I’ve always had a voice. It’s always been present throughout my experience of mental illness. It’s been the voice that vocalised panic attacks, the voice that said the I can’t-do this anymore and all the I can’t breathe. It’s also been there inside of me, the inner voice, the carrier of negativity. The voice that taunts. The voice that constantly tells me I’m not good enough, not clever enough, not pretty enough. The voice that couldn’t quite be heard in social situations, the voice that always answered I’m okay when it really wanted to say I think I have a problem. The voice that told me I definitely couldn’t walk into situations, or stay away from my mum. The voice of anxiety, the voice of all the bad things that would happen to me.
To me, recovery was finding my voice. I walked into a doctor’s surgery that day and the very same voice that held me in the depths of mental illness said the words that would change everything.
My voice, the catalyst for recovery, the voice that now speaks up, and is most importantly heard. The inner voice that rationalises the negativity, that allows me to walk into situations with my head held high. The voice that tells people when I’m struggling and talks about what’s going on in my mind. The voice that says I’m not okay but that’s okay and works out where to go from there.
It’s the voice that laughs with friends, that talks to customers at work about their days, that sings Little Mix far too loudly and always without fail pesters the dj to play them. It’s the voice that speaks up in seminars at university. A voice that radiates happiness, that stands up for itself, that says yes I can, and isn’t afraid to be heard anymore.
Most importantly it is the voice that chooses to speak up about mental illness. This is my voice, my story, my experiences. Collectively, my voice is part of something bigger. A want for change, the desire to reduce stigma and to change wider attitudes surrounding mental illness. Every time I use my voice, I am part of something good, a change in the way myself and others talk about mental illness.
My voice, it has power, and I’m going to use it every single day for good things.
Lots of love, Rose x
This post was inspired by my time at Time to Change’s Story Camp, particularly in response to Andrea and her talk during the day which she re-caps in this video. Time to Change is a charity with the main aim to get people talking about mental illness to transform the way we think and act about it. Story Camp was a day focusing on the ways, we as individuals can contribute towards this change through telling our stories.