I have a few idols in my life and one has been quite prominent recently though her work for Glamour Magazine. They did a campaign called 'It's OK' where she came out about her depression. I felt very strongly about this as she was very honest and it really reconfirmed the work that I do to help stigma, she gave me confidence to carry on and believe in myself.
When I heard through the voice of Paul Farmer that this woman would be speaking and giving out an award my heart felt like it went into my mouth! Then she spoke, it was heartfelt and again very honest and that’s why I admire her so much, coming from a beautiful and influential women though her music, to standing in front of hundreds in an auditorium talking about her difficulties was so surreal, she feels the same as me! WOW!
Seeing Frankie from the Saturdays talking so openly about her depression really was amazing to me. As working with young adults, she is such a role model to them; I had to speak to her!! I felt sick, the adrenalin was pumping and my anxiety was maxed out, but I didn’t care! The awards came to an end. It was fantastic, the atmosphere was buzzing, people we leaving the auditorium to go back into the bar area and mingle, mean while I went against the grain and decided to do something I didn’t think I could.
Whist everyone as walking out I spotted Frankie at the front, I walked among everyone leaving and fought my way to the front with my hand out shaking! I nervously introduced myself to Frankie and said how much of an influence she was not only to me but the young adults out there suffering. I said a little about me and the project and how my Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder had made me the person I am today and how thanks to Solent Mind, I have been able to do the work with young adults that has made my life worth living again, and no matter how you struggle though mental health illness that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I gave her a business card and asked her to add me, Solent Mind and Heads Up on Twitter to help us raise awareness.
She was kind and very down to earth, a fantastic person and it made my night! I then ran back upstairs to join everyone else with a massive grin on my face! I had done it! Faced my anxiety in a way I never thought I could, it made me realise though everything I have been though, I am strong enough. It was a great evening the stars were mingling, not only the celebs but the stars that really made a difference in their contributions to mental health awareness, they were amazing!
I met a few of the winners who we really fantastic and just like me!! Later on I managed to have another conversation with Frankie and had photos taken. This was a great ending to a very successful event!
Overall I’d like to say that I felt very welcome and honoured to be part of such a great event, but it doesn’t stop there! It’s the work that we all do every day, may it be with ourselves with our own mental health, helping others or even just being aware of mental health, really helps with the battle of stigma! I hope I will be part of the process next year as I thoughrally enjoyed myself and have made some firm contacts in for the future!!