People have joked that Jessica and I are the 2 mental health girls who seem to just pop up everywhere. This is a far cry from what we are both used to and is about a lot more than just socialising, it’s definitely pushing us with a great shove outside our comfort zone😱.
For me the past 20yrs have been spent juggling work and bringing up four children. I never really had time to socialise (or perhaps that was my excuse) and any time off was spent doing chores with a night out being a kid's school show or a church event. I
guess that was easy in a way, it never really mattered what I wore with jeans being the fall back or more often a tracksuit. I was more comfortable working than socialising. In fact, one mum in the school playground joked that she never felt under pressure next to me 🙈, as I stood in clothes, I had been painting in.
Starting our business Insula Wellbeing was set to change all of this and force me into things I never in a million years would have done. We all hear about networking events and it was something that was “not my thing "way too much pressure re outfits and for the super intelligent who had lots to talk about. Jessica and I quickly discovered it was going to be vital to our business. Our goal is to really drive mental health issues to the forefront, with employers and individuals, targeting stigma differently by actually bringing it naturally into conversations. The best way we can do this is to get out there and network, every person we meet is another opportunity to talk about mental health and we have grabbed it with both hands. We have been to many events and try not to turn an invitation down no matter how tired or busy we are never mind my limited wardrobe (for which I am now grateful that my eldest daughter has lots of clothes, she didn’t mind sharing). All of these events have made us feel nervous on the way in, about what to wear and who we can talk to but coming out absolutely blown away by the opportunities we have had to talk about mental health and the lovely (and very normal) people we have met. Jessica and I talk about how we are networking amongst such confident, professional and glamorous people yet it seems ALL of them face the insecurities we do. Most if not, all have voiced some struggle and many joked that they need our service, some making an appointment as they realise it’s ok to talk and that we can make the first step easy. It really does seem that the topic of mental health is something we don’t like to talk about, but yet affects us all at some point or at the very least someone we care about. It’s fair to say that I still feel out of my depth going to these events but the reality is I’m still among people who may look much more chic, professional and polished, but are not so different when everything is stripped back. It is uncomfortable stepping into the unknown and initially I tried to resist but had I not have done this, I would never have realised how deep down I’m not so different, how many struggle with mental health issues and got people talking more openly about these issues and have fun. So, if you are faced with doing something out of your comfort zone, take a deep breath and dig deep for some courage and you never know the benefits and opportunities that will come out if it. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable when it comes to something new and I am prepared to accept this and just go for it.