At Timewith, we’re set on changing the conversation around mental health. We want to lift the lid on existing misconceptions so no one feels alone in their struggles — and everyone feel comfortable in reaching out for the support they need.
Over the last few years, lots of celebrities have bravely stepped forward to voice their own personal experiences living with anxiety and depression, paving the way for a more open dialogue around what it really means to struggle with mental illness. But all the statistics clearly point to the fact that people are still afraid to speak out, showing there’s a lot more work to be done.
For the most part, the majority of mental health disorders remain misrepresented and misunderstood. However, there’s an emerging group of people stepping forward, and doing an amazing job of sharing their own beautifully frank personal stories of what it means to live with mental illness.
We want to spread the work of these bloggers far and wide. Because it’s only through sharing personal stories that we can raise awareness, and instil a confidence that no one has to battle mental health alone.
I. Rosie Capuccino — Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Mind Media Awards shortlisted Rosie Cappucino, is a blogger, vlogger, spoken word poet, feminist, cartoonist — and Borderline Personality Disorder sufferer.
As with so many other personality disorders, BPD is often trivialised and those diagnosed with it stereotyped for being ‘attention-seeking’ or ‘out of control’.
Of course, the reality couldn’t be more different. Rosie brings this to life through her poetry and videos where she describes the harrowing episodes she and other BPD sufferers are forced to confront on a daily basis.
Her self-professed 3 aims are:
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II. Meg, Be Kind to Your Mind — Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Whilst many of us are aware of OCD, the realities of living with the condition day-in day-out are much more complex.
Be Kind to Your Mind is a blog written by Meg, who was diagnosed with OCD in 2013 having battled with its symptoms from a young age. She writes candidly about the condition and the obsessive thoughts and compulsions that accompany it — including distressing thoughts like her mother being raped and killed. In mainstream media, OCD sufferers are often passed off as ‘neat freaks’ or ‘perfectionists’, but sharing these kinds of thoughts sheds the light on the more sinister side of living with the condition which at times can be completely overwhelming.
Meg also regularly reviews books on the subject of mental health, like Bryony Gordon’s Mad Girl, alongside selling bracelets to raise money for mental health charities.
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III. Beth, Miss Anxiety — Emetophobia
Phobias are another example of a group of mental health disorders which are all too easily trivialised. Emetophobia is a phobia which causes an intense fear of vomiting. Suffering from it can make everyday activities like eating, which most of us take for granted, a terrifying ordeal. It also puts people at higher risk of developing eating disorders and more prone to compulsive behaviour.
Beth (AKA Miss Anxiety) started sharing videos on her YouTube channel as a way of dealing with her own personal struggles, and has since created a tightly knit community. Her videos provide an honest portrayal of the daily struggles of living with OCD, eating disorders and anxiety.
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IV. Karen Unrue — Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD)
Karen Unrue is a long-time mental health worker, blogger and author.
Having suffered an abusive marriage, and lived with C-PTSD and chronic fatigue syndrome for many years, Karen shares the tools which have helped her cope on Twitter, and her blog Periscope (where she also holds Q&As).
One of Karen’s most telling messages is not to get too bogged down in labelling mental health. Sometimes a simple reframing of a diagnosis can be liberating in itself: if you’re diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, why not call it “Blue Jellyfish Syndrome” instead? This is particularly powerful advice for those who have lived with the weight of complex mental health diagnoses for a long time.
Karen recently compiled her thoughts into a book, Blue Jellyfish Syndrome, where she imparts her advice on shunning the stigma and living a fulfilling life despite the mental health struggles life throws our way.
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V. Hope Virgo — Anorexia
Anorexia is another condition which is familiar to most of us but for which the reality is harder to understand.
Hope Virgo is an author and advocate for people suffering with anorexia and other eating disorders. Following hospitalisation in 2007 for anorexia she was compelled to share her experiences and insights she gained during recovery.
Hope writes a blog, is active on Facebook and Twitter and her campaigning has also led to a few appearances on TV and Radio. Despite her progress, Hope is clear not to sugar coat her struggles and remains honest about her ongoing battles with relapse and suicidal thoughts.
Hope recently published a book entitled Stand Tall Little Girl, which tells her story through diary excerpts, letters, and insights from her mother.
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