Yesterday, I was given an amazing opportunity to attend Story Camp. It's an event ran by Time To Change and it explores the ways in which we can share our mental health stories.
The one thing I learnt from the event is that my story has power. It has the power to challenge stigma and change mental health conversations. It has the power to reach out to others and give people the strength to open up about their own mental health.
Today I decided to set up this blog and share my thoughts with you all. So here it goes...
I'm Natalie. I'm 36 and last year I had a breakdown. I'll go into details about that separately, I don't want to give it all away in one blog!! I am a Time to Change Champion, a Mind Blue Light Champion and I am involved with Bryony Gordon's Mental Health Mates - running the meet ups in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
I am not my mental illness, I am a person who lives with Depression, Generalised Anxiety and a Panic Disorder.
So why "Just another five minutes"? I hear you ask. When I was at my worst I used to say this to myself, hold on for another five minutes, it will be okay, I can pull through, I can survive this. Five minutes when all you can think about is not being here feels like an eternity but it is an achievement, it was a little goal and eventually surviving those 300 seconds became an entire day and then a week, and then a month.
This blog will be about my personal experience of living with Depression, Generalised Anxiety and a Panic Disorder. My views on mental health, coping mechanisms, tips and techniques, and ways to make your wellbeing a priority.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the amazing people at Time To Change for giving me the confidence to speak out and share my story. I do hope you will stick around and like what I have to say.
Always remember that you are not alone, never be ashamed of your mental illness, it does not define you - you have so much more to offer people, sometimes it's just really hard to see that.