An Improved Mental Health Outlook for 2016


Written for London360 in January 2016:
According to Mental Health Campaign ‘Time to Change’ 1 in 4 people suffer with a Mental Health problem and 1 in 10 Young People also suffer. I have suffered with Depression since I was sixteen years old but only noticed it during my final year of University. I then was given a diagnosis in October 2013 which helped me understand what I had. I also have suffered with Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) from my early childhood.
I did a blog for ‘Time to Change’ in July 2014 about my mental health and how other people my age suffers in silence because of their Asian backgrounds. I also featured in a video campaign by the charity Mind called “In Our Own Words.” These two things helped me on my journey and helped me think about pursuing my dreams of being in the Media Industry.The beginning of 2015 was a good one where I had a chance to do some voluntary work with the Roundhouse in Camden, London. I helped broadcast three shows at the venue’s very own radio station during their Unsigned Artist Music Festival called Rising.
However, my health got worse after this as I was back home hardly doing much.

 

I reached a low point and decided to change things; so I left my Photography Workshop and started looking at other ways of getting my foot in the door. I also visited the Comic Con which is held at the ExCeL London and got to meet my favourite YouTube group known as “The Yogscast.” But this only briefly lifted my mood for a short period of time.

 

I decided to follow up on a friend’s recommendation of joining Podium.me which is youth led online platform. This is where I volunteered as a Journalist and started to develop my journalism skills further.

 

Thanks to a combination of doing something meaningful and fun I could feel that my health was improving and I was feeling more positive about what I wanted to do in my life. With the health improving I had more control of my Anxiety and OCD compared to two years ago. Then I couldn’t really leave the house without having panic attacks and causing hell to my close family and friends. Another positive thanks to volunteering was that I hadn’t felt like running away from home in a very long time. I also have a much healthier relationship with my parents especially with my mother who I had fallen out with during the toughest period.

 

In September 2015 I started a new course of Anti-Depressants just to support my improving health. With the help of them I have gained much needed weight because I had lost quite a lot due to the lack of appetite and missed meals. The tablets have also helped me focus better and allowed my creativity to reign much more freely without having serious side affects such as not telling the difference between reality and my imagination.

 

Another big thing to happen in my life was doing a 12 week course with the Media Trust from September 2015 till November 2015. This was called the ‘London360 Multimedia Genius Training Course’ and it was one of the best decisions I made last year. The course had helped me understand more of where I wanted to go and develop the skills I needed to take the next step.

 

I was very fortunate to make some very good friends and met the Series 9 team who I also made friends with during the course. I had an opportunity to go on two shoots with Series 9 reporter Suna Yokes who appreciated the help. The two shoots helped me understand what it was like to be a reporter for London360 and even though it was intensive, I had fun learning how to create a TV feature to go onto the Community Channel.

 

During the course I had the opportunity to visit BBC New Broadcast House, Discovery Channel UK, Google UK, Hearst Magazines UK, the Royal Albert Hall and Universal Music UK. There I learnt more about each company and especially some new things about the BBC which I didn’t know. For example, their newsroom is one of the largest in Europe (according to BBC Tours).

 

Once the one-to-ones started I was encouraged to apply for the London360 reporter role. Originally I was very hesitant in applying but after encouragement from the friends I had made, my parents and from my mentor at the BBC I applied. The interview was nerve-wracking but I managed to get selected to become a reporter for Series 10.

 

My Christmas was a good one where I actually had time to relax and catch up on things I missed. These included my favourite TV Shows such as Doctor Who, Sherlock and Netflix Shows like Marvel’s Jessica Jones and Daredevil. I also had time to write up blogs and create some short films for my YouTube channel called SavanFilms.

 

The New Year has so far brought more positivity and confidence in myself. However, there have been doubts and some negativity which I still fight like an overhanging shadow. Depression doesn’t go away; it’s how you manage it rather than fighting it. I thought of it as monster until last September but accepted the monster with the other monsters I have. These monsters have become a part of who I am and I have many coping strategies to deal with them.

 

The outlook for 2016 is an improved one compared to 12 months ago. I hope the rest of year will bring in new friendships, new travel opportunities, new stories to tell and most importantly some further stability.

 

Finally, I have been keeping an open mind since starting this new role at London360 and will see how the next six months take shape and what opportunities will come along the way.

 

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