Flo describes her own experience of mental health - and why she wants to transform mental illness by joining Dare to Swear.
I will never forget the day my mental health changed forever.
I was just eight years old, I woke up in the middle of night not knowing who I was, numb down one side of my body, I couldn’t talk and I was retching like crazy.
I was rushed to hospital, they thought it was a very bad hemiplegic migraine, but I woke up the next day not being the same little girl I was before the attack.
Less than 10 weeks after this attack I was expelled from my primary school. They thought my mental health and panic attacks were scaring the other children and they couldn’t cope with me.
Life became extremely difficult. I became a prisoner in my own home, so scared of my safety as well as my families. Each day was getting harder and there were times when I thought that everyone was better off without me.
Doing normal things were so difficult for me, even going in the car became terrifying.
I lost ten years of my childhood because of my mental health and I don’t wont other children to suffer like I did.
After I was expelled from school, my amazing mother sought help for me. Getting the right support was so difficult, my mother fought for me to get the support I needed – it was a battle but she did it.
I was offered CBT on so many occasions. It was relentless, it didn’t work and I think it made it worse for some time. I know it works wonders for some but it just shows everyone with mental illness copes with things differently and we shouldn’t be put in a little box like society wants us to.
Between the ages of 10 and 13 I was having three visits per week from two amazing doctors. There was no special therapy; it was talking about my fears and mental health, and doing hypnosis that helped me so much. People often ask what the magic cure or turning point was, but if I’m being honest there was no cure. It was time, love, belief and talking – these were my tools.
I have come so far but I’m not cured and never will be, hopefully with MQ’s help one day there will be a cure for mental health problems. At this time there isn’t, but I’ve learnt to be proud of who I am, I still have tough days and fears but I’ve leant to deal with them.
For me, mental health research means doctors and medical personnel having a better understanding of the causes of mental health. I’d like to see studies looking at the links between mental health and other medical illnesses, this is an area that is very important to me, as I have a medical illness which some believe might have caused some of my mental health issues, but they haven’t got enough evidence to prove it.
Mental health research could mean that we have ways in which young children can be tested for mental illness and investigate ways to prevent them from spiraling out of control. Spending six months of my early life in-and-out of hospital and enduring many near-death experiences, this issue is very close to me.
We should have more techniques like there are for physical illnesses. Mental illness is just as important as physical illness, why should the research for it be any different?
My motivation for doing Dare to Swear is to help to stop the stigma surrounding mental health. Secondly, I want to let more people know about the amazing work MQ are doing and hopefully by raising money it will encourage others to get involved. Lastly, to help fund MQ’s vital research projects and to be one step closer to finding a cure for mental illness.
I’m taking on the Holy Seat Dare to Swear challenge. I have started planning how far I’m going to cycle and how I’m going to let people know about the event. Also, I have decided I’m going to wear something striking so I’m currently designing my outfit now. Very exciting times!
Do you Dare to Swear with Flo?
Take on a challenge and transform mental illness
Last updated: 7 April 2017