This morning I had an idea, a way to maybe help teenagers understand mental health. My idea was to offer to talk to a class or year at my daughters high school. It felt the right thing to do to try reaching a few. To help more understand mental health and how it can affect us. I ended up talking myself out of it through fear most of today. That is until I figured I should just do it and push myself out of my comfort zone. There’s nothing wrong with fears especially if we try to face them. If we face them they often aren’t anywhere as bad as we had told ourselves. I’ve never given a talk or spoken publicly. I’ve had opportunities but, through fear, always said no and made my excuses. Often the excuse being that if you give a talk then people think you’re an expert or authority on the subject. Having watched lots of ted talks I realised it’s not about being an expert but often about personal experience. I know I need to push myself and my boundaries more, in the right way of course.
So it’s got me thinking about my fears but also how much I would say if talking to 13-15 year olds. How could I explain psychosis? How could I explain going to a mental health hospital for a first appointment while seriously unwell? How could I make them aware of others mental health and especially their own? How could I help them understand it’s ok to not be ok and that it’s ok to seek help? It’s given me lots to think about even if going in to school to talk never comes off and it’s made me start to face my fears in life. This is what I wrote in the email:
My name is Darren and my daughter ( name removed) is a year 7 student at ( name removed of school). I’m writing for a couple of reasons.
Firstly to ask about school policy regarding mental health and mental health awareness.
Secondly with a possible suggestion. I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder 1, I run my own business, I live a healthy lifestyle and I also blog about my own mental health and living with bipolar. My blog has over 4,000 subscribers and I have also made a couple of YouTube videos about bipolar and bipolar recovery. I have been level for a while now and it is a relief but it’s also made me aware of others and what I could possibly do to help other than blog. My possible suggestion is regarding talking with students to help them understand mental health from the perspective of someone living with it daily. I’ve never spoken in public to an audience before or a class but if you think it might be of benefit to some students maybe we could talk about doing something.
I am quite happy to share my blog with you so you can look through if it’s of any help. www.thebipolarbuilder.com
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