For the most part things on this blog are kept pretty light hearted. There's more than enough doom and gloom, and sometimes down right nastiness on the internet, and I'm a firm believer in the need to keep things positive in what is my own personal space on the internet.
Sometimes though, I like to break my own rules. The lovely Wooolly Wormhead posted this video on her blog, and while I watched it this morning it really struck a cord.
It's a trailer for a film called Crooked Beauty which explores mental health and living a life outside the social norm.
Now before anyone gets any worried ideas, I have never experienced abuse, my own mental health issues were definitely on the lesser degree of the spectrum of mental health problems, but there are things in this video that I can definitely relate to.
Three years ago I was just leaving my job as a teacher. I went to university, did a degree in Biology and loved it. I knew I didn't want to continue in academia so did a PGCE because it seemed like the right choice. I qualified as a teacher, got a job in a school I loved, with colleagues I enjoyed working with, but it was only a temporary post. My next job wasn't such a good fit, I hated the atmosphere, was bullied by the headteacher and her team of senior management, and ended up being signed of work with stress and anxiety.
I got help, and made a plan, mostly involving going back to teaching, because I thought I wanted to beat the demons that had developed. Turns out that was the wrong choice. My next job was with people I loved working with, but in the end I realised that this wasn't the path I wanted to go down for the rest of my life. I loved the teaching part, but there's far more to being a teacher than that. I'd never had any real career ambitions, I'd always viewed it as a job I enjoyed (and was good at), that paid reasonably well, and gave me enough time off to indulge in my hobbies and other passions. When I stopped having time to do those other things then part of my reason for choosing this career path disappeared. I could feel myself slipping back in to a very unhappy place mentally speaking, and decided that enough was enough.
I moved a couple of hundred miles away, gave up my job, (my boyfriend), and ended up living in my parents spare room. I then had to decide what to do next, but knew that it needed to be something different. I have a friend with a wheat allergy, if she eats it her arthritis flares up along with other health issues. So she avoids eating wheat. My situation is no different, a mainstream job makes my mental health issues flare up, so I chose a different path.
As a society our attitude towards mental health problems is to medicate it, and go to therapy about it. Sometimes though you have to get to the root cause of a problem. Our brains don't all work in the same way, and for some of us choosing an alternative way of living, and earning a crust is a part of living healthily.