I don’t do the new years’ resolution thing at Hogmany, it always seems to be a little untimely for big life-changing promises of good intentions, generally fueled by new year celebrations & alcohol-infused euphoria.
That said, and quirky as it may seem, I do have a tendency to make affirmations of intentions for my forthcoming year around the Chinese new year. Spring festival feels, at least to me, to be more in tune with the beginning of the natural year in the northern hemisphere where I live, or maybe it is just how my own biorhythms and energies begin to attune to the promise of spring and natures rebirth.
Anyway, this year my primary affirmation was to push my personal barriers & challenge my social anxiety to try and rebuild my confidence and try to get out and mix with other humans.
The first step was to go back to a writing group I’ve attended on and off over many years, I am comfortable there, familiar with the environment and the tutor is a trusted friend.
I was enjoying being back at writing group, and with a little encouragement decided to send some poems off to the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2020 Ayrshire Poetry Competition, and was looking forward to attending other SMHAF events with my friend in May, as step two in challenging my social anxiety.
Then as the great bard said, ” The best-laid schemes o’Mice an’ Men gang aft agley,”
Along came COVID-19, lockdown, and social distancing. Life as we knew it canceled indefinitely.
Like most people, I’ve now worked my way through most spring deep cleaning tasks.
Unarguably my mental health has yoyo’d since lockdown began, I suggest most peoples have by now, It’s ok to not be okay.
It’s a myth that having social anxiety and being used to isolation makes it easier.
Yesterday I found myself on the precipice of mind- bland, which for me is never good, as mind-bland teeters on the edge of the abyss to madness.
I shared my mindset on twitter.
Later, I got a wee motivational reply from my writing group tutor, and later still, a lightbulb moment, as I stared out the window across the waters of the Clyde when my mindset shifted from bland to plan.
Sure it’s disappointing that the SMHAF 2020, and all festivals and social gatherings are canceled, but that doesn’t have to mean we can’t still enjoy poetry, raise awareness of mental health issues, ( now more than ever our mental health is important as we all face these difficult social changes affecting life as we know it). As Ant and Dec keep telling us on the telly, it is important & good for our mental health to talk.
So, my lightbulb moment idea that took me from mindset bland to plan?! ….
Inspired by the SMHAF poetry competition theme “perspectives ” is, a get talking mental health poetry challenge.
TO GET INVOLVED ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS;
1. write a poem. (The theme is ” Perspectives” & how that relates to Mental Health, interpret as you wish)
2. Upload a recording of yourself reading/reciting/preforming poem
3. tag 5 people you invite to challenge
4. post & share with hashtag #GetTalkingPoetryChallange
To start the challenge I’ve re-edited and tweaked my canceled entry to the SMHAF Ayrshire poetry comp, which was inspired by the Get Britain Talking campaign, and my 5 nominations go to,
- David Mclaughlan @davidwordworker
- Ruth Anderson @RRudiB1
- Kate Lindsay @KatieL251
- Tracy Harvey @Tracyanneharvey
- Mkuu Amani @tocarbne
I hope they will rise to the challenge and get involved.
Poetry has long been a great influencer of social change, RAISING AWARENESS AND HELPING break down the barriers to understanding and tackling social issues and taboos that stigmatize and prevent good mental health.
SO, let’s GET POETIC! and #GetTalkingPoetryChallenge.