Monday, 10 May 2021

A CHAT ABOUT NATURE & MENTAL HEALTH | MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2021 | IN COLLABORATION WITH NATIONAL TRUST & ENGLISH HERITAGE | AD


By Aimee Wilson, Chair

*please note that parts of this post are advertisements for English Heritage and National Trust*

When I found out that the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) was ‘nature’ I was genuinely really lost in terms of having any inspiration for content on the topic. Then, I spoke with our Social Media Manager and she had some brilliant ideas which sparked off further thoughts about my own experiences with the connection of nature to mental health…

 

CHILDREN & NATURE

Anyone who knows me or who even at least reads my blog; I’m NOT Disordered, will know that I have three godchildren (two more on the way in June and August!) who I absolutely dote on…

When the oldest (Jonas) was born, I didn’t have much time with him before my mental health started to deteriorate. Being as poorly as I was and feeling as though I was in a tunnel in that I was only able to focus on self-harming or listening to the hallucinations, meant that not seeing Jonas grow up in those early years wasn’t hugely upsetting.

I was so set on hurting myself and my thoughts of suicide and the subsequent attempts, that how many important moments I missed, wasn’t even on my radar. It’s something that I’ll probably always be saddened by, but I do recognise that it’s really just testament to how poorly I was. And it meant that when my goddaughter; Emmy (yes, my cat has the same name!) was born, after my admission to a psychiatric hospital over 100 miles away for two and a half years, I was really eager to be there and to see her (and Jonas!) as much as possible!

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

NEW LEAPS WEBSITE...

Having taken on a Social Media Manager (who you can read about here: https://www.leapsonline.co.uk/2020/02/why-delegation-is-so-important-welcome.html), it’s allowed us to have fresh eyes look at LEAPS presence online and with this, the opportunity to recognize the need to improve things.

In doing so, LEAPS have decided to create a whole new website with the help of Elev8 Web Design!

We’re hoping to be published and operational by the beginning of April 2021!

If you have any questions or want to get in touch, please contact our Social Media Manager in our Twitter DMs: https://twitter.com/leapsonline



Saturday, 5 December 2020

INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY 2020 | AN AMAZON GIFT GUIDE

By Aimee Wilson, Chair of LEAPS

 

With the entire members of LEAPS being in mourning and grieving for the recent loss of our previous Chair; Dave Taws, we haven’t really thought about writing something to mark International Volunteer Day 2020…

As Chair of LEAPS though, I thought we should still publish post because I’m always so grateful for the LEAPS volunteers on our Committee and the members of the group! I think it’s such a special thing to be able to say that you’re giving up your time and energy with purely good intentions in mind and looking for nothing in return.

To read about my own journey with volunteering and more on how LEAPS feel: https://www.leapsonline.co.uk/2020/06/volunteers-week-2020-thank-you-to-our.html


In the meantime, here' s a little gift guide for thank you presents and Christmas gifts especially for colleagues and volunteers:

Saturday, 28 November 2020

COPING WITH GRIEF | REST IN PEACE DAVE, PREVIOUS CHAIR OF LEAPS






By Aimee Wilson, Chair of LEAPS

I’ve never written a post like this so you’ll have to bear with me as to whether it makes sense or is even what you would expect for this kind of post…

I’m incredibly sad and broken to say that the previous Chair of LEAPS, Dave Taws, has passed away on the 27th November. I’ll not go into details, but I will say that it wasn’t a huge shock to the group; but that fact hasn’t made it actually happening any ‘easier’ to hear or to cope with.

I first met Dave in 2017 when I interviewed with him and the founder of LEAPS; Amanda. I’d found a voluntary job with LEAPS on https://do-it.org/ as an Advertising Assistant and decided to apply. At the time, it was my first long-term voluntary job and the first one in the industry that I’d ultimately like to work in, so I was really hopeful that I’d get the position!

Obviously, I got it and attended my first meeting with the group… one thing about Dave was that he was incredibly passionate about politics – something that I try to steer away from because of how controversial it can be – and he spent pretty much that entire meeting completely taking over and talking non-stop about politics! I ended up leaving and crying because I’d been so excited to start there and was so disappointed that it wasn’t what I’d been told it would be. I ended up ringing Amanda and she explained that Dave was known for monopolising meetings and said that hopefully my tears would be motivation for that to stop and for everyone to have the opportunity to speak up about issues that were affecting them.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2020 | HOW IT REALLY FEELS TO BE SUICIDAL & LIFE AFTER A SUICIDE ATTEMPT


By Aimee Wilson, Chair

When I first started volunteering for LEAPS as an Advertising Assistant in 2017, I think I was slightly terrified at the thought of the other Committee members and members of the group discovering the full extent of my mental ill health. I didn’t – for one minute – imagine them ever knowing I’d attempted suicide. But, three years later and I’m now Chair and very open to talking about my experiences because I want to encourage others in the group to speak up too. Not talking about mental health and avoiding the topic is what leads to people being uneducated and holding a stigma and discriminating towards those of us who are struggling. And not telling someone you’re struggling will make it so much harder to get help and support for your difficulties.

When I began hearing voices aged 18 there were hardly any stories in the media about mental health so I was terrified that it just meant I was ‘going crazy’ and that telling someone would result in me being locked in a hospital for the rest of my life. The auditory hallucination was constantly harassing me and telling me I had deserved the abuse I had been subject to only two years before. I guess it was just a matter of time before I would finally implode… But my silence meant that my implosion came as a complete surprise to absolutely everyone in my life, and their uncertainty as to what had caused it, just motivated the decision to detain me under the 1983 Mental Health Act and admit me to a psychiatric hospital!

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

DIGITAL DETOX DAY 2020 | MY DIGITAL JOURNEY, MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH ONLINE, & FIVE NON-DIGITAL ACTIVITIES

By Aimee Wilson, Chair



With September 5th being Digital Detox Day, I thought now would be a great opportunity to share with you all my journey in the digital world, some advice on managing your mental health whilst online, and the suggestion of five non-digital activities you could engage in if you’re planning to Detox!



Having a blog (www.imnotdisordered.co.uk), I like to find other Bloggers to look up to as inspiration, and one I’ve followed for probably over eight years has been Zoe Sugg (Co-Founder of Digital Detox Day) of the blog and now brand; Zoella. I watched her blog and YouTube channel increase in popularity and subsequently afford her so many incredible opportunities. It inspired me to use my blog’s reader count (now over three quarters of a million!) to secure collaborations and partnerships with well known individuals and huge organizations. 


I feel that Zoe’s media journey has really illustrated the potential impact you can have as a social media user. She’s shown that you can start a blog from your bed, and it can grow into something so much bigger than you could have ever imagined. So much bigger than you’d even intended. When I started, I’m NOT Disordered from my hospital bedroom, I wanted it to help tell my family and friends what I was going through in the psychiatric hospital over 100 miles away from them all. I didn’t plan for it to really go public and have strangers from literally all over the world read about my little life!

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

LEAPS FAVOURITE PLACES TO VISIT & ADVICE ON MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WHEN TRAVELLING

By Aimee Wilson, Chair


With travelling restrictions somewhat lifting from the UK lockdown, it seemed like the perfect time to write a post about travelling and to list our member’s favourite places to visit:



Edinburgh

My personal favourite place LEAPS have visited has been Edinburgh – we visited the capital city of Scotland in September 2018 (you can read more about our trip here!).

I think I especially loved this trip because it has the perfect mix of retail therapy and cultural interests! It’s perfect for such a variety of people who could be visiting Edinburgh looking for all sorts of activities.


Best for food: Frankie and Benny’s, 130 High Street, EH1 1QS

I was in two minds about picking a restaurant exclusive to Edinburgh, but I decided something more established and well-known would be a much easier recommendation. Although I know some people have the attitude that if they’re visiting somewhere new, they don’t want to do something they could do back home or even just anywhere else but I think that each restaurant on a chain can have a different atmosphere, customer service, quality…



Wednesday, 5 August 2020

FIVE TOP TIPS FOR COPING WITH THE MEDIA | IN COLLABORATION WITH TIME TO CHANGE STORYCAMP 2020




By Aimee Wilson, Chair


The current theme for Time To Change StoryCamp 2020 is mental health and the media so I thought – as Chair of LEAPS – I would take the opportunity to share my tips on managing your mental health with the content of the media…


1.    Find your online tribe

Since being abused, I’ve almost understandably developed a whole host of difficulties around trusting and building relationships with people. I think that this mostly stems from the fact I had grown to respect and trust my abuser before he began hurting me so it left me feeling completely betrayed and incredibly reluctant to trust or rely on anyone ever again.

Then, when my mental health deteriorated, I found the beauty in making friends with those who I could identify with. The realization that speaking to someone who had also been abused, or who had attempted suicide, was reassuring and made me feel less alone in the world; was incredibly beneficial to my mental health on a whole. I think that it helps to know that you aren’t the only person to experience what you have and to feel that you have someone you can talk to who might understand and appreciate things better than those who can’t empathise.


Monday, 13 July 2020

WHY UNEMPLOYMENT AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH & WHAT YOU CAN DO TO COPE | IN COLLABORATION WITH TIME TO CHANGE STORYCAMP 2020




By Aimee Wilson, Chair


This fortnight, for Time To Change’s Storycamp, the theme is ‘the other side to mental health’ and it’s all about sharing your experiences of an aspect of mental health that isn’t always talked about or which you feel is often misunderstood. So, we at LEAPS, decided to shed light on the impact that unemployment can have on your mental health and our tips on how to cope when your mental health has deteriorated or when someone you care about is struggling.


There’s a lot in life that can impact your mental health, yet the majority of the things talked about tends to be trauma or abuse. Of course, these are incredibly important issues and as someone who has experienced abuse, I’m incredibly grateful that it’s a subject which has a lot of light shed on it. However, focusing on one or two particular catalysts for mental health deterioration can sometimes leave someone who has been impacted by lesser talked about experiences, feeling alone and dismissed. It’s so important that we share experiences despite any pressure or influence not to, because doing so can encourage others to do the same and in speaking up, a person is more likely to receive help and support.

Monday, 29 June 2020

HOW TO SUPPORT SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION | IN COLLABORATION WITH TIME TO CHANGE STORYCAMP 2020




by Aimee Wilson, Chair


This year, LEAPS are supporting Time To Change’s 2020 Storycamp where the organization will be sending out themes to inspire content. This week’s theme is ‘supporting someone with a mental health condition.’


As a mental health Blogger and Chair of LEAPS, I’m very passionate about the topic and the importance of educating people so that they are better placed to support someone who is struggling. Mental health is definitely one of those things in life where you really don’t know what another person is going through; especially if you have very little experience of things yourself. It’s also similar to physical pain in that everyone has a different level of tolerance and we shouldn’t judge one another for this difference. Instead, we should be supporting one another through difficult times.


A hugely overwhelming emotion that often goes hand in hand with feeling suicidal is loneliness and feeling isolated. It can be far too easy to feel as though you’re the only person going through something and that no one in the world can identify with how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. At the same time, though, we usually don’t like to hear that others share our experiences because it’s saddening to think of someone else going through such hardship. Bit of a Catch-22.


Monday, 1 June 2020

VOLUNTEERS WEEK 2020 - A THANK YOU TO OUR VOLUNTEERS FROM THE CHAIR




So, it’s Volunteers Week this week (1st – 7th June) and as Chair of LEAPS, I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to talk a bit about what it’s like to volunteer with LEAPS and to thank all of the volunteers (Committee members) at LEAPS!


I first joined LEAPS about three or four years ago after seeing the voluntary position of Advertising Assistant posted on the do-it.org website! I’d been blogging on my mental health blog (www.imnotdisordered.co.uk) since 2013 and it had taught me that my passion lay in all things social media, publicity, comms, and advertising. Up until LEAPS, I’d only ever volunteered in retail and now I knew the direction I’d like my career to go in, I realised that continuing with that sort of role wasn’t really a productive use of my time.



I was so nervous to go to my interview because it would be my first role in this kind of industry so I had very little confidence and was terrified that those interviewing me (the Founder of LEAPS and the previous Chair), would see that I had no experience and deem me unworthy of the position! Fortunately, the success of my blog helped shine through as evidence that I have the skills to take on such a role. Their confidence in me and that they were willing to give me a chance in offering me the position, really boosted my self-esteem and gave me the motivation to prove them right and work hard at my responsibilities to help advertise and publicise the organisation.

A CHAT ABOUT NATURE & MENTAL HEALTH | MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2021 | IN COLLABORATION WITH NATIONAL TRUST & ENGLISH HERITAGE | AD

By Aimee Wilson, Chair *please note that parts of this post are advertisements for English Heritage and National Trust * When I found o...