Mylie has had Cerebral Palsy since birth, she kindly agreed to share her story about how her disability and bullying affected her.
I have experienced a lot of terrible bullying in childhood due to my disability. I was often made to feel like a freak because my legs worked differently to others. Bullying was not only verbal but also physical, and I used to dread going to school, hiding in the toilets or coming home in tears. I have struggled with anxiety and depression to the point where I would self-harm and make attempts to end my life. I have experienced tensions within my family which made my struggles with mental health worse, as I felt they didn’t understand how I was feeling, which made me reluctant to open up.
If you could go back in time and comfort your younger self, what would you say?
I would tell myself that everything is going to be okay, and that you’re stronger than you think. Also, I would reassure myself that talking is important and no one should be made to feel afraid or suffer in silence.
It is important to remember that you are not alone, and your struggles don’t define you. Life is a rollercoaster and you don’t know where your ride is going to take you, but it’s the strength that you find to overcome your obstacles that you should focus on. It’s okay not to be okay.
Obstacles you face in life won’t affect you forever.
Things will get better, good times are just around the corner.Mylie
What is life like for you now?
I’ve finally reached a point where I’m feeling really positive. I’ve got a fantastic job, amazing friends, and I’m enjoying experiencing new things and learning new skills.
Before joining Fresh Charity, I’d never done charity work on this big a scale before, so I have learnt a load of new skills and doing things out of my comfort zone within this role. Success to me is associated with a sense of happy accomplishment. Being able to connect with so many new people and assist those from difficult backgrounds in finding exciting volunteering opportunities has been incredible. I’m learning so much and working with some lovely people.
What types of volunteering have you done?
Before starting my role at Fresh Charity, I had a bit of experience with volunteering at a local charity shop in Christchurch. I did this for Mind, a charity close to my heart due to my depression and anxiety struggles. This was great as I gained experience in charitable work and got to interact with a variety of people, particularly the elderly. I think my most memorable experiences have been whilst working in the cat café. Being able to set up a volunteering group for young people has been amazing, and has opened my eyes to all the wonderful opportunities the world has to offer.
Do you think that challenges you experienced in life have held you back?
I think that the difficulties that people experience in life, affect everyone in different ways, but a lot of people believe that the tough times make you stronger, help you focus on positive things rather than the negative. Some of my difficulties have held me back for a while, it was like I fell into a black hole that I couldn’t escape, but it was the support of my loved ones that helped me find the ladder to good wellbeing.
Mylie’s tips for maintaining a positive mindset
- Mindfulness activities – such as Art Therapy or being at one with nature
- Spend time with loved ones, friends and family
- Take up a new hobby, do things that bring you happiness
- Create or listen to a calming playlist, lose yourself in sound
- Open up to people if you feel comfortable, talking is important
- Visit a new place, take some time out for yourself
- Animal therapy
- Go the gym – set yourself fitness goals
- Self care is IMPORTANT- maintain your daily routine
Click the logos below to find out how different charities are helping to tackle mental health problems and support young people across the UK.