An anonymous volunteer from Freedom of Mind Festival explains why opening up and talking about mental health is such an important issue to them.
When considering what to write here I couldn’t come up with a topic that I would have been comfortable writing without anonymity. This is what Freedom of Mind means to me.
I feel ashamed by my mental health and I don’t want to share anything alongside my name for fear of judgement. This needs to end and a key step in the process is discussion – these are the ideals which Freedom of Mind has been built around.
Recently I’ve been writing a lot, but always anonymously. I find it incredibly liberating; one day I hope that I can write openly about these topics and feel happy attaching my name to the piece.
I wish I could say that if you’re reading this, and you know me, then you know about my mental health, but unfortunately that’s not the case. It’s not something that we’re comfortable talking about yet and that’s why we need events like Freedom of Mind Festival to promote awareness, debate and discussion.
I have long term depression, anxiety and OCD. My friends and family say they want to talk about these things but nobody wants to talk about my suicide attempt. Trying to take my own life changed things and is something that makes me feel deeply ashamed – it’s something I still think about every day. My anxiety bleeds any enjoyment out of many ‘fun’ things but, honestly, I feel like I’m just taxing my friends if I speak up. My Obsessive Compulsive Disorder makes me cry alone in the toilets of my office but people joke that they’re aligning their pens because they’re ‘so OCD’.
I have tried to open up about my depression but people struggle to understand that depression isn’t just feeling sad. My depression makes me feel numb. I don’t feel sad – I just don’t feel anything. This is when I’m the most dangerous to myself because I want to feel something and it doesn’t matter what.
I keep a straight face because I have to. I’m not a stereotype and on the surface I’m happy, confident and outgoing. I have no qualms with public speaking on a good day yet answering the front door to the postman is impossible. My mental health doesn’t make sense to other people and so we don’t talk about it.
Everybody has their demons, it’s a shame that we have created a society where it’s so hard to talk about them.
Talking to people about your mental health is important and can be incredibly useful. There are amazing people and resources just a click away. If you’re under 25 and in Bristol then check out Off The Record, otherwise Time To Change have a bunch of useful links right here.
Would you like to write a blog post for us? Or just want to get involved in Freedom Of Mind Festival? Pop your details into this form and we’ll be in touch soon.