So, it may not be World Mental Health Day until the 10th of October but I’ve actually already attended an event to celebrate the occasion with North Tyneside Launchpad at Cullercoats Crescent Club, where I was very kindly asked to give a talk on social media and blogging. With this year’s World Mental Health Day being around the theme of suicide prevention, I decided to center my talk around the life-changing benefits and consequences that social media can have on someone. After discovering the UK suicide statistics (there are over 800,000 suicides in the UK per year and it is the leading cause of death in 15-29 years olds) and having my own experiences, it’s something I’m very passionate about so talking to a crowd of strangers about it seemed do-able!
I still remember my very first public speaking event at the Time To Change Story Camp in London and I called my Mum as a hysterical, anxious mess and told her there was no way that I could do it! But of course, I ended up giving the speech and it wasn’t such a total disaster that I didn’t say ‘no’ to all future invitations to do some public speaking! And in continuing to give talks and speeches, I’ve learnt a few things that I thought I’d share because I’d like to encourage you all to share your own experiences publicly because I’ve seen how beneficial it can be for others.
I used to go over and over what I was going to say and sometimes I’d even practice out loud in front of others to get their thoughts on my speech, but I found that this meant I was almost setting myself up for failure. It’d be impossible to deliver the speech exactly how I prepared it to do – exactly how I wanted it to go. So, this time, I decided to create a PowerPoint but the format of the event meant that I couldn’t deliver it as a presentation and I just used it as a way to make notes to remind me of the important points I wanted to cover. I read it over a few times and luckily memorized the statistics because when it came to actually giving the talk, my hands were shaking so much that I didn’t want to put focus on them by holding onto pieces of paper!
So, I sort of ‘winged it!’ In the end, it actually meant more to me that I managed to give the talk without my notes because it helped stabilize my thoughts on what I am most passionate about; it reminded me that there’s something I want to do with my life because there are still times when I wonder what I’m doing with my life! Wonder why I should fight against the suicidal thoughts.
Use your passion as courage
Since my first speech, I’ve always said that I find it easier to talk about my blog than about myself. That probably sounds odd because I pour my heart out on I’m NOT Disordered and you all probably think that I tell you absolutely everything there is to know about me but that is so much easier when I’m telling you from the comfort of my own home and we’re not face to face. When I’m writing a blog post, I never imagine how many people will read it or think of how people will respond and what they’ll think of me when they do see it.
Something I don’t struggle to talk about in person, though, is social media and blogging and the benefits it can have on your mental health. It’s kind of a round-a-bout way of me talking about myself because to help you understand the impact my blog has had on my mental health; I’d need to say a little about my own journey. This is a lot easier to do though when I can hang on to my passion for promoting that everyone should use social media or try blogging. I think that bearing in mind the positives me pouring my heart out can have on others is so helpful in motivating me to find the courage and bravery to give a public speech.
All of the Twitter links:
Paul Nicol - https://twitter.com/0lderpreb0re
Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust - https://twitter.com/CNTWNHS
Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland - https://twitter.com/RapeCrisisTN
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust - https://twitter.com/NorthumbriaNHS
Alan Campbell MP - https://twitter.com/alancampbellmp
Martin Baker - https://twitter.com/GumOnMyShoeBook
Barnardos - https://twitter.com/barnardos
North Tyneside Mayor, Norma Redfearn - https://twitter.com/NormaRedfearn
LEAPS - https://twitter.com/leapsonline
Recovery College - https://twitter.com/RecoveryCoCo
Launchpad North Tyneside - https://twitter.com/LaunchpadNT
For more info on the event: