Igniting my Spark: Reflecting on 2017

2017 has been a huge year for me in terms of personal growth.

It has been the year in which I finally spoke out about my mental health conditions after living with them silently for a decade.

It has been the year that I finally started thriving after taking huge steps in 2016 to learn to manage my anxiety & depression.

It has been the year in which I have found my purpose, accepted myself, grown immeasurably in confidence and started to chase what makes me happy.

2017 has been a great one but it hasn’t always been easy.

There have been setbacks, there has been self-doubt and there has been the difficulty of adjusting my life to my new-found ambitions and passions.

Moving forwards brings change and it is never simple. I now want to put myself outside of my comfort zone to challenge myself every day.

This inevitably means that things aren’t always straightforward but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The spark which has always existed inside me has finally been ignited.

These are just some of my key moments in 2017…

 

January:

  • Started fundraising for Mind and shared my personal experiences of mental health conditions with everyone I know for the very first time – This was such a monumental step for me and really started the momentum that I’ve continued throughout 2017. I had no idea at this point that my involvement in raising awareness about mental health could go beyond just this one fundraiser. 

 

February: 

 

March: 

  • Began volunteering as part of the STOP Suicide campaign – Who’d have thought just 6 months later I’d be leading it!

 

April: 

  • Was overlooked for a promotion at work (University of Cambridge) and only just missed out on another job opportunity which I really wanted at the time – If ever there is a definition for a blessing in disguise then not getting these jobs is it! On reflection neither of these opportunities would have fulfilled me or made me happy in the way that the job I got at CPSL Mind 5 months later does.

 

  • #TalkMH Meet – It was incredible to meet so many inspiring people. I’d only been a part of the online mental health community for a couple of months at this point but everyone was so welcoming.

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May: 

  • Started a YouTube channel – Rob Talks Mental Health – This was a big step for me as writing has always been a lot easier to me than appearing on camera. I haven’t developed my channel anywhere near as much as I envisaged originally. This could be something I return to in 2018 though! 

 

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  • Celebrated my 6 year anniversary with Stace.

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  • Adopted my gorgeous pair of kittens – Merry (right) & Pippin (left) – They light up my world every day (when they aren’t destroying the house!)

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June: 

  • Delivered mental health events in my workplace at the University of Cambridge – It was another big step for me to talk so openly about mental health at work and encourage others to do so.

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July: 

  • Visted Edinburgh.

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August:

  • Handed in my resignation at the University of Cambridge after receiving a job offer from CPSL Mind!

 

September:

  • Attended Time to Change StoryCamp – Including meeting Rosie and creating the brilliant #TotallyVlogging 

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  • Started my job as Campaigns and Communications Lead at CPSL Mind!

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October: 

  • Featured in a film about mental health shown at the Cambridge Corn Exchange.

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November: 

  • Visted Rome – you can read more about my travels here.

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  • Relaunched my blog – Having a full-time job in mental health led to me relaunching my blog in November. I needed to start posting about other topics to give me variety and provide healthy breaks from my mental health work.

 

December: 

  • Reflected on my first three months working for CPSL Mindit has been amazing but so busy – you can read more about it here.

 

Looking Ahead to 2018

I feel like I’ve achieved a lot this year but at the same time I feel like I’m only just scratching the surface.

I don’t feel limitations on what I can do anymore like I have in the past. I just want to go and live life. I’m still finding out who I am and there is so much for me to experience in the world.

I’m excited for 2018 and I just want to continue pushing my boundaries further & further because I really don’t know how far I can go!

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