‘What drives me is how isolated I felt when first diagnosed with Bipolar in 2001. I’ve been a passionate Mental health Advocate ever since. I couldn’t find information and the closest support group was an hour and a half away. So, within 12 months I’d started, what was at that time, only the third support group in the State’. We’re talking with Nicci Wall of This Is My Reality. www.thisismyreality.com.au PLEASE SHARE!
‘What I’ve learnt as an advocate is the biggest fear people have about opening up, is the fear of rejection and ridicule. It stops people from reaching out for help. I recommend you reach out to community services such as genU, Wellways and me-well. These organisations offer a gentle approach. The worst thing you can do is not reach out. I’m happy to help people with this. You can contact me email@example.com
‘Nearly half of us will experience a mental illness at some point in our lives.All of us will go through periods of stress, sadness, grief and conflict. Sometimes the right support and treatment is lifesaving.
‘I’m very open and honest when I give talks about my experiences. Talks are described as quirky, raw and at times confronting as I draw on my deepest, confounding, intense and sometimes, humiliating experiences. We need to talk more about it.
‘We can achieve great feats when we manage our mental health. When talking to groups I explain that I am happily married with two adult children. I’ve worked in a wide variety of places, I was even a buxom wench at Kryal Castle. I’ve travelled the world and did amazing things like cross the Sahara on a camel and reached the top of Mount Everest. I want to inspire others to feel they can do the same.
‘I’ll admit that at times I’m limited. Sometimes I need to stop and sleep but I won’t let potential disruptions stop me.
‘I’m proud to have received three awards in 2017. It helps raise awareness of mental illnesses.
1. Geelong Disability Awards – Advocacy and Leadership in February
2. Powercor Game Changers – Rural and Regional Women. I got to do the coin toss at the Geelong Cats Vs Essendon Football Club Country Game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). I even got to go into the Clubrooms and watch the players warm up.
3. Barwon Health – Mental Health Week Award for Valued Personal Support awarded at the Humans in Geelong Expo Sunday 8th October the start of Mental Health Week.
‘The Bipolar support group I’m running is out of Mind Works – Geelong. I’d highly recommend peer support groups as it’s so freeing. Everyone gets you. No matter how deeply you go into it with the lay person it’s not the same. We meet the fourth Tuesday of the month and I send a reminder text the day before.
‘I also circulate two Mental Health Newsletters sharing information. At the start of the month ‘What’s New’ goes out Nationally and Internationally. It is very well received.
‘Fortnightly I send out the #Geelong Community Mental Health Newsletter. It has lots of important local information like grants you can apply for, helpful websites and programs.
‘If you’d like to receive these email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Story: Jacqui Bennett Photo: Nicci at the coin toss at the Cats vs Essendon game. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @humansingeelong.