Speaking out about mental health problems
Posted Tuesday 20 November 2012
In 2011, I was nominated for the Mark Hanson Digital Media Award, for my work on trichotillomania. To be nominated for the award meant a great deal to me and I was honoured to be chosen. To my surprise, I went on to win the Speaking Out Award, which I feel very humbled by.
Trichotillomania is very hard to summarise and explain well, but I shall try. It is a condition whereby I rip most of my hair out, strand by strand, resulting in baldness. I am not always aware that I am doing this to myself and I have to try and stop the urges to do so. The cause of Trichotillomania is still unknown, as is its cure, which makes it very difficult to treat.
Although there is an obvious physical element to Trichotillomania, many people often forget the emotional and mental impact that this can have on a person and their life. For me, it has presented many negative situations and experiences, however if it were not for that part of my life, I would not be where I am today.
In my experience, depression can be looked down upon as it is often misunderstood. It is a topic that I struggle to talk about. It’s like a blanket of darkness that wraps itself around you and you do not feel like you can escape.
I admit that at times, I find it very difficult to write and express my feelings and thoughts through words. This is why my YouTube account and various other photography websites have given me a voice and place to express myself.
Hoarding is something that many people might not necessarily think of as a mental health problem. I found Vasoulla really inspiring – I know just how difficult it can be to speak out. But it can inspire and help so many.
I still find it amazing when I see people openly talking about it online. I do feel that depression, hoarding and other mental health problems need to be recognized for how destructively they can affect people’s lives, despite not being directly life threatening.
This year was my first experience at judging for the Mind Media Awards. It was interesting to have an insight into the judging process and also to see so many projects going on around the country and online to do with Mental Health. The judging process was very thought provoking and I enjoyed spending time talking with other members on the judging panel.
The Awards was a wonderful event, as everyone there believed in the work they were doing and you felt as though you could talk about your conditions openly with people who understood.
Rebecca won the Speaking Out Award in 2011, for her video diaries that have had over six million video views on YouTube. A selection of her films is a very personal take, at times funny, at times painfully raw, on a little known condition called trichotillomania, which is more commonly known as compulsive hair-pulling.
Commenting is now closed.