This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the theme for this year is surviving or thriving which seemed like an ideal opportunity to have a look back and to see which of those is the best description of where we are.
From a personal point of view and relating it to my own mental health, I’m probably on the verge of being able to thrive. I’ve been working hard at doing the right things, such as getting to the gym, trying not to sweat the small stuff and generally taking better care of myself. All those things help me keep the ship on an even keel along with my medication which continues to help. I read today a quote from Andrew Flintoff today that made me chuckle which was about medication.
“If I was playing cricket and I had a bad leg, I’d take an anti-inflammatory. If I had a headache, I’d have an aspirin or a paracetamol. My head’s no different. If there’s something wrong with me, I’m taking something to help that. And they’re not happy pills, I don’t take a pill and I’m seeing unicorns and rainbows – I just start feeling normal after a few weeks.”
I’ve heard them called ‘happy pills’ a number of times and I don’t think they have that effect on me as I’ve not seen a unicorn yet! For me personally, they just take the edge off how I’m feeling so that I’m a bit more level. That’s not to say that I don’t feel anything or that I’m numb, it’s just more that I don’t now have the extremes that I would have once struggled with.
I’ve also made some strides forward with work and how I cope with everything. As I’ve been very open about my condition since I started there it makes it much easier to deal with and it also makes it easier for other people to start a conversation about how you are. Having that support has taken some of the load off my shoulders and it’s always good to know that there is someone to talk to or that the support is there should you find yourself struggling.
The other difference I’ve found is that I’m more aware of when things are starting to change or when the cloud is coming so I’m in a better position to try and fight it. I think I’ve also learnt lessons from my past when I haven’t always dealt with it that well so now make a conscious effort to try and deal with things better.
There are still a few areas that I need to improve on but things are on a much more positive footing. From the perspective of the Dan Rhodes Foundation, on some levels we are surviving and on others we are starting to thrive.
As a new charity, it’s been hard going to get things up and running as there are so many things to do and sort out before you get to trying to put out your message and raise money. It’s also makes it difficult when you are so emotionally invested in what you are doing as you tend to take everything very personally, especially if things aren’t going well. We’re now through the first stages though and it’s now about getting our message out to a wider audience so that we can make a difference on a wider scale and so that we can reach as many people as possible.
For our social media accounts, we are probably at the limit of my friend reach so it’s now about how we can break through the barriers and get into a wider audience. There are some new blog contributions coming which will hopefully help along with the upcoming events but we just need to try and get some wider exposure. There are lots more fund raising events coming to try and help raise money for the Blurt Foundation and Mind.
In the wider sense, I’ve been really pleased with some of the feedback that we’ve had in making a difference to people. When I set out on this journey, I always thought that if we could make a difference to one person then we would have achieved something as that would hopefully start a ripple effect and that together we could then change the world. I’ve been touched by comments from a couple of people recently who have said how much the support has helped them. No matter what else happens from here the Foundation will always be a success in my eyes. Along with that the thanks I had from the ex-Serviceman at the Major Series event really made my day.
Hopefully if we can reach a wider audience then we can make even more of a difference and together we can make a difference and change the world. Help us thrive by spreading the word and sharing our posts, page and blogs with your friends as one of them might be struggling and it could help.
Onwards and upwards.