Where do I start?
Hello, my name is Hello Sailor, but you can call me Sailor.
I was shocked to be asked to join Canvas, but that doesn’t seem like a good starting point.
I’ve read Canvas for a while and I couldn’t figure out why I’d been asked. In my opinion writers of this blog are super talented. They have the ability to write in such a way that it feeds my imagination and I can strongly illustrate their stories in my mind. I didn’t think I was in their league, surely I can’t write like that???
I started thinking about what I can contribute to the group, (while secretly smiling to myself that perhaps, maybe, I can write!).
My mind is very logical. I read the “About Canvas” page to answer my question and to see what I could, or if I could contribute……
We want to use this site to speak on the topic of mental health, through different voices and different perspectives.
Well I can do that bit. My whole personal blog is about how my mental health affects my everyday life, and vice versa. I’m not reserved when it comes to talking about mental health – in real life or under my alias. Many people are still embarrassed about talking about depression, or self harm, or eating disorders. Why is that? People don’t go bright red at the mention of heart disease, diabetes or other physical complaints! I think this is one of the reasons I feel the need to talk about it, so people will know that in real life it is possible to live and function with a mental health problem and it is not something to be embarrassed about. Talking about it also helps me.
I guess I have a different voice to some of the other authors, seeing as I am from London, England (I hope you are reading this in a British accent now). Our health care system differs vastly from the US. This isn’t always a good thing, as some of my American friends have assumed. I think both systems have pros and cons, but I’m sure I’ll get around to that soon.
My perspective varies with mood, as I’m sure you can understand. I always maintain an air of hope and I also like to use humour in my writing to deflect the harshness that is a reality of living with depression and all the other monsters in my head. Don’t ever think I’m making light of these illness, it is just a way I have found to cope.
We are interested in all types of people in all different roles becoming involved in this conversation. Advocates, educators, the newly diagnosed, those who have fought the good fight for years. We want, most of all, to form a supportive network of connected bloggers who feel open and comfortable sharing their experiences.
Yep, I think I cover that one too.
I’ve been fighting “the good fight” since I was little. I remember being around 8 years old when I had my first anxiety attack, things got progressively worse until I hit 14 and was admitted to a psychiatric unit for a year and diagnosed with anxiety, depression, OCD and anorexia. This was the time when my “others” Charlotte and Jack were “born” to help me with the fight. At 15 years old I managed to go back to school and achieve 5 GCSE’s, even though the doctors and teachers told me I’d fail all of them. At 16 I went to college and studied journalism, while still suffering with depression and self harm. I found a job working with animals and quit college, because it was like it was meant to be.
At 18 I had another breakdown due to bullying at work and my past catching up with me. I became controlling, anorexic and depressed again and was then diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. I managed to stay out of hospital and after a lot of time and effort (on my part and my family) I recovered. I say “recovered” in the loose sense that I became functional again. Mentally there was still something not right, but I could fight to pretend to be alright. I like to question recovery from mental illness. Is recovery possible, or do you just learn to live with this chronic condition?
When I was 20 I decided to train to be a Veterinary Nurse (a Vet Tech to all you US readers!). Again, despite depression and low self-esteem, I was the first in my class to qualify, which is still my proudest achievement to date.
Now, 8 years into my nursing career and too many life changes later, I have had another “mental breakdown” so it often feels like I’m back at square one. I’m back in therapy, back on happy pills, back trying to fight the good fight and taking things one day at a time. I highly suspect I have undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder, but I am yet to have this conversation with my psychologist.
I’m still managing to hold down my job. This is hugely important to me as my patients bring me the happiness that I sometimes have difficulty finding. I’m also studying at university to gain a post-graduate qualification in Vet Nursing.
I am open about my mental health, but maybe too open? I have felt so alone during many points of my life and I don’t want that for others. If I can be open, then maybe that gives hope to someone else.
Those who are looking for answers about their mental health are just as welcome as those who feel they have found them.
I’ve discovered some of my answers, but I will always ask questions.
I think we all have our own answers, somewhere deep inside. We just have to ask the right questions to find them.
I am happy to share my answers with others, if they ask the right questions too, but my answers might not be right for everyone.
……your thoughts and insights are of value to us. Your unique ideas and experiences are of value to us. You are of value to us.
I read numerous mental health blogs, and many have been insightful and valuable to me. Through reading other people’s experiences and connecting with people I have discovered a lot about myself, as well as other people. I also wonder if my unique ideas and experiences help other people. Chances are they do, but I know one thing – I value countless people here in the blogosphere, so that must mean I’m valued too!
The basic premise of A Canvas Of The Minds is this: Each of our authors has something so valuable and very much their own to contribute. Through these many singular and extraordinary perspectives, we become stronger as a community, and we become stronger as individuals.
Do you know what? I think maybe I do have what it takes to contribute to Canvas!
And I am totally looking forward to it!
See you around!
© Hellosailor and A Canvas Of The Minds 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Hellosailor and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.