enhance your talent, skills, and passion!