As we approach the start of Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, the collective mental health of our nation is in a state that few would have imagined a year ago.
We are faced with a global pandemic, a threat to our lives and the lives of our loved ones that has made every one of us question existence, experience fear and find the routines and everyday reality of our world turned upside down. Making sense of all of this is very difficult and our ability to feel mentally safe and to stay hopeful and optimistic has been greatly challenged in recent weeks.
I have a history of struggling to make sense of the world but over the last five years, I have been working to get better at it and to put my experiences into a form that might help others.
I wrote a book and when no one was interested in publishing it, I self published it on Amazon. As often as I have been able, I have made it free to download. People who have read it have found it useful and I know that it has helped some people to understand themselves better at an early age than I was able to.
I wrote it first and foremost to help me in my recovery…but in the same way as the words of other writers helped me, my story has helped others who have been in a similar place.
I work in education and my dream is to lead in a school where our community helps our children to learn the skills and qualities to make sense of the world and live a life where they thrive and make a positive contribution.
Where we can all be open about the challenges of life and where the leaders of the school are in the same human arena as everyone else.
I write in my book:
“Education is everything. We can’t and shouldn’t simplify it and talk in terms of it being the job of either teachers or parents. We need to accept that our job, as adults, is to be honest with children and to help them negotiate the complexity ahead. It is our job to develop in each child the skill to know and understand himself, the tools to express herself and the strategies to meet challenges along the way.”
Over the last weeks I have recorded my book so that you can listen to it, if you would like to know my story but are finding it hard to concentrate on books (I am!).
It is not perfect. You may not like the tone of my voice. But if you do and if you want to hear about someone who has gone from being scared and sad and driven to being ok, I invite you to have a listen.
If you you’d prefer to read it, it will also be on free download on amazon from Monday 18th to Friday 22nd May.