Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.Helen Keller
So here I am reflecting on another incredible and inspiring Time to Change young champions event in London just last weekend. There’s no exaggeration in that statement either.
I know I’ve discussed my journey with the Time to Change in some length before, but for those who are unsure of what it is or how I became involved, I’ll give a brief insight. If we rewind to March 2018, practically 2 years to the day, I was scrolling through some tweets (as you do) and I came across a link to a website from a fantastic blogger/campaigner. And yes you guessed it, that website was Time to Change. Intrigued by what I saw, I took a read through the pages of the site, encountering blogs, videos, resources- amongst much more- and from that moment on I was adamant that it was something very well suited to me.
After becoming a champion after signing-up on the website and establishing myself as an active campaigner locally, only a matter of months later I had the opportunity of applying to be a young champion on a programme designated to 16-25 year olds with first-hand experience of mental health issues who were looking to reduce mental health related stigma and discrimination across society. While in the back of my mind I genuinely believed I had the qualities to be accepted, flickers of self-doubt lingered and I started to wonder whether it’d be another missed chance. To my sheer delight however, I was accepted and left ecstatic with a ‘congratulations email’, and from that point on I haven’t looked back.
I know in all walks of life people talk about one particular experience, person or event changing the course of their life, yet it can be hard to fathom, but I can unquestionably say that Time to Change as a community/campaign has brought me immense joy in a period of also massive darkness. By engaging in events, public talks, training, and whatever other brilliant activities I’ve participated in, I’ve met the most incredible, kind and understanding people, done things I never in my wildest dreams thought I was capable of, gained a renewed sense of self-confidence and even got to a place where I now know what I want to do with my life. Both personally and professionally. This may come across cringy (actually definitely will), but I believe I’ve found my purpose. That purpose being to become happy and support others going through similar hardships as I have.
Though going back to July 2018, in the run-up to our first young champions training session, I was petrified and considered backing out to avoid potential embarrassment, I’m beyond happy that I told myself no and forced my body into that room full of people. And the event I mentioned at the beginning, coming together as a unit, celebrating our successes and discussing what we can do to improve, was testament to that. Yes the build-up to that first training was nerve-wracking, yes I was hugely scared, yet what I’ve realised is if I hadn’t gone I’d have missed out on many opportunities to better myself. To broaden my horizons. To do things I enjoy. And most vitally, meet people who accept me for me. All my life I’ll admit it’s been very hard to make friends and meet people I click with, however TTC has not only enabled me to develop my courage, but also allowed me to meet people I wouldn’t usually meet and make lifelong friendships. For that I’ll always be grateful!
If you like I was are at a ‘crossroads’ in your life, not really knowing how, when or even what you want to achieve, I urge you to find something that makes you truly happy. Although I’d certainly recommend the Time to Change movement and working as a campaigner to change attitudes to mental health specifically, I want to reiterate that it’s about finding what works for you. If you go into something and aren’t fully invested, do something else that does ‘fuel your fire’ and provides a deep sense of passion. It may feel like you’re backed into a corner or you simply have to do something, but nothing we do is worth our own happiness. Finding something you love, like I have campaigning with TTC, is one of the most rewarding feelings ever. Trust me on that!
#TTCCELEBR8 #TTCYoungChamps #TimeToTalk
Thanks for reading,