Tag Archive | Aspire

Why did I start my Blog? Part 2

Continued from my previous post-Why did I start my Blog-Part 1

Following on quickly from the cathartic exercise of writing to JSP, a strange thing happened. At 4am on Wednesday 26 May, I woke up with the sole intention that day to tell some of my closest friends and colleagues that I have depression and to commit to helping eradicate the stigma attached to mental illness. I have no idea why I woke up on that particular morning with that particular goal in mind but I was obsessed. At this point, only 2 or 3 people were aware of my struggles.

I wrote my email and by 5am, it was ready to send to approximately 30 people at work. My finger hovered over the “send” button but for a millisecond before I launched my confession into cyberspace. At the time I felt a mixture of dread, relief, anticipation but most importantly I felt clean. I could be who I am. No more acting or pretence which is exhausting and whatever the outcome, I sensed that I had done the right thing at the right time.

It didn’t take long for the responses to come flooding back and the comments I received were overwhelmingly positive. I don’t use that word lightly. It was simply overwhelming.

“Well done, I think your strength and generosity is incredible”

“What an incredibly positive thing you are doing”

“I have always thought highly of you but this surpasses that by a mile”

“very inspiring”

“I am so proud and impressed. You are indeed an inspiration”


What followed on from this email has been nothing short of amazing and I am not going to go through the detail here but will list some events briefly so that you get an idea of how big this topic has become in my life since last May.

  • June 2010- I was interviewed by Clive Cookson the Chief Science Editor of the Financial Times for his article “No Room For Gloom” which was published on 14 June.
  • July 2010- I was invited to sit on the KPMG Disability Steering Group and Mental Health Champion.
  • October 2010- I attended the launch of the Depression, Disability and Employment report compiled by the Depression Alliance and RADAR, sponsored by Priory Clinics at the House of Commons.
  • November 2010- I started to help organise a corporate seminar about depression in the City taking place in March. This is a high profile event with well-known speakers.
  • November/December 2010-  I joined the Aspire Heroines Quest.

My Campaign is:

To eradicate the stigma attached to mental illness in general and depression in particular.

Because?

Everyone deserves a chance.

Why should you care?

Because depression is non-discriminatory. Tomorrow it could be you or someone you care about.

Call to action:

I would like everyone to start talking openly and honestly about mental health issues and experiences of depression. Only in this way will we effect change.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world”-Mahatma Gandhi


  • December 2010- I registered as a Time To Change Champion and a Rethink Activist.

As you can see, events have rather taken over and as I have tried to combine all this with a full-time job which involves travelling the length and breadth of the UK  I am paying the price now. I am mentally and emotionally exhausted.

I was so worn down at the beginning of November that I was advised to take some time off work to recuperate.  I didn’t want to speak to anyone, go out anywhere or do anything. I wanted to be left alone, in peace and quiet with just my thoughts. That didn’t work completely as I still had lots that I needed to say. Unable to converse without bursting into tears I began to write more and more. I filled notebooks and journals with poems, stories and experiences. All my pent up emotions from the last 30 years were being poured out onto paper.

Then I decided to create a Blog for me. Like many people, I didn’t expect anyone to read my posts. Why would they? And so it began. I’m not terribly clever with IT, but I have managed to create a Blogging environment which I am happy with. I chose the name Poppyposts as the flowers in my garden last year were so beautiful, and the photos I had of the poppies were my favourite. The bright orange showy blooms symbolise the vibrant person inside waiting to escape, but they are also some of the most fragile flowers in the border. A sharp gust of wind, or heavy rain shower  can soon put paid to the petals so I try and protect and shield them by surrounding them with stronger more resilient shrubs. The shrubs may not be so colourful but they work hard and are a constant support for these delicate plants.

Poppyposts is therefore part of me and I am nurturing it as best I can with the much welcomed support of anyone who cares to provide it. For everyone who has so far connected with me and left their kind words for me to read, I am most grateful. Although I don’t expect people to read my witterings, it’s undoubtedly nice when they do.

For anyone who cares to join me and my friends for the journey, you are more than welcome.

In a nutshell (!), that is why I started my Blog.

Thank you for making it to the end-you must have one of the many of the attributes I lack. Patience.

What am I looking forward to this year? (1)

In conjunction with Aspire and Dr Sam Collins, I have registered for the 2011 Heroine’s Quest and have committed to my campaign.

My Campaign is:

To eradicate the stigma attached to mental illness in general and depression in particular.

Because?

Everyone deserves a chance.

Why should you care?

Because depression is non-discriminatory. Tomorrow it could be you or someone you care about.

Call to action:

I would like everyone to start talking openly and honestly about mental health issues and experiences of depression. Only in this way will we effect change.

The Crazy Ones-My “Heroine’s Quest”

Are you a cazy one? Misfit?  Rebel? 

Good, the world needs you.  People probably love you, or hate you…..Good. If you are generating those extreme differences in reaction you are definitely making an impact.  If you are, like me, out to change the world it is no good sitting on the fence. Mediocrity and taking the middle ground doesn’t help. You need to be bold, bright and be gone leaving a trail of constructive havoc in your wake. 

Jack Kerouac, himself an alcoholic depressive, wrote the following tribute to “the crazy ones”…

“Here’s to the crazy ones. the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of the rules and have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. about the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things, they push the human race forward. and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Am I a rebel, misfit  or troublemaker? Absolutely I am, and I’m even more so when working in cahoots with my good friend Colleen Henerson-Heywood. We do like stirring things up and calling folks to arms. Before I embark on my next campaign however I needed to stand back, take stock, stop chasing my tail and put my ducks in a row.  Easier said than done but that is exactly what I did last night whilst attending an amazing evening of motivational fun and frolics run by Aspire. With the support and inspiration provided by the award-winning Dr Sam Collins and her team, I was yet again spurred into action. I discovered my new “tribe” of like-minded, like-hearted women and together we put the finishing touches to my Heroine’s Quest campaign for 2011. My campaign is no idle threat and I fully intend to deliver on my very public committment which I made in front of 150 people last night. By joining the Aspire Heroine’s Quest programme, I will have access to top quality leadership and coaching support and I will be monitored on a monthly basis to make sure my campaign is a success. So, what is my Campaign?

My Campaign is:            To eradicate the stigma attached to mental illness in general and depression in particular.

Because?                           Everyone deserves a chance.

Why should you care? Because depression is non-discriminatory. Tomorrow it could be you or someone you care about.

Call to action:                  I would like everyone to start talking openly and honestly about mental health issues and experiences of depression. Only in this way will we effect change.

So, there it is in a nutshell, my challenge and campaign for 2011. I hope that some of you will join me on this exciting adventure, or maybe one of your own, so that this time next year we can all say we have made a difference by being a rebel, a misfit or a troublemaker.