My Mental Health
Since falling off my bike and sustaining a brain injury I have suffered quite a bit with both my physical and mental health. And whilst I wish I didn’t have to experience a lot of what I have over the last 4 and a half years, I am grateful for how much I have learned about my mental health. And so I want to use my experiences to help others learn more too.
When I launched this site and began to share my story, the response was nothing short of humbling, yet terrifying. Terrifying because never did I think that there would be so many people in this country suffering with a TBI. And even more terrifying is the number of people suffering with their mental health (both as a result of a TBI and not).
My journey has really opened my eyes to the importance of our mental health, as well as our physical health. They should be working in tandem. That’s why exercise, nutrition and mindfulness are 3 of the most critical factors in my recovery. I look after my whole-self; my total wellbeing.
However, as a country we fall short when it comes to looking after our mental health, and our knowledge surrounding it. We shy away from it. We don’t nurture it and we struggle to manage it when we have a problem.
But why is this?
In my opinion it’s because our mental health is invisible.
And it’s almost impossible to understand something when you can’t see it.
Therefore we have some serious challenges.
How do you educate people to
- Identify if someone, including yourself, is struggling with their mental health,
- Manage and improve it if they are suffering themselves, or know somebody who is, and
- Nurture it in the first place to prevent any struggles/problems.
Mental Health is Invisible
It’s difficult to see if someone is suffering with their mental health and when they are we’re not sure how to help them. However, if someone has a cut we know to wash it out and cover it over with a band-aid until the skin has healed. If someone brakes their leg we know they need a cast and crutches to support them until their bone is mended.
I had no band-aid.
I had no crutch.
And thousands of people out there are walking around looking for one for their mental health problems, but they can’t find one.
But they don’t know where to look. And their friends and family don’t even realise they’re looking for one.
Over the last 12 months I have been in a position where I have been able to speak not only about my brain injury, but more specifically the effects of TBI on my mental health. And as a result I received a letter from the current Minister for Mental Health, Jim Daly.
In his letter he congratulated me on my work and wished my family and I well with my recovery. I was overjoyed. This was it. This was my moment to really help make a difference. This was my moment to really impact some change.
I wrote back to him, outlining much of what I have discussed above. And then, I offered him my story. I offered him my experiences, my voice and my passion for making this country a better place – not just for those who have suffered an illness like mine, but for the thousands of people who suffer with their mental health on a daily basis.
I told him how I want to raise awareness and help as many people suffering with their mental health in this country as possible.
I want to make mental health education just as common as physical health education from an early age. We should be teaching people how to look after their whole-selves, not just their physical-selves.
He didn’t take me up on my offer… But I want to help. I know I can help.
So for 2019, this is my goal:
I want to contribute to making a change for the better in this country. I want to play my part in breaking down the fear and stigma on mental health in Ireland. I want to educate people on TOTAL health, not just physical health.
I’m putting this out there in the hope that someone somewhere can help me achieve this. Please get in touch if you know of anyone that could help!