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Monday, 5 October 2015

"Redefining Resilience": Launching my Campaign to Redefine what Resilience Means and End Mental Health Stigma

My campaign to Redefine Resilience - Launched Today!

Resilience is in fashion: organisations are talking about the need for employees to build resilience to succeed and enable them to progress in their careers. “Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever.” [PsychologyToday]. I recently wrote a blog post for @brizzlelass on #Resilience. 

Because I do not meet that description of resilience above, or the dictionary definition of it. I don’t agree with it. I am not ‘stronger than ever’. But I am here.

In the past year I’ve continued to suffer from acute depression (I’ve been hospitalised and continue to have day patient care and take a whole fistful of medication), broken my back, elbow and had countless days when I wished I would not wake up the next day. But I do.

I am now launching a campaign of my own: Redefining Resilience – where I will speak to as many schools, businesses and charities in the UK (and beyond) as I can to tell my story and offer a different perspective of what ‘resilience’ means. I have had depression and anxiety for twenty+ years. I have been bullied at work, I have been taken out of projects at work for admitting to depression and stress. I have been told to lie about being stressed to colleagues as a point of performance feedback. And I am still ill with depression and anxiety today despite treatment. But I am still ambitious, still working, and I still will not give up living.

I have spent the last year campaigning to end the stigma associated with mental illness by writing a blog about my day to day experiences living with depression, anxiety and borderline PTSD. I campaign for Mind, Time to Change. I have written for the press and appeared on television talking about my experiences and raising awareness.

I am also a full time city professional – a management consultant manager specialising in helping organisations transform their businesses in various ways. I manage teams, work with clients and contribute to the success of the company I work for (KPMG). At the same time I advocate mental health support through being a managing member of our Be Mindful network which promotes and supports a mentally healthy workplace because everyone has mental health.

I am listed on Brummell Magazine’s 2015 list of Inspirational City Women who are Champions of Diversity, and I am one of five women (including Woman’s Hour Power Lister Nimco Ali) to be shortlisted for the Women of The Future 2015 Community Spirits award.

Do you work at a school, university or organisation who would like to hear my story of what resilience means for me - what my resilience story is?

I would love to have the chance to share my story with your school, business, group and help to redefine resilience. We don’t all bounce back. But we do keep fighting as much as we can. We know that young people are self harming and suffering with mental illness now more than ever. We know that suicide is the highest cause of death in young men aged 20-34. Mental illness is a killer. I want to raise awareness of this condition and tell anyone who has survived another day: you are resilient. you are not a failure. You are winning by surviving. 

Please contact me using the contact form at the bottom of this blog or at my new email address: I can't wait to get more conversations started about what resilience really means for all of us to help improve our health, our children's health, our colleagues' health. Because everyone has mental health just as everyone has physical health.

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