Tomorrow is the final of the Mum and Working Awards in London and because of various factors I'm unable to be there, Today is World Mental Health Day and I wanted to mark the occasion so then I thought about the two things together and remembered what I'd said to one of the judges who called and said "If you were announced as the winner right now, what would you say in your speech?"
Now I don't know if I even have a chance of winning Most Inspiring Business Parent 2016 but I hope you'll keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow anyway, If I do win, this award will be for every man, woman or child who's been affected by mental health at some point in their lives. If I win, I'm going to use this award to go and speak to groups far and wide about the fact that it doesn't matter what your situation is, it doesn't matter what the challenges which you feel hem you in are, it does not matter how in control you currently feel you are, because, you can do anything you want as long as you do it on your own terms!
The best business leaders and advocates are the ones who have looked adversity in the face, felt the fear and done it anyway.
On the 22nd June 2007 as I sat with an advisor who helped me register my business I remember the feeling of excitement and terror of what lay ahead, I did not think I would still be in business six months later but with every inch of my body I wanted to fight against the people who defined me as "crazy, a write off, mental" I have succeeded today because of the people I have around me, because of my own stubborn gutsy independent nature and because I have not let myself be defined by bipolar, you see being diagnosed as bipolar in 2003 was really the first step to recovery, when you know what you are dealing with you can't be scared by it anymore, it's no longer an unknown symptom, from the moment I took medication and had a year of therapy my life started to turn around, I have not been really poorly in over 13 years. Now I use self care, a tight knit support network of friends and a tiny dose of medication which keeps me on the level whilst still letting me experience all of the emotions of life.
To get where I am today has at times been a struggle and fight and for the most part, for all of my achievements and accolades I am still very much a starving bohemian artist who just seeks to live a life of truth, beauty, freedom and love. There are have been casualties, I lost myself for a while, I lived a life of loving someone who didn't love me back in the same way and by the time I noticed it was too late to do anything about it.
But here I am today, stronger, better, wiser, every day I live a life I love, I'm not going to pretend it's all sunshine and lollipops but I have the most amazing teenagers who I'd give every inch of my life for, I am surrounded by the most wonderful awesome friends and for every new person I meet along the way in my new life, I embrace them, I invite them in, it is my purpose in life to make sure everyone knows their own unique worth, when was the last time you told someone just how awesome they are?
Mental health is something we don't like to talk about, it's hidden away, we're ashamed to seek help, we hide it from our friends and loved ones because we don't feel it's ok to say "you know what? I'm anxious today, I don't know what to do". We need to talk, we need people who are brave and bold and brilliant to go out there and say "It's ok, it's not the end, you can achieve anything you want, what help do you need right now?"
I have never hidden any of my history, my fight or my story because everything I am today is a product of the life I've lived, so go out there, be fabulous, achieve wonders and build brave new worlds, worlds where it's ok to not be perfect and ask "Can I have some help today? I don't feel I can do this on my own".