Laura Darrall was supposed to be a normal 28-year-old in U.K., tackling her passion, acting. However, she is doing something more radical that is actually helping people all over the world.
Last week, Darrall just launched the #ItAffectsMe campaign in social media. This is a movement that aims to remove the stigma on mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and OCD, The Mighty reported.
Darrall shared on her blog her side of the story saying she also suffered from “horrendous OCD.” It was so extreme to the point that she thought if she did not do or say the right things, the people she loved would die. Eventually, she developed other illnesses as well, such as depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. Darrall admitted that her condition affected her relationships in life.
“I say ‘have suffered from’ because it is suffering, it is crippling and it is exhausting. I had seen it in family when I was growing up, but I never truly understood it until it felt like my own brain was attacking me.”
Darrall said it is very important for people to understand these conditions. Most who suffer from these conditions do not really exhibit signs when they are in public. Darrall even said that she is an extrovert with a “perky disposition, a positive outlook on life.”
This is why it can be challenging for Darrall and the other people who suffer from this illness. They cannot control the emotions they are feeling, but they also want to live a “normal” life.
English comedian Stephen Fry offered one good explanation on these mental illnesses:
“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straight-forward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.
“Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depreseed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do.”
Darrall said her family and friends had supported her in this journey, and that she would like to give back.
Since mental illness is a very sensitive topic, Darrall aims to open up the conversation about this.
And the best thing you can do is to talk about it…
The #ItAffectsMe movement has allowed her to help people with the same condition. Surprisingly, the response was outstanding. People have been putting sticky notes on their foreheads and posting their story on social media.
— Kim Hillyard (@kimhillyard) January 14, 2016
— Shea Hall (@SheaElizabeth) January 14, 2016
— Jessica McCarrick (@JessCPsychol) January 13, 2016
The #ItAffectsMe movement has also encouraged people to donate to certain institutions that advocate for mental illness research. Darrall also created a site that explains the main purpose of the movement.
She is asking people to post their selfies on social media. She said she hopes the #ItAffectsMe movement will create a big ripple that will they can support Mind, a charity organization that reaches out to people suffering from these conditions.
At present, the #ItAffectsMe Facebook Group has more than 2,000 members. They have also expanded their call to action from supporting Mind to signing the petition about mental health introduction to national curriculum.
“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” Let us arm our children with knowledge and get Mental Health Education on the curriculum. Sign this and share, to give our children an honest, brave, educated future. #itaffectsme,” Darrall wrote.
To learn more about the movement, watch the video below.