Sunday, 22 June 2014

Stamping Stigma at PwC

I had the privilege of being invited to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) earlier this week to sit in the front row at an event that was organised by the PwC Disability Network. The aim of the evening was to discuss mental health / stress in the workplace. Imagine an office. The desks are spread out in clusters / little groups of 4. One person in each of those groups of four in the office is likely to experience some sort of mental health problem in their life time. 

There was a brilliant panel of speakers, which included Ruby Wax, who spoke candidly and honestly about mental health / depression. She started her talk with this amazing quote about Eeyore. Other speakers included a PwC employee who has Bipolar and she described how she managed her illness at work. 

The questions at the end were mind-blowing. It was great to see such a large corporation taking mental health in the workplace so seriously. One man admitted that he didn't think he had ever met someone with a mental health problem. I was amazed... Of course he will have done - just not knowingly..

There were well over a hundred people in the audience (pic below) - all taking a special interest in mental health. It was a very appropriate talk for me to listen to - as I am entering the world of work. The people who turn up to these sorts of events are the ones who are well informed - its their partners / loved ones / families that aren't, who are missing out - so we wish more of them had been there. 

It made me think - what if I apply for a job this week and a potential employer googles my name and stumbles across my blog? What if I have a wobble in the work place? What I also came away thinking was certain - wherever I land a full time job in the coming months, I really hope it is somewhere that takes mental health awareness / stigma as seriously as that at PwC. 

The evening concluded with a brief "practical" session from Mindapples - we were each given a cut out template of an apple bauble (pic below) and had to write down 5 things we pledged to do everyday to help our minds.. "5 a day for the Mind" - Mine included going to bed before 11 pm every night and turning my computer off by 9 pm. I am already failing at those two. Whoops. The bauble will hang for all to see and it will also be a great addition to my Christmas tree this year.

Had the chance to "network" too and meet some very interesting people. 

All in all, a great evening to be part of. 

Eeyore: The Clinically Depressed Pessimist

Here is an amazing quote about Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh - 

"What is so terrific about Eeyore is that even though he is a clinically depressed pessimist with a morbid imagination, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with all of his friends....

And they never expect him to pretend to be happy, they never tell him to "just snap out of it", they never say things like "it's a good thing you're not CRIPPLED or BLIND then you would REALLY have something to be UNHAPPY ABOUT" or "you know that you are your own worst enemy" or "Maybe you should do yoga and meditate and eat raw foods and get colonics" or "you need to stop focussing on yourself and help others" or "you're just doing this for attention..." 

They just love him anyway, never leave him behind, or ask him to change.... And once in a while, those chirpy, happy, over-confident, witless fuckers actually learn something...."

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Good News and a Good Week

What a busy week...! 

The Teenagers Translated book launch took place on Tuesday evening at Daunt Books in Holland Park. Here is a picture of the author, Janey Downsire, with some very enthusiastic teenagers who were there to help with the evening:

I received my final university results on Wednesday and got a 2.1..! Hurrah. Couldn't be happier / more relieved. Look at the amazing flowers I got from Rahla Xenopoulos, Ruby Wax and Noemi:

I haven't stopped smiling since that news.
Ruby met the MP Norman Lamb on Wednesday, which I organised. I can't wait to hear how it went. He takes a special interest in mental illness / young people:

On Saturday, I took myself off to Southwold for a day of fresh sea air, ice cream and shopping at Collen and Clare. I bought a magnificent leather jacket. The wonderful Charlotte Bevan was on my mind - the last time I went to Southwold was with her and that was the last time I ever saw her - so it was an emotional day. She would have approved of my purchase and my ice cream! 

It was a good opportunity to try and be mindful and ponder on what has been a super week - I never imagined I would finish my degree, let alone get a 2.1..!

I told my friend Betsy Benn about my exciting news / exam results and I inspired her to make a new card - and she has sent me one of my very own. So lucky and very cool ! Check it out here. Read the small print: "Cronut eating must now be performed to a professional standard at all times" - she knows me too well!

All in all, a very good week. Onwards with the next chapter...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

In the rain with Novak Djokovic

I was gripped by the Nadal v Djokovic French Open Tennis Final today. I was urging Djokovic to win, which sadly didn't happen.

Djokovic is a gentleman (as can be seen from the following video..) - BUT, today he slammed his racket down in frustration, which was both surprising and disappointing. 

However, I was reminded of this video from earlier in the tournament: 

Enjoy! And bring on Wimbledon...!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Taking advice from Love Hearts

This week I tucked into those Love Heart sweets that I used to munch on as a child. Hadn't had them for years. This one was worthy of a photograph...

 Having a bit of mad fun at home this weekend - 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Kathy Lette on Growing Older and Bolder

Here is another reason I love Kathy Lette - her way with words is too brilliant and this is a very funny clip on Ageing - 

Kathy Lette: No Such Thing as NORMAL

The weekend was super - for an abundance of reasons. 

I managed to catch up with the exquisite Romy Wood on Saturday - we went to the first ever Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts to hear the mighty Kathy Lette talk with Lisa Nops on Autism. Kathy's son has Aspergers and Lisa's daughter has autism. 

I am sure I have mentioned Kathy before - she is one of life's most sensational people. Fun, hilarious, intelligent, generous... Here is her TED talk - a must watch - 

It was a very thought provoking afternoon - and also highly entertaining at times. The underlying message was key - there is no such thing as normal. Instead of Normal and Abnormal.. think Ordinary and Extraordinary.

Every member of staff at the Festival was wearing a T Shirt with this on their back and here is one of the big banners - so confusing but quite fun:

The other reason why the weekend was so exciting is that after three years of grabbing the odd night or precious weekend in my beloved Notting Hill - I am finally based here full time and now have this on my door step - you know where you'll find me!

This house is round the corner and I secretly wish it was mine - only because of the colour (a bit OTT...I know!):

Make Time for Friends: Time to Change

I was very fortunate to attend a Time to Change event last week - focusing on Mental Health, Young People and the Media.

Four young people spoke openly and bravely about their experience of mental illness - and were able to share how they felt mental illness was portrayed in the media. I was in the audience along with other 16-25 year olds and several journalists / TV / soap writers. Anna Williamson chaired the discussion. A panel of TV writers also discussed how they try to portray the on-screen fictional characters with real mental health problems, which are commonly seen in real life. 

We were shown this video - do watch - very thought provoking:

Lunch was delicious (we were at the very swanky Hospital Club) and we were given the chance to network - I met some super people (very good opportunity to give out a few of my new cards..!) - all showing great interest in raising awareness of mental health issues. It was particularly great to meet Sue Baker - the CEO of Time to Change. 

Long may the great work of Time to Change continue...