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This Is What A Person With Mental Illness Looks Like

Kay Ska, once a contributor for Blackpool Social Club back in the days of altBlackpool. In this article, we explore some of her journey as a mental health advocate and how important it can be to share personal stories.
  • Tell us a bit about you?

I’m Kay, I’m from Warsaw, Poland. I moved to the UK with my family when I was 12. I’ve struggled with mental health issues for as long as I remember. I was always a ‘nervous’ and ‘overly sensitive kid. I’ve experienced traumas from a very young age. And I’ve tried to push my issues aside until those mental health struggles consumed my life. That’s also when I created my now multi-award-winning mental health blog MH Stories. 

Mental Health Stories started as ‘This Is What A Person With Mental Illness Looks Like’ a project to raise awareness as well as educate people on mental health. Doing this by sharing stories from people who have struggled/are still struggling with their mental health and exploring tips that have helped them through their journeys. 

I was inspired by all of the people sharing their stories, that I finally sought and actually got help for my mental health. I’ve started to develop a toolbox of things like mindfulness practice, meditation, journaling and healthy habits that have been incredibly supportive of my own journey.

I’ve become a certified self-love & mindset coach and have worked with hundreds of people, helping them to embrace themselves and their bodies.

I have also dealt with chronic illnesses for quite a few years, which were manageable until a couple of years ago when I had a big flare-up after some traumatic events. Since then, I had to redirect my attention to prioritising my healing alongside coaching more people/small businesses in helping them to grow, build their brand online.

  • What did you want to do career-wise when you were younger?

I think one of my first dream careers was to become a hairdresser, maybe because I loved playing with my Barbies hair coloured them, and cut them. That dream faded as I was growing up and felt quite happy about just doing my own hair. There were aspirations about wanting to work in a shop, on a till I think because I loved maths and wanted to do all the counting in my head. I also secretly wanted to work in the performing arts industry, as I loved dancing and performing but that side of things really affected my self-esteem as I was growing up and struggling more with my mental health I realised that it’s just not a path I could really pursue. 

  • You have been hailed as a voice of self-acceptance on social media for young women. what are your thoughts on this?

First of all, I’m flattered! I never could’ve imagined the impact of sharing my story would have had on others and my life. I’ve started writing more as a way to document my journey with self-acceptance, mental health, self-love, body image while trying to stay as transparent about the ups and downs of this journey. 

I have come far from once upon a time struggling with eating disorders, body dysmorphia, self-harm, generally hating myself, and the way I look to now where I am able to accept and embrace myself and my body, even at my biggest size. And I’m very grateful to have been able to share a part of that journey online and help others who might be struggling with similar things.

  • I always think sharing stories is empowering – how we come across others who may have a similar journey really can inspire, do you think this is true and why?

Sharing stories has been the principal of my mental health blog, my stories. It was the first place where I finally felt like I wasn’t alone in everything that I was going through. Sharing our stories can be incredibly empowering! For me being able to share more of my story has been so healing and therapeutic. 

For me sharing my truth has allowed me to step out of the victim mindset and to reflect on the lessons from everything that has happened in my life. It has also allowed me to create the most incredible community online.

  • Have you any immediate plans – what is the dream for you moving forward?

My biggest plans for this year have been to really focus on and prioritise my healing and recovery. There is so much more that I want to do, accomplish, and say yes to so many more opportunities that are sent my way but that will only be possible when my health is more stable. 

The dream is to be able to help more people who are struggling with mental health issues and chronic illness. To offer more coaching spaces for those people as well as for helping small/start-up businesses to grow/attract more clients. To carry on with growing my stories and my team. To do more public speaking events. 

My dreams and ideas are something I constantly daydream and journal about, I could go on and on, listing so many things.

Follow more of Kay’s journey:

Instagram 

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