This is a very personal blog post because today is a very special day for me. It’s the publication of my debut non-fiction, A Mind Like Mine, illustrated by Islenia Mil. This gorgeously illustrated book is a stigma-busting collection of biographies of some of the great people from history who have lived with mental health conditions.
When I was growing up, no one really talked to me about mental health, and I didn’t understand too much about it. As a young adult, I started experiencing periods of severe anxiety and depression. When I was first diagnosed with mental health disorders, I felt lost and isolated, despite the support of friends and family. I realised I had no role models who had openly discussed their mental health, so I started researching.
To my surprise, I discovered that many of the greatest minds throughout history had lived with mental health disorders.
Did you know Charles Darwin experienced anxiety and Florence Nightingale lived with PTSD? From Michelangelo to Deepika Padukone , Ada Lovelace to Freddie Flintoff , a great many successful people with brilliant minds and talents have lived or are living with mental health disorders.
I remember feeling a huge sense of relief, that it wasn’t just me going through this, and that having a mental health condition did not need to stop me from fulfilling my dreams. It is what inspired me to write this book. So, what are you about to learn that I wish I’d known when I was younger? First and foremost, that we are all in this together.
The biographies in A Mind Like Mine show that you can’t always tell what a person is going through, and that mental health conditions can and do impact people from all walks of life. The aim of this book is to help remove some of the stigma around mental health, discuss different mental health conditions, what they mean and how they are treated; and ultimately to show that mental health disorders do not have to hold anyone back from achieving their dreams.
Not everyone lives with a mental health disorder, but we all have mental health, and it shouldn’t be a secret!
Talking openly about our emotional experiences helps us all to better understand ourselves and each other. It’s important to use appropriate language when talking about mental health and differentiate stigma from the truth. A Mind Like Mine is proof that not only has our medical understanding and treatments for mental health disorders improved dramatically over the centuries, but also so has our empathy for one another.
The figures featured are from a range of diverse backgrounds and disciplines across science, literature, art, music, sport, politics and popular culture. Additional feature pages will explain and explore key mental health conditions including depression , bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety and eating disorders. In every corner of greatness, from ground-breaking scientists to sporting legends to musicians, people living with mental health disorders have excelled in their passions and shown that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.
Anything is possible when you put your mind to it.
A Mind Like Mine is available now from all good bookshops!