Time to Talk Day 2021: The Power of Small

This year, the theme of time to talk day is the power of small. People underestimate the small things, but they mean so much, and they can lead to something very big indeed.

For me, it really did all start with those small conversations. Now and then, when a friend or colleague asked how I was, I would tell the truth. Just something small like “I’m having a bad day today.” I didn’t need to say any more than that, I often didn’t want to say more, it would have been too overwhelming. But I’d acknowledged the elephant in the room, or the black dog if you will. I’d said nothing, but somehow everything. I was openly acknowledging that I was mentally unwell, that I wasn’t OK, and that that, in itself, was OK.

Then I heard about Time to Change, and the next Time to Talk Day I wrote an email thanking those friends and colleagues for being there, for understanding that I was more than my mental illness. It might have seemed small, but it was massive. I was so scared. And very anxious. But I will never regret pressing “send”.

And this Time to Talk Day? The power of small is well and truly showing itself. Time to Change Northamptonshire has been running for 18 months now. Plucking up the courage to attend my first meeting was another small thing I’ll never regret. Being around people who get it. The support, the encouragement, the jokes and banter! One small step at a time, that email has turned into events like tonight’s. I’ll be sitting there speaking to a bunch of strangers about personal stuff! It’s turned into poems. I’ve even started a blog! It’s like I’m some sort of stigma fighting superhero!

Well maybe not quite. But there’s one thing that can’t be denied: that small decision to become a Time to Change Champion has changed me forever. That sad, anxious women I used to be is long gone. Well mostly. As long as she doesn’t have to see the dentist during a global pandemic! Yes, there were tears! And the closest thing to a panic attack I’ve had in years. But I made it through.

And when there’s no dentist in sight, there’s a new confidence. The sort of confidence that the old, ill me could never have dreamed of. A confidence borne from being among people who support me, believe in me, and encourage me to find that inner voice I never knew was there. That is what being a champion means to me, and that is the power of small.

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