It starts with a conversation

Hi, I’m sure we’ve met before, I’m Jon. You’ve maybe read some of my writings here and guest appearing on other blogs? I’ve been doing that series on Narrative Coaching recently.

Am I the guy who made a couple of short films? Yes, that’s me, I like a beer, take a few photos and enjoy riding my bike. You recognise me now don’t you?

Except you don’t, not really, because there’s something I didn’t tell you. I didn’t know how to, or even where to start, because you see once I’ve told you this piece of information there is no going back. I can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Once I press publish on this it’s done. It’s been coming for a little while, the elephant sitting in the corner of my blog.

My name is Jon and I live each day with a diagnosis of Manic Depression. These days we call it Bi-Polar disorder. Twenty years ago it was just another guilty secret which the doctors swept under the carpet.

Twenty years is a long time to be unwell, I wouldn’t recommend it. I also wouldn’t recommend some of the approaches I took. Denial, alcohol and what might politely be described as anti-social behaviour are not the answer.

So why have I told you now? Well, on the first day of this year I wrote a blog post. It was too painful, too accurate and certainly too raw to put my name on it. Originally titled “Waking” – it was a simple request for some understanding from HR and Learning & Development departments. I asked Alison Chisnell to host it during her advent blogs. The response to the retitled “Courage” was amazing, it quickly went round the world of HR and I do mean world, picked up in the USA, Australia and New Zealand amongst others.

Many people offered to help, wanted to do something, anything. Alison and I settled on a series of blogs and a small pop up event. In fact as I press publish on this post, I will be standing in front of almost 100 people at that event, I’ll be worrying about telling them what I just told you. I’m also going to say something else.

I’m going to say that we don’t need a new movement.

  • We already have charities, celebrities and (finally at long last) politicians talking about it.
  • There are already websites that can help us with understanding the various conditions and their effects. I’d recommend Mind and Time to Change as good starting points but do check out Rethink and for a slightly different take, Black Dog Tribe

Yes, you heard me correctly, we don’t need a new movement. Instead we need to talk, to chat, discuss, share and empathise. That is how we will end the stigma, one conversation at a time.

So here goes,

Hi my name is Jon Bartlett and I help people as a coach and facilitator. Some (but not all) of what I do is informed by my own experience dealing with a mental health condition. What would you like to talk about today?

24 thoughts on “It starts with a conversation

  1. Doug Shaw Reply

    I’d like to talk about beer, photos and bikes. Before that though – I’d like to give you a hug, if that’s OK?

  2. Meanu Reply

    Have a sister with the same condition, diagnosed last year, after many many years of pain & suffering for all in the family. A year of absolute hell for her and me. Struggling to be her sister. Struggling to understand and accept and live with her mood swings, lies, manipulation, emotions, cannot trust her. Such a tough condition. Good luck to you. And your friends & family.

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  4. Miranda Ash Reply

    Really chuffed to call you a friend- a friend with great courage. Look forward to seeing how your courageous stand helps to chane the conversation positively! Huge kudos.

  5. Isabel Guedes Reply

    Iā€™d like to talk about what a great coach you are, and what a lovely, sensitive and caring human beeing you are.

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