#WMHD15: Holding on to your dignity whilst enduring a mental illness

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It’s the lead-up to World Mental Health Day 2015, which is taking place this Saturday on the 10th October. Each year, the day itself and the week leading up to it will focus on a different theme surrounding mental health issues, in a bid to raise public awareness. This year the emphasis is on ‘Dignity in mental health’, and this theme struck a chord with me as I have often felt as though my dignity has been robbed from me by my mental illnesses.

When I’m crippled by anxiety, when I see things others don’t and when I am physically paralysed by my emotions, I feel as though any dignity I once had has been cruelly snatched away, preventing me from being the woman I envision myself to be.

To myself and those others who may feel the same, let me tell you this: We actually have the most dignity. To be engaged in a battle with our own minds every second of every day and not give up is actually rather admirable. So, well done to us, and let’s all give ourselves a pat on the back. I bet most the people that we come into contact with don’t even realise what we’re going through either, so how’s that for keeping your dignity?

Social media is alight with awareness raising activity for this annual event. Exploring the hash tag ‘#WMHD15’ on Twitter will give you an insight on the work that is being done across the globe in a bid to raise awareness and eradicate the stigma attached to mental health.

There will be many events going on across Leeds aid of World Mental Health Day 2015.

  • Saturday 10th October ’15 – Feardom Festival: This event is taking place down at Clarence Dock, and is centred on living with anxiety. The day is said to include various workshops, exhibitions and activities about controlling stress and anxiety. More information about the event and details on how to get tickets can be found on the Feardom Fighters website: feardomfighters.wix.com/feardomfestival
  • Thursday 15th October ’15 – World Mental Health Day Event 2015 (Hosted by Volition) Over at the Civic Hall there will be a number of stalls between 11am and 4pm, as well as live entertainment. The purpose of the event is to stamp out the stigma attached to mental illness for good whilst educating the public about the services available here in Leeds. Join the Facebook page to find out more: http://www.volition.org.uk/world-mental-health-day-lets-talk-lets-connect/
  • Friday 6th November ’15 – Lived Experience Conference: ‘Between Them and Us’ An interactive day long event on the value of ‘lived experience’. Details can be found at http://www.nsun.org.uk/news/mental-health-events/#Lived15

Try and get yourself down to a couple of these events, regardless of whether you suffer with a mental health condition yourself, know someone who does or would just like to learn more about mental health in general.

Take care of yourselves, and don’t forget to get involved in #WMD15, even if it’s from the comfort of your own living room via your laptop!

Hannah Lewis

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