Lorraine Wilson has found a space at #seeme14 where people can work according to their own styles, and find like minded people with whom to discuss ideas:
We are not alone. That’s the main message I have taken from two days of discussion, debate, support, and courage at this see me event.
It feels like a new beginning. Some of us have been working in isolation, trying to use our particular strengths to communicate the message that people of all ages with mental health problems are not looking for special treatment – we are simply looking for the understanding, space, and equality that has long been provided for those who exhibit their illness externally.
This event, however, has begun the process of a greater solidarity. There is a feeling that there is a space to say “the big idea” without prejudice or judgment. Just because no one has said it yet doesn’t mean that it’s not valid – quite the opposite in fact.
Casual chats have been as important as organised sessions. Hearing individual stories have made me realise that right across the wide spectrum of illness there are many common themes. At times it has also felt like looking in a mirror – I know, at last, that I’m not making it up. This was an accusation that was levelled at me by a former manager (not a health professional, in case you’re wondering). And when your level of self-doubt has plunged through the floor it’s all too easily to believe that not only are you worthless, you’re also a terrible person.
As a freelance writer and broadcaster, I’m lucky enough to have a platform. I have written about my own experiences of poor mental health in my weekly column in the Dundee Courier and take every opportunity I can to write and talk sensibly on the subject (to try and balance the nonsense!).
I have had some life-changing conversations over these two days and know now that it’s time to do more. Many of us will achieve mini-victories just getting through each day. I look forward to working with some of you to end the extra battles of stigma and discrimination that we really don’t deserve.