For anyone that suffers with mental health issues, you will find that everyone has their own story to tell. The journey into mental health is individual, no two experiences are the same.
Recently I did a poll on twitter to find out what helps anyone who suffers with mental health conditions, asking if lived experience examples or education on mental health is helpful. For those that did take the time to respond, overwhelmingly the combination of lived experience with education was what I learnt.
As a writer, a advocated for mental health awareness and a person who has a “lived experience” story to tell I found this interesting. This tells me that being able to identify with someones story, and being educated as well is insightful.
Personally, when I was at my worst I found that if I had a positive role model, lived experience would of been of enourmous help. Why?
Because when I was unwell I was surrounded by no positive outcomes. I remember in the year 2000 I was in hospital looking around me thinking “this is my life!”. It didn’t occur to me that there was hope, especially seeing the same people in and out of the system.
Lived experience, what is the definition? – as stated
“Persons with lived experience are pivotal members of the workforce, as they have critical roles in caring for themselves and each other, whether informally through self-help or more formally through peer support services. Consumers with lived experiences as members of the service population provide a unique perspective that enhances the overall relevance and value of the care provided.”
You cannot buy your experience, your life, your battles and happiness. Most will identify and appreciate that when they are at their lowest, someone saying ” I understand”, does not cut it. Indications are, that if you have been there, that person will relate.
I know for myself, as a person who has lived I still find inspiration from those that have lived experience. In December, 2018 I had the privilege of seeing a documentary at our local theatre about Kevin Hines. An inspirational man who survived. His documentary called “suicide, the ripple effect” had a profound effect on me. Simply, he lived; thought that ending his own life was the answer but survived to realise that his story could help others. If you can, you will not be left untouched if you visit his webpage to understand more.
I look at this and can say that today, February 2, 2019, I find inspiration and know that even when times get tough there will eventually be some light at the end of the tunnel. I know because I know see positive role models. I’ve connected with ones of late from my past and met some inspirational ones on twitter. This gives me joy and happiness.
It is consistent through engagement in twitter, that being educated about mental health is also of equal benefit. There is nothing more powerful than knowing about your mental health. I like to call it “a mental health check”, just like a physical. To do this you need to know what has helped in the past and use this as an education tool. There are many different definitions of any mental health disorder, it is important to know what that is, not because you need a label per say, more that you can recognise triggers and act on them when things get tough.
Everyone is an individual. There are many therapies out there. Whether one uses mindfulness, CBT or ACT, its personal. Finding the right therapist if needed, is like shopping. I have had some say throughout the years that their therapist was useless. They couldn’t talk to them. I believe that a therapist is very helpful, but you need to find the right one. It can be extremely stressful as you don’t want to be saying the same thing over and over again, knowing if that therapist is the right fit. Persistance is required, it can be tiring but eventually helpful.
In essence, we all travel our own path in life. When you live with mental health issues the journey is more complicated. I wish I could profess and say “this is the cure”, “this is what works” or “I get it, you will be fine”.
I can’t, no-one can. I’ve learnt many lessons in my own journey and am still learning.
My perspective in life has changed. I do find great inspiration from others. I know that this life we live is one that we do in our own individual way. I don’t care much for titles as anyone today goes through up’s and down’s. Each day is a new adventure, a new emotion, a new experience! Our emotions are connected with all of this.
Whatever you find what works best, be it a combination of “lived experience and education” to pull your through the tough times or “lived experience” itself, the key is to work on you. The best version of you, is in my opinion a work in progress.
I live everyday with the support of those that I know don’t judge and appreciate me for who I am. Through the good and the bad.
If you or your loved one need help, please call:
13 11 14 – Lifeline Australia or in an emergency
000 – Australia ONLY
“I always appreciate feedback, please use the contact form, and I will reply to each comment”
– many thanks in advance…
Written by Lina-Raudino Grosso
(sources: Kevin Hine – attached web link)
(sources: definition of “lived experience” – attached web link)
(sources: photos – personal)
(sources: photos – free library)