Hey everyone. I hope all is well and that you all had a good Christmas. The COVID-19 restrictions that have been put in place recently definitely messed with our Christmas plans, but we made the best of the situation and had the best festive period we could. I know one thing: I’ve eaten REALLY badly, but it is Christmas and so that’s my excuse for eating rubbish.
I also hope that you’ve managed to get some time to relax, chill and recharge. I can’t stress enough how important it is to do that and it can be for as long as you want – sometimes ten minutes is enough. I find that just listening to or watching something works for me, helping me recharge and get back on track so I’m prepared for my next challenges.
Today I want to talk about my lived experience, how I’ve felt delivering the lessons I’ve learned from it to appreciative audiences and hearing the feedback they’ve given me. When I was 18 I had to do Community Service and I asked to be sent on a drug and alcohol awareness course, because I didn’t know anything about the subject. I was accepted and I asked to talk to someone who had lived experience of these areas. I had two, two-hour sessions with an older gentleman and they were four hours well spent, because I learned a helluva lot from him. Afterwards, when my friends talked about drugs and alcohol, I felt a little bit more secure in the inside information I’d been given.
In the last two to three years I’ve started talking about my mental health journey at local events, and have also been lucky enough to deliver some training to the front-of-house team at my local council. I’ve also been able to talk in local schools about self-harm and all things mental health, which I have to say was bloody awesome. I’ve blogged about those experiences so you can look them up, and I have Access Community Trust and Tod James to thank for providing me with the opportunity. I’m now involved in some new projects that Beth and Richard from Access have offered me, so I’d like to thank them too – I love working with you.
Doing these events has made me want to do more. I feel so empowered once I leave an event, thinking that I might actually have helped someone on that day. It makes me feel good, but if you saw me leading up to my presentation, you’d see an anxious mess who doesn’t want to go out and speak. But, in the end, I get there. Once I start talking, I feel relaxed and at home (even though I’m still nervous underneath!)
Thank you all for reading. I wish you a Happy New Year and look forward to your continued support.