Hi, my name is Chandy. I am 25 and live in Bournemouth.
I’m a social work graduate turned consultant and content creator. I run an online blog and podcast which looks at the wellbeing and the lived experiences of people around the world.
After being diagnosed with a brain tumour in childhood, I began sharing my lived experience in the hopes in might help others going through similar things.
What are your interests/passions?
I really enjoy running and getting outdoors. After undergoing surgery in 2014 I found this to be a really useful tool for helping regain muscle strength I had lost as a result of my operation. I also found it helped my mental health and gave me something to focus on when I have really bad days and everything else seems like a challenge.
I am also a trustee for a charity which focuses on disability issues and promotes the physical wellbeing of disabled people.
How did you come to Dorset Mind – what made you approach us, or us you?
After leaving university I was interested in working with local charities that supported people with long-term disabilities and mental health conditions. When I met with the team to discuss an opportunity to support the charity’s growth, I realised that it was an organisation I wanted to be a part of so began volunteering and helping out wherever I could and haven’t left since.
Has anything changed in your life since learning more about mental health and wellbeing?
Learning about mental health and wellbeing has helped me to better understand what I need to do to manage the impact of good and bad days on my overall health. It has also helped me to share my story and reflect on when I have needed to ask for help.
Has Dorset Mind helped you in any way, if so how?
Yes, Dorset Mind has helped me have a voice and also better understand the things I can do day to day to improve my wellbeing. Being part of the charity has also helped me be a part of something, that feels much like a family than it does an organisation.
Is there a particular audience you want to tell your story to in the hope it will inspire people?
Since the age of 6, I have lived with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and have experienced a lot of stigma as a result of having the condition. Through telling my story I hope to inform people what living with the condition actually means for individuals. And how best to manage its impact with different strategies and support networks. Like the support groups and other services Dorset Mind deliver.
What do you hope to achieve in your role, in your life, what’s driving you?
In the future, I hope to reach as many people as I can by sharing my story around the world, both in person and through the power of the internet. I really hope that I can also challenge and change the way we think about mental health. So that we think people can live well with a diagnosis as opposed to saying they need to be fixed in order to be happy.
If you had one piece of advice for someone about how to improve their mental health and/or wellbeing, what would it be?
If I could give anyone one piece of advice it would be to do what is right for you. When I was going through treatment for my brain tumour people kept telling me what I needed without first asking me what I thought I needed/ wanted. As I have grown up, I have realised that we are each an expert at our own lives. You know what support is going to work better for you, so please don’t be afraid to ask for help and say if it’s not working for you. Because it matters that you feel safe and supported.