Today I am pleased to announce the article about my latest campaign is in the Harrogate Advertiser. It is about my campaign to continually raise mental health awareness which is seriously lacking in our society. Firstly we need to get rid of the stigma that you still find with these conditions. My Mothers generation and the generation before were very much of the attitude that you can just “snap yourself out of it” you’re being “crazy” “mad” “gone batty”. No wonder people don’t like talking about it. Depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, PTSD etc are nothing more than illnesses; you just can’t see it like other illnesses. Depression also occurs in people who suffer from long-term chronic illnesses which is completely understandable. I have fibromyalgia and so I know what it feels like.
Harrogate Black Dog
Being able to talk to someone is so extremely important. Sometimes it is easier to talk to someone you don’t know. This is why I set up Harrogate Black Dog which is a Facebook Support Group. We have approximately 200 members right now and they are a great source of comfort and understanding for each other. People talk about anything they want to and no one judges or ridicules and that is because they understand.
The Ability To Listen
Being able to talk to someone that understands makes such a huge difference. Even if you don’t understand if someone starts to talk to you about something relating to sadness, depression etc just stop what you are doing and give them your full attention. Some people find it extremely hard to reach out so when they do so please take the time to listen – it can make a huge difference to the person wanting to open up. Two great websites to visit are Heads Together and Mind they have a lot of information for people suffering or for friends and families of someone who is suffering.
Depression Is Not A Choice
Please remember people with depression don’t choose to be depressed, it’s their biology that causes these problems. Talking therapies have been shown to work; I’ve been there so I know. Some people can’t however but can take solace in groups like Harrogate Black Dog. Knowing you are not going mad, not deranged, not bonkers and you not on your own. and other people know exactly how you feel is so important I can’t emphasize this enough.
Mental Health Awareness – A Darker Shade Of Blue Campaign
I self-published a book earlier in the year called “Why Rainbows May Cry“. I had no intention of publishing this book. However, I was going through a particularly bad time with relationships and had been for a considerable time. It got to the point where I felt as if my head, my heart, my soul, my body just couldn’t take anymore. I was like a volcano getting ready to erupt. For whatever reason, and I still don’t know how it happened, I started to write poems about the things in my head. I managed to put a voice to my feelings and with each poem, I felt a little bit better, and as it went on I felt as if I was taking my power back and was being pro-active as opposed to reactive. It gave me that change of mindset. It literally saved my life. I let several people read some of the poems and they said that I should publish them so that is exactly what I did.
I have also designed some T-shirts which you can find in my shop. The artwork is mine and was produced when I was suffering from post-natal depression and going through a violent relationship leaving me in a refuge with three young children. So the artwork comes from my heart and from my soul.
Writing Is Cathartic
It then occurred to me that writing poetry or just writing, in general, could help others too. It was then I decided that I would put a book together; a collection of poems written by people suffering from depression, anxiety etc or by people living with or friends with someone who is suffering. I have had a great response but I am still in need of more poems.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Writing A Poem
I don’t want you to be afraid of writing a poem; there are no rules; it is just a way for you to express yourself. It doesn’t need to rhyme. A Family member wanted to do some poems for the cause but was scared of doing a poem as they thought they were not able to. So, I told them to write down a title, something along the lines of “How I Feel Inside” and then just proceed by writing a list. It tends to free up the writer’s block. It can either stay as a list or you can start to make a poem. Either way, you are doing the main thing which is writing, allowing your feelings to be expressed externally rather than internally.
Reason For GoFundMe Fundraising
Now I want to do these poems justice I want to be able to make a hardback cover version and for that to happen unless a publisher takes it on I will need to fund this myself. Unfortunately, I am not in a financial situation to be able to do this. I have therefore set up a GoFundMe page so that people can donate to allow me to do this. Any money left over after publication will be going to the MIND charity.
Sadly, during the last four weeks while I have been talking to the reporter at the Harrogate Advertiser two young men tragically took their own lives, the youngest of which was only 17. Sixteen people commit suicide each day in this country; that is 16 too many!
Mental Health Awareness
Please help me by supporting my “Darker Shade Of Blue” campaign and not only bring mental health awareness to the forefront but to let these peoples voices be heard in this book. I will dedicate this book to the two young men and to anyone else in this region that takes their own life during this process; I do not want them to have died in vain. Their voices need to be heard too.
I will be selling friendship bracelets in The Devils Angel Tattoo shop in Ripon and also online in my shop. They will be £5 each and profits will also go towards the fund.
So please either donate a poem or donate to the GoFundMe campaign or even better do both. Every poem and every £1 helps us take a step closer in the right direction.
Thank you for reading. I would also like to thank anyone that either sends me a poem or makes a donation. It is very much appreciated from the bottom of my heart. You can contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. I’m just going to make some blueberry muffins just hope they turn out better than the last ones.
All my love