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Tickle my mind…and your wellbeing

Bronwen Stead

Beata English is a Canberra woman with a mission and is a living embodiment that everything happens for a reason.

Earlier this year, Beata required a serious knee operation, something which also presented a number of challenges throughout her recovery including stepping back from her usual fitness activities and work, and suffering from sleep deprecation as a result of the brace she had to wear at night.

But despite it all, Beata found the positive. She finally had the chance to slow down and commit to a project that had been weighing in the back of her mind for quite some time – since 2008 in fact.

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Why so long? In 2008, Beata was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and over the years has become very open about her journey with mental illness, but admits it wasn’t always easy.

Concerned about public perception and worried about the stigma surrounding mental illness, Beata was hesitant to share her journey with others, but as she began to open up about her mental illness and experiences, Beata found that people were rather accepting.

“I initially struggled with my diagnosis,” Beata says. “It has taken several years to accept it and to feel comfortable enough to share my story with others.”

An unpredictable, debilitating illness that affects around one in 75 Australians, Bipolar causes people to experience unpredictable mood swings that can cripple their quality of life.

But one of the difficulties with Bipolar Disorder is accurately diagnosing it. Unlike other illnesses, there is no blood test and no easily identifiable markers. Because of this Beata lived several years without treatment.

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Following her initial diagnosis and with a referral in hand she sought out the Black Dog Institute, where she was given a comprehensive diagnosis and recommended treatment strategies. It is this experience that Beata credits for her return journey to a productive lifestyle.

She has since become a strong advocate for the Institute’s work also but shares that alongside her experience with the Institute, an idea was formed.

“In the same year [as my diagnosis], I bought the domain name for a website – Tickle My Mind,” Beata says.

“The idea had been developing for years, but it wasn’t until my knee surgery that I felt I had the time to really focus on it and devote the attention required.”

The mission of Tickle My Mind is to be a positive space – a place of hope. Whether you have a mental illness yourself, know someone who does or have no exposure to mental illness at all, we can all take action to support our mental wellbeing.

Tickle My Mind brings together nutrition, meditation, positive psychology, yoga, photography and so much more. Beata hopes to empower people who have been touched by mental illness to live a healthy, happy, rewarding and balanced life, and that the sharing of stories might help others too.

Beata is also a beautiful photographer. One of her personal projects is to travel across Australia creating a collection of stories about people who have been touched by mental illness and have bravely confronted stigma associated with it, while taking their portraits. Beata views hers as only one story and hopes to provide many voices and stories on the Tickle My Mind blog.

“I want those who may be suffering in silence to know they are not alone,” she says. “And that the stigma around mental illness continues to decrease as our understanding increases and people feel comfortable talking about their condition.”

Since launching Tickle My Mind earlier this month, Beata says the response has been great and has received many beautiful messages and emails.

Reading through the website is a lovely experience, and a reminder that no matter your circumstance, we can all do with refocusing on what is important and prioritising taking care of our whole selves.

Take the time to reconnect with what’s important at www.ticklemymind.com.

Bronwen Stead

Bronwen is a Social Worker and is working as a Mindset and Wellness Coach with Nutrivolve and The Physique Coach supporting people to achieve their physical goals. More about the Author

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