What does it mean to be whole?
In an age of grids and figures, many of us are trying to understand how it's possible to feel like a lone spirit amidst cauldrons of connectivity. We're so often lost in other people's gazes that we forget to clean our own lenses. That is, of course, until we're presented with a vulnerability so reflective that we feel safe enough to look in the mirror.
#IAMWHOLE is a campaign birthed from discomfort. Having spent five years in the public eye as a pop star, it took a hypnotic guitar riff and cinematic bass line to summon my suppressed demons. A cobra from a basket. Lyrically, I thought I was just trying to be edgy, but after listening back I realised that I had narrated my own spiral into depression. I'd pointed out the dark cloud in my identity parade but it took the attentive ears of Spirit Media, the NHS and YMCA to give that cloud a silver lining. On a scale of one to relieved, I was over the moon that I had been granted an opportunity to shine a light into a black hole. An opportunity to remind others of that silent 'w'.
Together, we launched a campaign wanting to empower young people to speak out and seek help. By utilising the hashtag, and drawing a circle on your hand, we wanted to remind people that they weren't alone in their struggles. That their wholeness was solidified in recognising that they existed within a much larger circle than they thought. The love spun uncontrollably. The campaign connected. So here we are for a second year.
It's impossible to understand what's going on in another person's head. Essentially, we're all holograms created by our own paradoxical desire to seem healthy. To seem ok. The difficulty is, if a friend proclaims that they're on a diet beneath a thinly layered mask of dried up Haagen Dazs, you can understand that conflict. Unfortunately, mental health doesn't have that same tangibility but causes a level of self destruction I believe to be more potent. Because of that lack of visibility, all that we can do human beings is continue to focus on awareness. Unless professionally trained, it's incredibly hard to help someone other than yourself. We're all very complicated. Saying that, it's easy to create a space in which someone can be allowed to help themselves.
One of those ways is through language. Again, perceptions of words can differ, but there are a number of common sayings that can do a world of good if consciously avoided. I also don't intend for this awareness to be considered another attempt at political correctness on steroids. Mental health doesn't discriminate. It can and does effect anyone. Taking the time to pay attention to how your words effect those around you will only lead to your feeling more empowered and comfortable in yourself.
In my opinion, that's what it means to be whole. To treat the world as you would do yourself. All outward negativity only reflects how you perceive your own state. So give yourself some love.
Shout out life.