A few months back I wrote a post about having mental health problems and how despite them I was determined to go into journalism. Don’t worry that hasn’t changed! Now if we move to now I’ve come to realise that training to be a journalist has actually helped my mental health problems in so many ways.
For a start, journalism is fast-paced and changing. There can be a lot of uncertainly hour to hour, minute by minute even. Now my anxiety does not like change or “not knowing.” It’s scared of the unknown like many of us are “normally.” My anxiety heightens those feelings; tenfold. I get a lot of adrenaline from “doing” journalism now. I wouldn’t say I’ve come to enjoy that mind-numbing feeling of anxiety, but I’ve gotten used to it and acted on it in a good way, which has brought many great results so far! It’s definitely helped me say yes to opportunities I wouldn’t have gone for before.
Take today for instance. Today I told my story on the radio about how my mental health problems began. BIG DEAL FOR ME! I then got my story published on the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail websites.
From that has come confidence. I wouldn’t have described myself as a confident person – at all probably up until the start of this year. I’ve always tried to be confident – and now I don’t need to try because I am confident. It has come from being in the world of journalism and trying things even though I’m scared. And trust me at the beginning I was really scared.
Some people may mistake my confidence for arrogance or me being a “show off.” I’m not used to having this confidence so it may come across as OTT (over the top). I’m still learning.
Having mental health problems has also helped me in journalism because its made me want to get more stories out there about various issues, from meningitis to mental health. It’s really made me push for the hard-hitting features as well as doing news stories. I guess it has helped me get the best of both worlds – and develop a decent skill set in both those areas.
I could mention so many more areas, but I’m glad someone gave me the chance to prove I can do it, because I can do it and I have done it. Today has shown me that head on and you know what – I’m proud.