Recently in the news there has been multiple breaking mental health news stories across the nation. This is regarding the recent (15/02/2020) tragic passing of television presenter Caroline Flack who committed suicide following horrid battles with her mental health. A week prior to Caroline’s untimely death, on the 7th February, legendary television presenter Phillip Schofield published a statement addressing his sexuality, identifying as a gay male. This revelation was posted online before conducting an interview on the tv show ‘This Morning‘ in which he presents alongside fellow host and longtime friend Holly Willoughby. Since the announcement from Phil, the immediate reaction was of shock due the star currently being in a 27 year long marriage with Stephanie Lowe who he had two children with. Both of these stories have been met with mixed reactions online but were mainly positive, there is always a small minority who feel an obligation to add a negative response.
This is why todays blog post is all about finding acceptance in yourself and not change yourself to please anybody else. A recent statement that was sourced from Caroline Flack’s mental health blog post prior to her passing has really stuck with me ‘in a world where you can be anything, be kind’. Ultimately, not everybody will feel the same and support or agree with your choices which is why you can not please everybody. Although our minds are programmed to not pay attention to all the positivity you may be flooded with support but instead only give attention towards the negative words.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words remain forever’.
In this tough world, nobody will live without feeling hurt, fear or ashamed of themselves at one point. Some people deal with these difficulties differently, few like to mask their emotions, some like to focus on something productive but some may spiral into an abyss of emotions and become captive as a prisoner inside their own mind. Sadly for others it may get too much and are left with no other option other than to end the suffering forever.
Having a mental illness can make you feel so weak and empty you begin to experience a sense of coldness, tiredness and exhaustion becoming so run down and pale you start to resemble a dove.
A contradiction, I know. For example how can something that represents peace and hope have any relevance to somebody suffering with depression? Truth is, it can’t. A dove is a work of nature so alluring it is truly a sight of beauty, but depression is a treacherous illness which only allures dark thoughts and emptiness.
You will mostly spend your nights alone, sitting and staring at nothing. Completing mindless tasks over and over as if they have any sort of importance, some sort of relevance to your life, when really you are resolving something that is broken in the attempt to mend a hole that will never be filled.
Mental illness will consume any self-worth that you exhibit inside your body like a flesh eating piranha. You’ll be too scared to seek support and ask for help until it’s too late. As days and days pass somebody will notice your slow meticulous self-destruction.
So imagine fighting your own battles everyday but that is not enough? Everyday public figures have to deal with an onslaught from the general public and national newspapers for the way they act, dress and face an invasion of privacy each day.
I can’t imagine what the past few months were like for Caroline, all I can say is something needs to change. Tragedies like this are way too familiar in the modern era of social media. People do not realise the power they have with their words, one statement of judgement can impact somebody’s happiness completely.
Think before you speak, breathe before you react, take time before you express any anger, as Ed Sheeran once said ‘It takes more time and effort to be an arsehole than just being nice and smile.’
Please remember, it is impossible to be happy all the time and that is okay. Just remember to always be nice to people as it can be very impactful towards somebody who needs it most right now. Be kind everybody.
Here’s to you Caroline x
Welcome to the community Phil
On a brighter note, Phil Schofield recently announced publicly that he is homosexual and has joined the LGBTQ+ community. On the February 7th episode of This Morning the iconic British presenter spoke live on air addressing the statement he made on his official Instagram page informing the world of his sexuality.
Following a 27-year-long marriage with his wife Stephanie who he had children with, this came as a bit of a shock for everybody. Despite the immediate reaction of shock, it was important that the next reaction was one of love and support, something in which the This Morning cast did perfectly. My favourite part of the segment was when presenters Ruth Langsford and Holly Willoughby consoled an emotional Phil whilst Eamonn Holmes gave a supporting speech in which I recorded and uploaded onto my Twitter account.
Phil received an incredible amount of support following his announcement especially from the LGBT+ community who accepted him with open arms, praising his bravery and strength to accept himself.
Although the support was sadly not shared everywhere. As the days went on more and more headlines started unravelling about why Phil waited until he was 57 years of age to come out. Headlines such as ‘Phil knew he was gay when he got married’ or Phil forced to come out as affair with This Morning TV runner was about to be exposed. Alongside this social media users tweeted comments such as ‘We always knew Phil,’ and for me personally that was the most annoying comment I heard when I came out. I find statements like that so judgemental and snide, people come in all shapes and sizes, act completely different and should not be stereotyped towards one group of people. These remarks are unnecessary and can be very harmful towards the person who will be self conscious of how they do everything in a fear of being judged.
The reason I know how hard it was for Phil was simply because I experienced it myself. I was bullied in school for the way I acted, spoke and who I was friends with. These remarks still remain indented within my mind today and played a massive part in me being ashamed of who I was. Constantly trying to change myself to fit the normal stereotype, I played football competitively for over ten years, I only watched straight porn, I spoke slow with no hand gestures to not feel camp and I lowered my voice and just kept myself to myself.
If I ever thought about being gay I would just wipe it away and I would do certain challenges to make it seem like being gay was a punishment, for example; if I don’t save 5 shots in goal this game I’m gay, to urge me to do better. Looking back, I should never have felt this way and have noticed how single minded I was and not at all considerate or respectful towards the people who did accept themselves from and early age, all I can say is how brave you are.
Everybody has a coming out story and for some people it may be a lot easier for some it may seem impossible, but I promise you it will get easier and always be proud of who you are.
For anybody interested here is my coming out story if you want to read about my journey to acceptance: Click here: Coming out story like no other.
No matter how, when or why you accepted yourself, or if you are still finding your own sexual identity, make sure you focus on your health and happiness first. These sort of decisions you can not rush and can only be done when it feels right, which is why Phil Shcofield’s statement is so inspiring.
I hopefully speak for the majority of the LGBTQ+ community by saying you are a very welcomed edition to our community.
I wished my return to blogging could have been for a more all-round positive meaning but it was a very important reason regardless. Mental health has been a big talking point across all media platforms recently and will continue to do so until the day it is recognised as a serious life-threatening illness.
With the #BeKind campaign growing everyday, we must take notice and reflect upon our actions. We preach mental illness everyday but now we need to act, times are changing and it is time we take a stand. We may not always agree on everything but there is always a common ground.
In the wake of the tragedy surrounding Carline Flack, I urge readers of this blog to reach out to the people closest to them. They may be suffering in silence and could really need a friend right now, because one day it might be too late.
My best friend suffered with mental illness throughout our friendship and there was so much I could of done, I just wish I had one more conversation with her to tell her how special she is. My best friend sadly passed away from meningitis last year and I would trade everything I have just to tell her how much I miss her. I did publish an open letter to Jessica titled ‘Dear Best Friend’ where I wrote everything I wanted to tell her and how I will do everything I can to make her proud.
Always check on those closest to you, sometimes they just need a familiar voice to tell them everything is going to be alright and that you are always there.
Always remember to be kind, it can really make a difference.