Recently I was asked how it felt to be the "Face of Mental Health" in my local area. Now, I considered just diregarding this question, but I've decided it's important to address.
I want to start by saying, I am not the "Face of" anything. Why? Because I can't speak for everyone who has ever had mental health issues. I don't know what it's like to live with Bipolar, or battle an eating disorder. I've never had any experience of psychosis. So obviously, I can't speak for anyone who has.
Yes, I spend an awful lot of time fighting on behalf of those of us with mental illness, but it doesn't mean that everyone with mental illness has the same experience or opinion as I do. Therefore I could never represent ever person.
I've a feeling this is something I'll have to reiterate on a regular basis at this stage, because people in the local area are starting to associate my name with mental health. Don't get me wrong, it's incredibly exciting when your name begins to mean something to people. It's also kind of terrifying though.
Please don't misinterpret me and think that I don't want to fight for everyone with mental illness - I do and I will, but don't think of me as the "Face of Mental Illness". I'm not, and I don't want to be. I just want to be someone who gives a voice to anyone who feels condemned to silence because of a psychological or psychiatric issue.