Blogging has probably been one of the best decisions of my life. Seriously. But when I started blogging about mental health, my life changed. Mental health issues or mental illnesses are very unpredictable, I won’t say that it has become better. But I’ve met some lovely people, who have made it so much more bearable and I’ve no idea where I would be without them. Last Saturday I was in London – yeah, I know, pretty rad right?! – and met a majority of them in person. It was bloody brilliant.
So I had never visited a blog event or meet, I think that has to do with the fact that I don’t live in the UK. I suppose there are events in the Netherlands, but they are very woman orientated and it’s all about beauty, glamour and make up. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not really my jam, y’all feel me? So when I heard that my pal Hannah was organising a #TalkMH meet in London, I really wanted to go! I think some of the others still are surprised that I actually came to the UK for this, but that’s how I roll. Okay sorry, I will stop.
My trip to London was just amazing and I can’t believe I’ve met so many incredible people, but I will write more about the whole trip later. It was so amazing to meet so many awesome mental health advocates in Hyde Park on Saturday, that even thinking about it now, makes me quite emotional really. The day was so nice and I really feel that this has contributed so much to my own life, but also to others. It was just great to see everyone getting along.
I started the day quite early, because I met the amazing Liv at 8.30 in the morning. YES, that is pure dedication from both of us. Ironically we met at Euston station at a Dutch shop haha. I got the first big hug of the day and it meant so much, to finally see Liv and have that feeling that it was not only an online friendship, but a real friendship. If that makes sense? After one of the best breakfast I will ever have – we eventually made it to Hyde Park where we met my spirit animal Rachel (nospaceformilk) and the one and only, the legend himself: Mike Douglas! At this point I was quite emotional and happy already! The moment was here, many of my friends at the same place.
At this point I was feeling incredibly proud of Hannah, who created the #TalkMH chat and organised this meet up. She has been a personal angel to me, saving me from doing something very drastic on several occasions. She has always been the supportive soul that makes all of our lives better and her personality shines through in every thing she does in life and this meet wasn’t different from it.You are a fantastic person. Very kind, honest and genuine. You are funny, intelligent, beautiful and you always have the right things to say. Your blog is absolutely fantastic and I look up to it so much. You never back down from helping people, even if you are struggling yourself. That is so admirable and I have thought and think very high of you. I saw the strength and the ability to help people in you, but creating and introducing #TalkMH to us all. Wow. You are a true angel to us all and you helped us out so so much. The love and support that characterizes the chat, was all over the place and it’s all down to Hannah for starting it. Obviously we all made it a succes, but I think no one will disagree that Hannah is momma bear!
I was ridiculously nervous to meet everyone and to be honest, I had no idea why. Well maybe the fact that I got to London for it and I was insecure about my English got something to do with it, but that wasn’t really what it was I think. Maybe it was because people act differently on the internet than they do online. I also was scared of being perceived as different or weird or dull. Well I’m dull, but that’s a story for another time. I was scared of being unworthy of everyone. It was quite hard for me. Although I might have been joking a lot, I was scared as hell. Seeing Rachel was the most scared I felt, because she’s one of the people I admire the most.
BUT IT WAS AMAZING! There’s this amazing thing about meeting people and giving them a good hug. It was brilliant to see people from all over the UK come together – and there’s me – and just give love to each other. Love is universal and love doesn’t always mean romance. I love everyone that was at the meet and I’m proud of saying that. You are like my family and I have not felt safer than in Hyde Park. I’ve not felt safer in the last few years. I’ve felt safe in one of the busiest cities of the world and I was complete at easy and comfortable.
There’s always this thing I have when meeting people online. I’m a person that gives his all into relationships and I know I’ve been hurt, upset and disappointed in the past. Now, I’m not saying I was waiting to be disappointed, but it was a possibility and sometimes you need to take care of yourself. WOW, did I just said that? Everyone gave the best hugs, made each other laugh and was so kind. Everyone praised each other for their work and achievements, it was an amazing experience for me. I got rid of that brake and I feel like I’ve made a great group of friends, a group of friends I will cherish forever.
It was so good for me to do this. Not only did I travel on my own to London, but I also conquered another fear. The fear of being disliked. I had the idea that many people there were starting to dislike me before the meet. But when people like Melissa and Lauren give you the biggest hug, and tell you that they are so excited to meet you. You have no idea what that’s like. It’s like a massive weight being lift of your shoulder. It’s as if you are allowed to love and be loved.
I loved to see that there were more male mental health advocates. It was amazing to see that for several reasons. I think many men are put in this stigma, the stigma of not talking about your feelings, let alone your mental health issues. To see more men there than I had anticipated was just a wonderful feeling.
Sian is literally my sister, separated at birth or something, so much love for this rad girl!
The brilliant creator of the chat and meet, the always awesome Hannah! (excuse the extra continent beneath my chin)
Swear to God, there’s no one cooler, more stylish and awesome than Lauren!
This girl is such an inspiration to me always and she made me laugh so much. A brilliant friend, lovely Jodie!
It was amazing to meet you in person Amy! You are full of so much positive energy!
Megan you are so lovely, please never change. You give this life so much!
This is such a cool photo! We are like the RAD squad!
Finally got to meet Bex, god I adore you!
I think I’ve found my spirit animal. You are amazing Rachel!
Mike’s such a cool dude, this man make me laugh so much. Massive bromance.
Ben and Mary, you are so amazing, intelligent and such lovely people. Love you
The incredible Meg!
The whole group! – I’ve got so much love for you guys!
Sian, Barry, Faisal, Jodie, Liv, Mary, Rachel, Rob, Hannah, Angela, Lauren, Beth, Meg, Hannah, Mike, Amy, Josh, Megan, George, Bex, Pete, Shan, Melissa and Marc.
It was amazing to meet everyone, but I’m a bit sad that I haven’t spoken to everyone and made to few selfies! But I know, next times will be better. I know that the next time we will meet again and be so lovely again. We have a great support system going guys, never forget your worth. It also was amazing to meet Charlie, who it was great to talk to and find out similar interests with.
I really think I’ve made incredible friends and I’m even more certain that I belong with these brilliant people. They have always been there for me, supported me and understand me. I can’t describe the brilliant feeling it gives me, that I’m loved by you and it makes me really emotional. With you, I’ve felt welcome and I felt wanted. I didn’t feel like parting this world. I felt happy to be alive. Thank you and I hope to meet you all very soon. Thank you!