Mindfizz meets: Lewis Moran
Dawn chatted to Lewis Moran on World Mental Health Day to hear about how he looks after his mental health.
A bit about Lewis, before we begin:
Hi, I’m Lewis, I’m a civil servant, I’m 25 years old. I like exercise and exercise classes, football, and wellbeing. I love a good self-help book and volunteering.
Hi Lewis, thank you for chatting to us. How are you today?
-Good, thank you, I think, now work and my gym session are out of the way!
Ha! Today is world mental health day. What does that mean to you?
-It means progression in mental health (awareness). It’s a sign that the stigma is being challenged through awareness.
What was your first experience of mental illness?
-I probably had experiences for longer than I realised -- when I had anxiety and depression and it worsened, I started to see that things were bad. This (being aware) is all very recent.
Did you face any stigma about mental illness, of feeling like you were going through something taboo? Did it slow down your feeling like you could seek help?
-Yes. There is a stigma of it being ‘weak’ in both this and older generations. I overcame a lot of that to see a doctor and ask for help. Telling family and friends, as well as being open about it at work, was quite a hurdle. It is hard to talk.
What does self care look like to you?
-Looking in the mirror! (laughs) Self care to me is…exercise, it helps me. It releases really good endorphins and settles my mind, and relieves stress. Music has always had meaning to me, it uplifts my mood. I also like to learn about mental health through books, it really helps stock my toolkit for when I have anxiety!
Is having a routine important to you?
-Yes -- massively important. Routine is everything and (with changes in my life) I’m struggling now. Building a routine of gym, classes, and going to events had a huge impact on my life. I like to make sure I have a good balance between my work and social life, and having a solid friendship group is a huge factor in staying well.
What advice would you give to your younger self who may not be able to see what his future looks like, and who may need some words of encouragement?
-Don’t let other people’s words affect you.
What advice would you give to others who are struggling?
-Don’t feel the stigma. Dig deep for inner strength, dig deep and don’t be ashamed. Offer companionship and help to others, as this can help you get outside and out of your bubble.
What makes you happy?
-Being around close friends, enjoying activities. Getting outside and having fun, makes you feel like you are part of something.
We still share a planet with people who don’t think mental health is a ‘thing’. What would you say to them if you could say anything without their being able to argue?
-This is hard! I guess I would give them the raw facts about mental health, its impact in society and how common it is.
Do you have a favourite book or film about mental health?
-*Tapping his phone* I just checked POF, not audible! Hardcore Self Help- F*ck Depression by Robert Duff. It’s a really good book for people who don’t believe in the “universe”
What, like Mars?
-No, that s**t is real! Ha. It’s humorous, but straight talking, one of the quotes is “why your brain is such a troll!”
Who do you look up to in terms of mental health and wellbeing?
-My friend Sophie. She has been through a lot and her support has been so helpful, she has been there for me in my times of need and she has a very positive approach to life.
How do you feel about mental health stigma in the workplace?
-I have been lucky. I wouldn’t tell all but those I have told have supported me to get help in work time. I have been confident enough to highlight my illness but do fear judgments and expectations of me differing to my previous role.