Sunday, 2 April 2017

Mental Health + Relationships - with Marc Lamberts!



Being an absolute motor-mouth on Twitter has its benefits, namely in the fact I've met some bloomin' wonderful people. A lot of these talented, creative individuals openly talk about their mental health, and I wanted to get them one-on-one for a chat about how their mental health impacts on their relationships with those around them. 

Today I'm extremely excited to bring you the first part of my new interview series and I'm kicking it off in style! Marc is one of my favourite bloggers - a kind, warm-hearted guy who is well known for spreading positivity and love within the community. He has a blog called Oh Bugger All (potentially my favourite blog name ever), and you can follow him on Twitter here, on Instagram here and subscribe to him on YouTube here!




1. Introduce yourself! Tell us about your blog, tell us which post you're most proud of, and tell us about your mental health story!


Hi! I'm Marc, a 25-year-old Arts & Culture student from the Netherlands. I am a football addict, passionate about mental health, politics, feminism and tea. Yes, tea. I love the UK and I'm a Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas enthusiast. Music is my jam, just like Pingu, doughnuts and poetry. 

My blog is called Oh Bugger All and I talk about culture, lifestyle and mental health. I'm really passionate about mental health and I try to raise awareness. Also, I try to document my journey with my mental health. I was diagnosed with Depression, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, OCD and PTSD, before finally being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a few months ago. 

I'm most proud of the blog I recently wrote about what being Bipolar means to me: Brilliantly Bipolar in 42.


2. Have you discussed your MH with your loved ones? If yes, how did you start that conversation, and if not, why not?


It was incredibly hard because I'm a very open person. But before my MH journey, I had counselling for other reasons and I got a reaction from my loved ones: why? So I knew it would be incredibly hard opening up about my mental health. I started blogging and my loved ones found out about it, this made me tell my parents, my sister, my family and my friends. I was scared of their reaction.


3. How have those closest to you reacted? Any particularly positive or negative reactions?


Not as I had hoped. They seemed very understanding, but after a day or two, they just did as if nothing had happened. Not supportive at all. What I heard a lot was: "But your life is perfect! There's nothing to be depressed about!"


4. How has your mental health affected your relationships (whether with a partner, friends, family)?


It has a negative impact, I guess. At this moment I'm only seeing the negative sides of it. My relationships with my friends, family and ex-girlfriends have been affected hugely. I've been very distant, disconnected and irritated.


5. In the reverse, how have your relationships affected your mental health?


When people understand or are supportive it's great. Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case other than a few exceptions. I feel like relationships make me anxious, pressured and I first need to work on myself before I can give decent effort into relationships.


6. Is your mental health something you actively talk about with your loved ones, or do you prefer not to discuss it? Are there any pros or cons to your approach?


I try to talk about it as much as possible really. It's something that's very important to me and I would like to talk about it with anyone. But the people in my real life don't really fancy talking about it, so I don't. With people online, I really do talk about it every day and that really helps me. The most important thing about it is that you need to know who you are talking with. What they think about mental health. Invest time in people who are interested in the topic and genuinely concerned. In my experience, this leads to less heartbreak.


7. Is there anything you wish you could tell those closest to you, or wish they understood? What is stopping you from telling them?


I wish they would take my word when I tell them about mental illness. I wish that I could let them live with my brain for a day. What's stopping me is that there's so much stigma and it really kills me every single time I try to explain it to them. Even as I'm writing this, I feel the tears rolling down my cheeks.


8. What advice would you give to people who want to tell their loved ones about their mental health?


Be as open as you can be, take the time to talk and give them time to try to understand. Talk at different moments, talk with your parents, siblings, family, friends and co-workers. Let them read blogs, sites and books. Take the time, that's very important. 


9. What advice would you give non-sufferers who want to support their loved one with their MH? 


Make sure you not only hear what the person says to you, but make sure you listen. Let them tell their story, be without judgement and ask questions if you don't get what they mean. Showing interest in the story and person is so important. It takes courage to open up about your mental health and you should acknowledge that.


10. Are there any support systems (other than loved ones) you use that you'd recommend for those who may need them?


For me my GP, my counsellor and therapist have been of great help professionally, but I also recommend interactive with people who suffer. I started my blog and I've met so many great people who suffer. People who recovered, were recovering or were at the same stage as me. It really helped me, talking to people who suffered and knew how I felt.

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Thank you so much to Marc for being my first interviewee, and taking the time to open up about his mental health and relationships. I'm sure you'll agree he made some really important points, especially in his advice to those who want to tell their loved ones about their mental health, and those who want to support them.

If you'd like to get involved with this interview series, let me know! You can either email me, find me on Twitter or leave a comment below!
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4 comments

  1. Thank you Marc for opening up to us and for answering so honestly and openly. And thank you Beth for using your platform to educate and help Mental Health sufferers! I think this is a great thing you are doing and it'll help so many people! I would definitely be interested in participating in an interview with you (if you would be willing to have me).

    Hope you're ok chick and let's catch up soon!

    Charlene McElhinney

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    1. Thank you for your kind words Charlene! I'm really enjoying this project, can't wait to have you involved xx

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  2. Great post! And some really good points from Marc too, open and honest. Well done for sharing your feelings.

    I'd be happy to help/participate too!

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    1. Thanks Katrina! I am really proud of Marc for opening up to us all :) xx

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