Day 40… Lights in the darkness

light-in-the-dark

Well I can’t quite believe it’s Easter Day and that this challenge is at it’s end.

Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to this blog by sharing your story around mental health or wellbeing. You have been both courageous and generous with what you have shared  and a real blessing to those who have read your story. I’d also like to thank all those who have followed the blog in any way; it’s been really nice to hear that you have been encouraged in some way by what you have read here. This blog will of course remain open and I will always aim to publish your story if you feel you are ready to share it. I’d also like to say at this point that it is now safe to subscribe (below) to this blog without fear of a daily bombardment of email from me!! Continue reading

Cross Oceans

cross oceans

Day 39 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge, I really can’t believe there is only one day left! As I said before, I’ll post day 40 on Easter Day, however, if you have a story, in-between now and then, I will post it.

I often see sayings like the one crossed out above on sites like Facebook and Linked-in, and it always makes me a bit sad. I came across this version a few weeks ago (I think maybe a quote from Jay John, but it’s off the internet so not totally sure!)  and thought it was brilliant and wondered if it may have an application for this blog… Continue reading

Taboo

taboo

Day 35 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. So I am wondering about getting to day 39 and then taking a break until Easter Sunday. In the meantime I shall continue to collect new contributions (please keep them coming in!) and focus on getting more exposure to the contributions that have already been written. I shall also spend some time thinking about and planning what happens next, since this blog has attracted far more interest than I imagined it would. Watch this space!

Today, I’m going to reblog something simple I wrote a couple of years ago about the Taboo surrounding mental wellbeing… Continue reading

Sarah’s Postnatal Depression

postnatal-online

Day 34 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. Still more space for contributions, please please do get in touch. Remember to “share” or “re-post” if you have been moved or encouraged by anything you read here. We need lots more hits on the blog to reach 5000 before Easter!

We know that postnatal depression is more common than we may be aware, but it can still really take us by surprise and leave us feeling isolated and inadequate. Today Sarah really kindly shares her story with us… Continue reading

5000 views…?

Day 32 of my 40 (46) Day Blog Challenge. In case you are new here, let me fill you in . I decided to publish a blog around the subject of mental health and wellbeing every day for Lent. Mental health is such an important subject to be speaking about openly, and I wanted to see what would happen if I started this. Very quickly, lots of people decided to join in and write about their own experiences of mental health. It has been such a blessing. And thank you everyone who has participated so far. There are now just 2 weeks left to go.

So now I’d like to challenge you! Continue reading

I Overcame Self-Doubt…

Dear+Self+DoubtDay 29 of my 40 Day blog Challenge (I found out today that Lent this year has more than 40 days, it has 46!! So my 40 Day Challenge is actually a 46 Day Challenge!!), who knew?! And if you did, why didn’t you tell me! 😉 This means there is plenty more room for your contributions 🙂

Today we have a lovely story from Susie about overcoming serious self-doubt:

I overcame self-doubt

Seriously, I think that as you grow, people’s perception of you can have a big impact on how you see yourself. As I grew up, surrounded by a family that had very little expectation of me, and not being pushed to do well at school or in any area, I never really had any confidence in myself or my abilities. Continue reading

Resilience: around the world on his bike!

Day 25 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. If I thought Id’d set myself a challenge doing this blog for 40 days, then Josiah Skeats is a challenge legend! I have been following his blog as he cycles around the world, from the UK toward Australia. As a keen cyclist myself, I know how disheartening it can be when you are  cycling into a bit of a headwind, let alone some of the crazy conditions Josiah has faced. So I figured I’d ask him about resilience, and he has so kindly written the following blog for us on the subject. Please do check out his personal blog, or follow him on Facebook, it is a truly wonderful story.

Resilience

Of the many lessons you learn on a 25,000 kilometre cycling journey around the world, learning to be resilient, and to overcome difficult situations is one of the most valuable. Contrary to what you might imagine, the physical challenge of cycling such a vast distance pales in comparison to the mental challenges. Continue reading

Not “OK”

Firstly, our thoughts must be with all those individuals and families affected by yesterday’s terrible events in Westminster. It has been a truly dark day. 

I had another blog lined up to post today but felt the need say something about the events of yesterday. Today’s will be a brief post. 

The events took place just less than 1/2 mile from my office in Westminster. I was in a team meeting at the time, oblivious to what what was happening. It was only when we checked the answerphone after the meeting that we all became aware. 

At first it was surreal. I called my wife to say I was ok. We all made our way out of the office and started our various journeys home. I got the 17.06 back to Sussex and the safety of my home and family, for which it feels I have never been more grateful. 

It was only during the evening that the reality began to sink in. I didn’t want to watch the news, and spent the rest of the evening feeling numb and subdued. 

That feeling remains with me this morning as I write this on the train heading back into Westminster. I could pretend everything was ok, but somehow, my small part of the world feels very different today. 

Thankfully I wasn’t caught up in the events yesterday; but they have certainly had an impact on me. I felt the need to share that, as I process what it means to work in the heart of a city which has no immunity in this era of terrorism. 

Of course, things will settle down and probably quickly return to “normal”. But for today, I acknowledge that I’m really not OK, and that is OK. 

Anxiety Attack…

Anxiety

Day 22 of my 40 Day Blog Challenge. When anxiety takes hold full force, it can be a terrifying and crippling experience. Today, Jack boldly shares his experience with a period of acute anxiety.

Acute Anxiety Attack

I had got to the place where I accepted that mental health issues affect people, but I wasn’t ready to believe that I would be one of them. Third child in as many years and we were not sleeping well. I was run down and had a virus. It was February 2015 and I was not prepared for what happened next. Continue reading

Pause for thought 


Day 15 of my 40 Day Blog challenge. So I’m two weeks into the challenge, although I should really say we are two weeks in. I have been blown away by the number of people who have already contributed to this blog and what started out as quite a naive idea for Lent, is beginning to take on a life of its own. 
So today I thought I’d pause for thought. We’ve heard a number of stories, most from people I know, and most I wasn’t aware of. 

And that’s the point isn’t it. Most of the time we soldier on, suffer in relative silence and can feel so alone. 

We often hear about the statistic that 1 in 4 of us will suffer some kind of mental health issue. Personally I believe this is more likely the number of people who end up gaining treatment/support for their mental health. The truth is, our mental wellness is very fluid, and even the most resilient of us can suffer poorer spells of mental wellbeing. 

I liken it to having a cold, but mentally. For whatever reason, be it life events, trauma, biology, most of us will experience seasons in our life where we struggle to connect with our sense of self we are so used to. And this can be a really challenging time. 

Some of us will suffer severe and enduring mental health issues such as schizophrenia, personality disorders (an awful way to label an illness), bi-polar etc. I imagine most of us think of these types of illnesses when we talk about mental health. Yet others of us, if not most of us, will go through seasons of varying mental health, and it seems that we still don’t have much of a language to be able to talk about this. 

I am thrilled that through this blog, numbers of people have been able to talk about some difficult issues. Today I’d encourage us to think about our own mental health, to consider those times in our life when we have struggled and also to think about what helped to get you through, how did you get support, what helped things to change?

It is so important that we know the kind of support we need when we are struggling, and it helps us to know this in advance. 

I’m really looking forward to hearing more of your stories, please do get in touch if you’d like to contribute.