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Why Silence is NOT Golden When it Comes to Mental Health

I am a chatterbox.  I like, (no, scrap that) I LOVE to have a good chat.  I will talk to anyone and have been known to strike up conversations with complete strangers who have then turned into becoming great friends.  Its fair to say that I could talk the legs off anyone…SERIOUSLY!

My ability and love of chatting and sharing (sometimes oversharing) how i’m feeling is a big part of who I am, it is one of the things that make me “me”.  I was proud of my ability to share how I was feeling and never considered that one day being able to tell someone what I was going through would be something that I not only didn’t want to do but would be something I found impossible.

My time spent with my old “friends” Postnatal Depression and Postnatal Psychosis were nothing short of terrifying and at times made me question if I would ever be able to work my way out of the web it had entangled me up in.  One of the most powerful of weapons the illness had in its back pocket was that of total and utter silence.  It clothed me in a blanket of silence, gagging me and leaving me empty of words to explain what I was going through and filled me with the debilitating fear that If I dared speak out, if I dared to give a voice to what I was feeling then I would lose everything.  My baby would be taken away from me, my husband would leave me and my friends and family would disown me.

When we suffer with our mental health, unlike if we were suffering from a physical injury, where we feel free to talk and tell all and sundry about what we are going through, we are instead gagged.  We feel we cannot talk about what our minds are putting us through for fear we will be judged, stigmatised and labelled.  This fear has to stop.  This stigma has to be beaten.  These labels torn into tiny pieces and cast into the wind – preferably a tornado scale wind – to guarantee they will never be seen again.

Just as silence was the most powerful ammunition in my illnesses artillery, breaking that silence and reclaiming my right to a voice, was my biggest defence and eventually one of the main ways I came to overcome and win the battle against my PND and Postpartum Psychosis.  Talking honestly and openly to my partner, family and friends.  Airing my darkest of thoughts in my regular counselling sessions and releasing my anger, frustration and heartbreak towards the illness through writing about my experiences and sharing them with others.  The charity Mind has played a huge part in helping me find my voice and its through working with their wonderful media team that my confidence in sharing my experiences has grown and my passion to talk and to keep talking about what I’ve been through has been set and is now one of my main driving forces behind everything I do with The Every Mum Movement.

Mind invited me this week to be part of a special film BBC Breakfast News are putting together for World Mental Health Day on Tuesday October 10th and to talk to the fantastic Popstar and TV Presenter, Jamelia, on her experiences of depression and then to share my experiences of Postnatal Depression and PostpartumPsychosis.  It was so empowering to speak to a fellow mum about her experiences and to be able to do so in such a refreshingly honest and open way.

We both found that from the moment of meeting that we both LOVE a good chat so we hit it off straight away and despite talking about some of the hardest times in our lives we also shared lots of laughter and smiles too.  It was a really special conversation and has fuelled my passion and belief that we need more of it in our lives.  That when suffering with a mental health illness we need the power to break the silence in our artillery to give us the strength and the bravery to be able to stand up and say “Me Too” I have experience of ill mental health and I have nothing to be ashamed of.

I met some incredibly inspiring people during the day and watched other people share their experiences with the lovely Iwan Thomas and the whole team at BBC Breakfast News were nothing short of incredibly welcoming, supportive and with a real passion to make mental health a topic of conversation.

Everyone I met  all kindly listened to me chat about my experiences and about what I am doing with The Every Mum Movement and all got onboard with my #MeToo Campaign which will be running on World Mental Health Day.  I am therefore, asking every one to keep the conversation going by joining me on World Mental Health Day and taking part in The Every Mum #MeToo Selfie Challenge to show the world that Mental Health is nothing to be ashamed of and that we all need to stand together to beat the stigma and show those going through it that they are NOT ALONE.  Please come and join me, Jamelia and Iwan by signing up to take part in the challenge here and inviting as many people as you can to do the same.

Thank you!

Love Liv xxx

If you believe “Every Mum Deserves the Right to Enjoy Motherhood” then please come and join The Every Mum Movement by liking The Facebook page, following on Instagram and signing up to The Every Mum Movement on the website.

If you would like to join the closed Facebook group called The Every Mum Club please drop me an email at hello@everymummovement.com.

 

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