I fell in love yesterday.
And I fell in love again today. And I will continue to fall in love every single day, until I stop meeting people like you.
Earlier this week I had a telephone conversation with a mental health advocate who has also lived through domestic abuse and it brought on a HUGE realisation. I couldn’t believe that through all the interactions I’ve had with the mental health world (and the rest of the world), this was the first time I had spoken about domestic violence with someone who had also been in an abusive relationship. HOW WAS THIS WEEK THE FIRST TIME?!!!
It was HUGE.
While talking on the phone I felt so much love and warmth and affection and respect for this beautiful human being who, like me, had survived an encounter with the kind of person that words don’t exist to describe. I fell in love with her.
Yesterday, I recorded a podcast with Sean Jones. Sean is ex-military and also has PTSD. Despite our trauma being totally unrelated, we WERE traumatised, and the way our symptoms and triggers have manifested and presented themselves was uncannily similar. I was fucking tongue tied because one of the ways PTSD gets you is that it makes you disconnect from your peers. I was so shocked that I was getting the chance to speak with someone who finally understood me. I fell in love with him.
Today, I had the absolute honour of speaking at the Time to Change Story Camp about my mental health story. The speaker before me was Paul McGregor and he spoke about the loss of his Dad among other things. Looking into the face of someone who understands something that has impacted you so much and hearing their story come from them, out of their actual mouth in front of your actual face is so fucking powerful. So obviously I fell in love with him.
And then it was my time to speak. And anxiety does not mix well with standing in front of a room full of people and telling your story, believe me when I say that. But I looked into the eyes of all the Time To Change Champions who were sat in front on me.
And I realised something.
This is so much bigger than me.
My my nerves were overridden by how important I realised it was to say what I needed to say and to use my voice. Although I could have ran out of the room and never looked back (and BELIEVE ME a part of me wanted to), I realised that I NEEDED to speak my truth. And I fell in love with you all.
When I talk about “falling in love”, I don’t even mean romantically (although if you’re on bumble, HMU). But friendship really doesn’t do justice to the feeling that is invoked, when people come together to talk about REAL SHIT that has affected them. It’s a bond that runs so much deeper than that. I’m going to call it love.
I realise that every single one of you has your own story to tell, and that you’re on your own journeys and that they are just as important to you as mine are to me.
If we’re unlucky, we live our lives from our own perspectives and we only ever experience our own successes and pain.
If we’re lucky, we get to see a part of someone else’s experience, we get to truly connect with people who are different to us and people who are similar. And if we’re super super lucky,we get to spend a moment in a room full of mental health advocates who are ready to harness the power of their own stories and use them to change the world.
So, with all that being said, THANK YOU.
Thank you Joss, Jodie, Nicole, Peter, Cara, Paul, Sean and to every single young champion who was there today. You are all more than welcome in my inbox and in my life.