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  • Writer's pictureStamp it Our County Durham

Meet our new Anti-Stigma Ambassador!

"Hi everyone!

I am Kalina. I’m an Anti-Stigma Ambassador and I am glad to have an opportunity to share bits of my story in our first newsletter.

The beginning is quite dark… I came across Stamp It Out when my days were filled mostly with sadness, anger, and shame. I was struggling to find positives in life. I was trying to make efforts to pause, and notice any nice moments, but they were just not there. Instead, there were only questions: What is wrong with me?! Why can’t I just pull myself together and have a normal life like others? Will this pain inside me ever go away?

I knew that I was not well. Eventually, after conversations with my doctor, they confirmed to me - anorexia nervosa. I was assigned to get help. For some reason I found it difficult to accept. I did not want to see myself with an “anorexia” label. Instead, I saw a part of me which was really hurt, was trying to shout for help and be heard.

Unfortunately, the way I was doing it was pushing people away. I was withdrawn, lost, overwhelmed. I felt that my family did not understand me; some did not even ask how I was as they thought that I should be first to bring up the subject. That really affected me at the time. I think that I wanted to start a conversation, but I did not know how. I feared their judgement.

One afternoon, feeling hopeless and asking myself what’s next, I saw an article about Stamp It Out. The charity was looking for new Anti-Stigma Ambassadors who could use their lived experiences to address barriers and challenge attitudes around mental health. I became curious, wanting to know more. I gathered my courage, brushed away doubts and internal voices telling me that I have nothing to offer, and I sent an email with some questions.

Day by day I started to become more involve with Stamp It Out activities. I’ve met supportive people, and I’ve learned more about mental health which has supported my own recovery. Through attending the Stamp It Out training and exploring more about stigma and discrimination topics I have noticed how my own self-stigma was stopping me from moving forward, opening up. I have realised that I can use my lived experience to support others. I become more open to conversations about my difficulties. I ask people how they feel with full intention to listen without judgement. I believe that together we can do more and we can do better. It can be anything, like sharing your story, writing an article, starting a conversation, be present when someone needs you, be mindful. Everyone can find they own ideas and connect with others."

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If you'd like to find out more about how to become an Anti-Stigma Ambassador, please click here.

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