2020 has not been kind to us thus far. This year has really shaken our world in many horrible ways. I found myself feeling even more personally disappointed about this year, as I had started off 2020 with a promise to myself that this year was going to be all about "rebuilding" something that I felt I had lost. A promise that started towards the end of 2019, after an amazing experience that led to some amazing transformations in my personal and professional life (you can read more here, if interested).
Making sense of Coronavirus and this new world we are currently living in has been a difficult (and still ongoing) process. But then something truly amazing happened... It feels odd to celebrate and announce a new beginning in my professional life, but sometimes wonderful things can arise from very difficult situations. I wanted to share some of my journey in the hope that people reading this might hold on to the hope, even when it might be difficult to see a way forward.
I recently took up a position as director of in2gr8mentalhealth Ltd, with my amazing friend and business partner Dr Natalie Kemp, CPsychol. If you are familiar with in2gr8mentalhealth, you might have already come across our blog post on the website. If you are not familiar with it, here is a bit about it from the in2gr8mentalhealth website:
in2gr8mentalhealth advocates for the valuing and destigmatising of lived experience of mental health problems in mental health professionals. We are all human and mental health problems are common in our human population. It is how we understand and engage with mental health that matters, and that takes compassion and knowledge in the face of a subject that has been stigmatised for as long as we can all remember.
This is a particularly incredible journey for me as it represents a new personal and professional beginning, which was born out of the pain I (and many others) experienced in being a clinical psychologist who also happens to have lived experience of mental health distress. I embrace this now. I didn't at the beginning of last year. It has been a painful journey through shame to finally embracing my humanness. It was not easy but the point of it all is that it happened and I am now grateful that it did and in2gr8mentalhealth was, and still is, a big part of this amazing journey.
My hope in joining in2gr8mentahealth is that Natalie and I will continue to bring our authentic selves in the work that we do and promote a culture that values and supports lived experience of mental health problems in mental health professionals.
I also hope that in2gr8mentalhealth will continue to be a beacon of hope (like it was for me) for mental health professionals who might be going through a difficult time because of the shame that surrounds lived experience of mental health in our personal and professional lives. Recovery is a journey but it is possible...
I will leave you with this quote, which resonates now more than ever:
Be confused, it’s where you begin to learn new things. Be broken, it’s where you begin to heal. Be frustrated, it’s where you start to make more authentic decisions. Be sad, because if we are brave enough we can hear our heart’s wisdom through it. Be whatever you are right now. No more hinding. You are worthy, always. - S.C. Lourie