mental health

Celebrating diversity in everyone rather than focusing on me

So today the shortlisted nominees were announced for the National Diversity Awards & I wasn’t shortlisted. Firstly I’d like to say I huge thank you to every single 366 one of you, who took time out to vote. I printed them off for my self care box when I’m feeling down.

I’d prepared myself for disappointment, even discussing it with work colleagues yesterday, but it still hurt a little more than I’d like to admit.

When I was nominated I was so grateful, but it was just a nomination, I never thought any more of it. I know I pestered a few people to vote, but suddenly I was being interviewed on the internet, on BBC radio Sheffield & in the local papers. I became a little swept away & lost in what it was all about. My daughters were so excited (they still don’t know as they were asleep when I got home).

I hardly slept last night through nerves & switched on twitter at 12pm today & refreshed my screen every 30 seconds until I could see just before 12.30pm that I hadn’t been shortlisted. I don’t know why I was so upset or disappointed, I never felt worthy of “Positive Role Model”, & that’s not to put myself down, I’m just very much still battling daily with my anxiety & diagnosis. There are more days than not, that I don’t feel positive, however much people may see the happy side of me.

What I’ve taken from today was I was glad I had a distraction. Today I had my MRI scan in Oxford as part of the research trial with Oxford University. So after 8 hours out of the house there & back I’ve had time to process some of my thoughts.

Disability is such a wide subject & even when I was nominated, I asked the team if mental health could even be considered. I was surprised it could be, so I never expected it to go much further. This was my first time ever putting myself out there, and with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder / Borderline Personality Disorder the key features as explained in Mind are:

  • Very intense emotions
  • Don’t have a strong sense of who you are
  • Feelings of emptiness & paranoia
  • Everything in the world hurts more than it seems to for everyone else and any ‘thick skin’ [I am] supposed to have just isn’t there

So when I realised I hadn’t been shortlisted I sent a congratulations to everyone who had been & set off to my MRI, happy for the distraction. It would have been easy to cancel, lay around in bed & feel sorry for myself, but I have committed to something & wanted to do it. I was gutted, but I put it to the back of my mind, I always said I’d be honest, even if that’s makes me feel uncomfortable, & it does because I don’t want to come across badly. I just felt not good enough.

I’m sure that it was difficult to choose such a wide ranging topic, from physical & mental health, & I know there were hundreds of applicant, & will have a great mixture & diverse range of these in their shortlist. It’s in no way that I felt I more deserved it than anyone else, I certainly didn’t, if anything I felt I was less deserving, but just felt that natural reaction of rejection & not being good enough.

Through bias I’ll be rooting for those who are battling mental health when I find out more about them all! And I’m sure whoever wins in each category will be a worthy winner & Role Model.

So what has this taught me?

Firstly, that for a couple of months I lost focus on my recovery & what my children need, thinking they needed a mum who was a winner, a role model, special & that I’d failed them today. I quickly got over myself & remembered their votes here… they just want me & that’s all I need to be.

Secondly that I need to consider my symptoms when putting myself out there, so I’m going to be running an anonymous survey next week to build an article not just to help me, but others that suffer with the same condition & symptoms. Knowing how hard & personally we take failure, should we still take the risk?

  • Job interviews
  • Competitions
  • Exams
  • Dating

And if we are trying these things, how do we prepare to fail, without being pessimistic & losing confidence. I don’t want to lose my ambition or give up trying, but am I risking my recovery by having low moods which don’t need to be there.

Finally, health is health & just as my brain & emotions don’t work properly, it’s the same as someone who’s leg or ears don’t work properly. And I no longer see it as a negative, but something to embrace. I am lucky that there is treatment out there for me, even if I have to wait til January 2020.

I genuinely never expected to me nominated & didn’t think I would be shortlisted, but it still floored me & on the way home, the Emotionally Unstableness came out. The radio was on in the car returning from my scan & Shawn Mendes,”It isn’t in my blood”, came on & the tears began to flow. I won’t give up trying to get well or trying to help others, but maybe I should do that out of the spotlight. There’s another award coming up I’ve been nominated for & I wonder if I should pull out. Again this links back to the survey. I decided I wouldn’t because I’m looking forward to meeting other people who work in Mental Health, but I want to prepare myself better.

Then James Arthur’s new track (yeah cheers James), bloody “You deserve better, better, better than me…”, blasts out, really … then the paranoia sets in, it’s a sign… the song qualified everything I have previously thought about failing & letting my children down, “They deserve better, better, better than me”. But again I stopped myself!

I might not be THE Positive Role Model yet, but I want to be for my girls, for my family & friends, my workplace & my community.

If you’re interested in taking part in the survey please drop an email to sarahcard@sky.com

I’ll write another article based on the results & feedback as to how to handle disappointment & failure with Personality Disorder

Do I wish I hadn’t been nominated? Never! It’s given me a fire in my belly to help more people, but I have definitely learnt that my symptoms don’t just disappear because I want to be a gracious loser. My inner critic speaks louder & more often than ever, I’ve just got to work a little harder to ignore him!

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