By Reform Radio
on Tue May 10 2022
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week in The UK. In recognition of this week, we chatted to our team to find out what some of their personal struggles have been and how they went about overcoming them. Those who felt comfortable sharing opened up about moving internationally, the path to self-acceptance and queer identity, the difficulties of being an aspiring creative and the challenges of post-graduate life.
Supporting our community is at the heart of what we stand for. Our well-being manager Dan Owens-Cooper’s brand new show #BEEWELL-BEING is a great way to connect with other young people in Manchester and hear their stories surrounding mental health.
Keep reading to find out how our staff members have overcome situations affecting their mental health.
NICOLAS, SOCIAL MEDIA ASSISTANT – CULTURE SHOCK
‘As a French national I had a lot of assumptions about coming from a different country. Fortunately for me, the language was not a difficulty and helped me fit in, but the fact that this barrier could prevent foreigners to travel is understandable. You feel anxious, disturbed and lost to leave your habits to jump on a new journey.
Being away from your family is the first difficulty, though my experience is quite special as I came during Covid. Skype, phone calls and getting surprise visits, are many ways to feel less displaced.
The second thing is getting your bearings in your new place. Friends, school, work, make sure you take your time to adapt. The third thing is socialising. One of the errors I did first was being distant and only socialising with other French speakers. Be open-minded and curious about your new culture.
If leaving home seems scary at first sight, consider it as an opportunity to learn about others as well as yourself. And always remember, it is okay not to be ok. Seek help if needed and be patient.’
INDIGO, SOCIAL MEDIA ASSISTANT & COPYWRITER – POST-GRADUATE LIFE
‘I grew up in the South of the UK. Whilst others craved the sweet smell of nature and freshly cut grass, I craved industrial landscapes, busy pubs and the tube. Addicted to the city that never sleeps, always having something to do or someone to see, London became to feel more like my home than ever before during University.
Then the pandemic hit. My London dreamworld hit the breaks and a rather empty one took its place. The city’s narrative changed and became lonely and hollow to its core. I lost touch with what it meant to exist as a young creative, nor how to go about meeting other people like me or where I even fit into this huge city that felt like it didn’t want me there. No one prepares you for how challenging post-graduate life can be.
I took the plunge and moved up North in October and was welcomed with open arms, soon finding a job in my dream industry. One piece of advice I would give anybody in a similar position is that you can make something of yourself anywhere. There are plenty of opportunities outside of the capital, if not more. Don’t be scared to move to new places, you might surprise yourself and love it.’
ALICE, CONTENT CREATOR – SELF ACCEPTANCE
‘As someone that identifies as non-binary and pansexual, it’s been a bit of a rocky road to get to this point where I can confidently talk about and explore my identity. Being Japanese and British, I was no stranger to battling the push and pulls between your own authentic identity and societal expectations. But coming to terms with my sexuality and gender identity brought on a whole new wave of anxieties, confusion, guilt and imposter syndrome.
I kept this quiet for 2 years. I was scared to talk about something that I didn’t fully understand myself, and the fear of being perceived differently by friends and family paralysed me completely. But I finally reached my limits and reached out for help. Talking about it honestly relieved so much stress and sadness that had been straining myself and my relationships for so long. It sounds so simple but knowing that there are people who will listen and support me was such a powerful relief.
Now, I identify as non-binary but I may identify differently in the future and that’s so natural. It’s a journey; what makes the journey less challenging is talking to people, therapy, immersing myself within supportive communities, being kind to myself and not rushing. It’s important to know that there will always be people that understand, support and love you!’
CAL, CONTENT CREATOR – CARE FOR THE CREATIVE
‘Being creative is amazing and challenging – the payoff and satisfaction can be fulfilling but getting there can test your being.
Being working-class or independent usually means working a job on top of side-hustling your creative endeavours. Finding time and energy for this can be tricky – review your schedule and see what is realistic. Even 30 mins at the end of your shift, three times a week equals 90 mins – 90 mins more than the week before.
Creative blocks: these can feel suffocating, and most, if not all creatives have or will have them so buckle in. Firstly, accept its happening. Next, set yourself achievable goals such as using the technique above.
Take a breath and remember you’re in control. Think of previous times you felt overwhelmed. You found a solution, the divine creative inspiration surged through your veins and you did it. Thinking of these past triumphs can help reinvigorate your energy in moving forward.
Breaks. An overworked brain is no good to anyone and can be detrimental to your aspirations for the project if you continue without resets. Close your laptop, set down your phone and switch off. Tomorrow is a new day and you will get there. ‘
Everybody has insecurities and you are not alone in feeling them. Sharing them can be a positive way to tackle these feelings of inadequacy and learn how to deal with them.
Our team have opened up about some of their insecurities, in hope that it will help others. Common insecurities that popped up were the feeling of ‘imposter syndrome’, with multiple staff membersagreeing that it is something they all have experienced.One staff member, who would prefer to remain anonymous, adds that he’s very overly critical of himself and his performance and often suffers from ‘imposter syndrome in both my personal and professional projects.’
Whilst insecurities like this can spring from professional environments, such as school, university or work, more commonly they occur in social situations. Social anxieties can make it difficult to meet new people and overcoming these feelings can seem both daunting and impossible. Alice (Content Team) comments that ‘despite loving it, I also get anxious and insecure before and during meeting new people’.
Other staff members such as Jade (Pastoral Lead) feels insecure about ‘not being good enough at anything’ they do, and another person stated that they fear people ‘not being able to understand [them] on the phone’.
It’s important to remember that you are never alone in whatever you are going through. If you are struggling mentally and would like to talk to someone, please visit our Emergency Contacts page. Multiple amazing organisations offer their services 24/7.