Share your mental health stories anonymously on Minds Anonymous
Louisa ‘Wizzi’ Magnussen has suffered from mental illness since she was a child. During the pandemic, she found that so many of her friends and colleagues were suffering in silence, unwilling to share their stories with a professional and unable to talk to friends when separated by social distancing. This is Wizzi’s story of her own journey and how her personal determination to make a difference to the lives of people from any walk of life and any country has led to the launch of Minds Anonymous:
I have always written journals, spilling my thoughts across a pad or screen on an almost daily basis since I was a child. But it was only when my thoughts on mental health were first published that I realised the true power of writing and publishing.
Telling my truth helped me move on
In March 2020, I was interviewed for an article about my experience of bipolar. The interview itself was a revealing experience as I heard thoughts and feelings on my mental health conditions coming out that I perhaps had never really articulated before. Following the interview, I was tired but felt a great sense of relief. I had told my truth and shared my story. It was out of my head, finally, and it felt like I could at last move on from the trauma my conditions had caused in my life.
The reaction to my story
My own mental health journey has been a tough one. With ups, downs and merry-go-rounds surrounding my experience of life itself.
Since publishing the article, I have been astounded by the reactions. The words strong, inspirational and powerful were used to describe my story and hearing these words was a humbling experience.
After a few weeks, people began to come out of the woodwork and contact me with their own experiences, saying that my story had resonated with them. They no longer felt alone.
I still can’t quite believe that my story had such an effect on other sufferers. Each positive reaction and communication from others felt like a gift. It helped me look at my own experiences in a different way. Even, perhaps, in a positive way. If my experiences could make others feel less alone with their own struggles, then it was well worth divulging my truth and exposing my deepest emotions.
It felt like the beginning of something and I had a strong feeling of wanting to give others the opportunity to feel the relief I felt at getting these difficult experiences out and into the world. That’s why I launched Minds Anonymous.
The difficult bit was figuring out a way to make people feel comfortable sharing their stories.
When I did the interview, I was terrified that the piece was going out under my name and that it would be public knowledge that I had bipolar, a condition still surrounded by stigma. I feared no one would ever hire me again.
In the end, the solution was obvious. Make it anonymous. Take away ownership of the stories and the authors would be protected from the judgement connected to their mental health conditions. This way each author would have the opportunity to be completely open and honest in a safe space where no repercussions would be experienced.
The broader purpose of Minds Anonymous
Sadly, mental health is still little understood and therefore stigmatised in our society.
The purpose of Minds Anonymous stretches further than offering and encouraging the therapeutic exercise of writing about our mental health. In doing this it also aims to increase understanding of both common and uncommon mental health conditions in a bid to finally end the stigma still surrounding this topic.
It’s a tall order. To undo the damage of thousands of years of societal misinformation and misunderstanding will take copious stories, looking at all aspects of mental health and mental illness and we also need creditability from professionals supporting the initiative.
Public reaction to the launch of Minds Anonymous
So far the platform has attracted nearly 5000 views from over 40 countries and we’ve published over 30 mental health-focused stories ranging from experiences of anxiety and depression, to schizophrenia and psychosis. These are all available to read for free on the platform alongside a number of supporting articles from our professional partners that aim to help people manage their mental health.
Article by Minds Anonymous founder Wizzi Magnussen.
If you have experienced mental health issues, whatever they are, and whether they are long-term of just relating to the current pandemic, do check out the website and, if you are able, submit your own story.
Additionally, if you are in a position to do so, a small donation to support the project would be much appreciated by Wizzi.