I did a brave thing last week. I don’t mean having Little Pea for a weekend, or spending the day with him, Himself and Himself’s boys. I don’t even mean taking them all for a picnic / scavenger hunt when we knew there was a chance of a downpour and having to hide in the trees under a picnic blanket in an attempt to stay dry (that failed). I don’t even mean cuddling Little Wisp straight after she’d had her milk without wearing protective clothing. No, I did something that actually made me shake.
At work a while back people were asked to volunteer to create a ‘This is Me’ film. The idea was to talk about your experience of mental health and, I guess, to put a human face to that experience. Now, I have a lot of different experiences in this area…but the one thing that I’ve seen very little about in comparison to self harm, panic attacks, depression etc, is my old thingy of trichotillomania. When I wrote about it on here forever ago quite a few people contacted me to say they did it, or they knew someone who did and they also kept it a secret. Since then people have contacted me to say it’s great to see a success story as it gives them hope. So I thought it might be a bit different to volunteer that part of my story for this film.
Which would have been a really good idea if I don’t turn into Minnie Mouse on speed when a video camera is pointed in my general direction.
I got so nervous the day before that I turned into a complete diva and refused to be filmed in a bar (I didn’t think noisy and nosey people would help with the Minnie issues) and asked if we could go to some gardens that are about three stories high and usually quiet, other than when people play the pianos available, which is actually rather lovely.
So anyway, I got there looking reasonably presentable and we had to do elevently billion takes because the quietest place in Canary Wharf suddenly became some sort of top London attraction and because the filming set up was more professional than just a camera, it looked like something exciting was happening, so people kept walking past, then backwards to see if they could work out what was going on.
But we got through all that. And through my inability to speak coherent sentences and the fact my mouth got so dry I was asked to drink some water as they could hear the clagginess. Nice.
And we were right at the end and the director person suggested that I remove my hands from the vice like grip I had then in, squashed between my crossed legs. I had them there as it was hiding the fact that they were shaking. But it turns out I’m not the only one to come out with the wrong thing sometimes as he asked if I would mind ‘using my hands to be a bit….suggestive’. Having established from his face that wasn’t what he actually meant, I laughed a lot, the camera man didn’t know where to look, the interviewer just looked rather surprised.
So, if you happen to see this film at any point in the future, I’m the one looking very nervous, sounding like Minnie Mouse on speed until the end. Then I just look like I’ve been laughing for a good ten minutes. And I’m not doing anything suggestive with my hands at all – I just went with an attempt at ‘expressive’ :o)