This month, in recognition of World Mental Health Day, I’ve been using this blog and my social media as a space to test how I feel about sharing the most personal and painful memories I have with people I don’t know – and people I do know.
I wanted to see what it felt like to be really vulnerable, open and honest, to share my tales of trauma that have taken a long time and a lot of tears to recall.
Because in the end, this — all of this — will be scribbled out inside a book that will lie on millions of shelves around the world, including yours.
All My Heroes Are Weirdos.
I was worried it may seem attention-seeking or a little bit woe is me, but it turns out that splattering the internet with my miserable memories has brought about a lot of good stuff. My filter-free words have served as an important reminder that our world of Instagrammable perfection is, in fact, completely flawed.
So what have I learned by letting over 10,000 strangers across 667 different countries in on my most intimate tragedies?
I’ve learned that sometimes I forget that, actually, quite a lot of people read this blog – and that I’m basically leaving my diary out on the digital table for anybody and everybody to have a nose.
I’ve also learned that I’m alright with that. I want to rebel against a society that silences us, one that makes us want to hide away from being human; a society that created male pride, turned crying into a sign of weakness and shies us away from talking about the fact that, sometimes, we just want to break down with agony of being.
I’ve learned that, no matter how cathartic it may be, writing my book and recalling those truly distressing times has had me relive them all over again. I’ve re-felt the pain, I’ve re-cried the tears and it’s really not been easy.
I’ve learned that by telling my own stories, I have encouraged other people to open up and share theirs. I’ve started a conversation that doesn’t put mental health into boxes, that recognises we all have pain and suffering in our own way.
And lastly, I’ve learned, or rather I’ve remembered, how magnificently malleable our minds are – and, thanks to my hard work and dedication to be happy, just how far I’ve come.